March 11th, 2013
Being an irregular series wherein I spotlight some particularly beautiful cover runs, from some comics you might have forgotten about, or never seen before. This time it’s Andy Helfer and Bill Sienkiewicz / Kyle Baker’s wonderfully gonzo and short lived 80′s version of The Shadow.
Of all the radical character reinventions of the mid-80′s ‘mature’ boom, the Andy Helfer helmed Shadow series was one of the most brazenly strange; quirky, black-hearted and surreal, with gorgeous art from Bill Sienkiewicz and a young Kyle Baker. Following Howard Chaykin’s controversial mini-series Blood & Judgement, that reimagined the steely eyed pulp vigilante for the smart and cynical 1980′s, Helfer took the set up and ran with it. He also stripped out some of the weird misogyny and nihilism from the title, bringing in a healthy sense of surrealism to the revisionism. This was a black hearted, New York art school comic, masquerading as a superhero comic, and it was thrillingly unusual as a monthly read. It lasted 24 issues, before DC pulled the plug on it, after facing severe backlash from ardent fans, and pressure from the owners of the trademark. It’s possibly my favourite of the slew of character reinventions from the late 1980s; it’s wild, creepily unsettling and beautifully drawn throughout.
October 3rd, 2012
Being an irregular series wherein I spotlight some particularly beautiful cover runs, from some comics you might have forgotten about, or never seen before. This time it’s a short run of covers for Detective Comics by Michael Golden:
Batman is a character who lends himself to bold artistic interpretations. Over the 70 odd years since his creation many of the brightest and best talents have put their stamp on the Dark Knight, and often to electrifying effect. There’s something bold and simple about the character’s design that lends itself to graphical innovation, and the neo-gothic ultra noir of Gotham provide the perfect artistic backdrop.
As such there’s an embarrassment of riches to choose from with regards to spectacular cover runs, and truth be told I feel a little guilty about selecting any Bat-comics for exposure in this series simply because of their sheer ubiquity – the aim of this feature is generally to expose work that may have been forgotten or overlooked. There is however one short run of Bat-covers that I have always adored, and that I just had to showcase for anyone who hasn’t seen them before. Simply put, these are some of my very favourite comic covers ever; strong stylish and vibrant they showcase the visceral power of the medium at it’s best.