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Comics 411: Favorite Comic Book Covers

July 22, 2020 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Avengers West Coast

Welcome back! I’m Steve Gustafson and if you enjoy discussing anything comic book related, you’ve come to the right place. Each week we cover something in the industry and I always enjoy your input in the comment section below.

Previously on…

Last week we asked, Would Disney Ever Stop Publishing Marvel Comics. Here’s what some of you had to say:

The Man Who Met Andy Griffith: “Beyond maintaining the IP’s I figure they’ll keep publishing the books as a cheap source of new characters and storylines. Maybe if the MCU collapsed overnight they’d farm publishing out to IDW but I don’t see that happening in the near future, or the far one for that matter.

Sure, well received stories still have to be turned over to screenwriters and moviefied but I imagine it’s much easier and cheaper to copyright concepts that appear in comics first, then have them migrate to toys, videogames, movies than the other way around. Comic book writers and artists probably work much cheaper, relatively speaking, than lead designers, developers and script writers.

I’m by no means an expert on the economics of such things but I’d wager an Ehren Kruger makes a good bit more coin than a Johnathan Hickman, quality of script be damned.”

duh” “I wouldn’t be opposed to an all trade/graphic novel publishing. I find it difficult to make sure I have every single issue and being able to read 6 months worth of story at one time would be convenient, though I imagine it would significantly impact the stories being told”

Edward J Witherspoon: “House/Powers of X got me back into comics after a twenty year break. While I’ve bought all the individual issues of the mutant books (plus a couple of other titles), I find that I’m only reading the graphic novels / trade paperbacks. I think that is the direction we may be heading, and I’m good with that. I do think there will continue to be hard copies of these books printed for the foreseeable future. They are advertising for the MCU that actually brings in cash, and may also be story ideas for the future. There are many worse ideas than House/Powers/Dawn to bring the mutants into the MCU.

DC on the other hand…..”

D2Kvirus: “Only the Marvel IPs they don’t have the film rights to
Because fuck Disney”

Steed: “Never. For the time being there’s still too much money to made from the publication of the comics (especially with the film releases).”

Richard H1S: “To an extent the comic books could almost be seen as R&D for the movie side, the thing is that I don’t believe even at its core that Marvel is losing money. So why would they stop?
Going to all digital is always an option, but I feel like that’s a nuclear option that Marvel will not use lightly. Comic fans are intensely loyal so for marvel to go nuclear and obliterate the goodwill with the stores and store customers would be tough to overcome.

Having an arm of the company that basically tests out new storylines, characters, developments and turns a profit is something that most companies don’t have. Getting rid of a division that quite literally can amp up millions of people so all they have to do is drop a literal title on screen and get such an intense buzz as “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” or “Civil War” would seem to be a decision they could not take lightly.”

Adam: “More likely a combo of 1 and 3. With only physical copies being everything of a major story line being sold all at once as a collectors item.”

Richard C: “If Disney ever made such a decision — National Geographic would probably be on the list, too.”

San-X: “wasn’t reverse going to happen? I mean I remember reading somewhere that DC was looking to license their characters to Marvel.

Online is the way to go though. Publish weekly issues online, sell complete volumes as physical copies.”

Rob Morris: “Why are DVDs still being released? These should be gone by now and just Blu ray only. People want convince so comics will still be around.”

Thank you to everyone who commented!

This week we discuss our…

Favorite Comic Book Covers

I’ll apologize now if you’re reading this on your phone as the number of images will probably give you fits. 
First, this will be FAVORITE comic book covers not iconic or the best. These are purely my opinion and have some sort of nostalgic connection with my comic book collecting. So instead of books like this…

You’ll get…Ambush Bug #1

It was 1985 and I was a young lad who got the majority of my comics at the local Highs convenience store not too far from my home. They had a comics rack attached to the side of their magazine rack that sat right inside of the store. For some reason the manager didn’t mind me sitting and reading them and, no joke, even held a comic for me behind the counter when I forgot to bring money! There was little rhyme or reason with what they got in stock so my ability to collect a complete run was pretty low. As you see, Ambush Bug #1 was the first in a 4-part-mini-series. I remember seeing this cover and being bewildered by it. That bewilderment turned to intense curiosity. Who was this green guy and how’d he get his own book?

I’d mostly get the big name comics, with G.I. Joe being my most “off the beaten path” non-superhero book. Who the hell was Ambush Bug? I stared at the comic, flipped through the pages, shrugged, and dropped my 75 cents on the counter. 

Reading it at home and it was love at first read. Written by Keith Giffen and Robert Loren Fleming, with art and cover by Giffen and Bob Oksner, I’d never read anything close to it before and it opened my eyes to a much wider comic book world and what these books could be. 

I still have this book and just read it a week ago. I own every Ambush Bug book and it all started with this one. And yes, it still smells like that old Highs. 

Speaking of, let’s talk about G.I. Joe #1. This was the book that really started my love of comics. Before then I’d read the occasional book but it was more to read something than being invested in a long storyline. My parents had bought this book for me in 1982 and I swear it was around Easter but the inside says the publication date was June. I know that doesn’t always match the date it’s on the stands but I digress. 

I’ve stared at this cover so often that it’s ingrained in my brain. The action leaps off the cover and to my 8-year old self it was the greatest thing ever. “Operation: Lady Doomsday!” written by Larry Hama with art by Herb Trimpe and Bob McLeod worked on so many levels. Simple enough for a kid to understand but with enough complexities to keep you coming back to reread. My original issue was held together by tape until I finally replaced it but even battered, I always loved that cover.

You can imagine my excitement when decades later I was able to interview Mr. Hama and talk to him about that book. I’m sure he’s been asked every question in the book but he still answered my questions thoughtfully. Yo Joe!

By now you’re realizing these favorite covers of mine all tie into my youth. This next one is no different. Legion of Super-Heroes #300. If you’ve been reading my comic book stuff for a while you know how much I love the Legion of Super-Heroes. This is the book that started it all. 

I didn’t get this book when it first hit the stands. It was years after and I saw it on top of a pile of other comics at a comic book store in Laurel, MD. This was my first comic book store and was your typical hole in the wall, barely bigger than a walk in closet. They later moved to a bigger location down the street and went out of business soon after. I think a tax prep company moved in for a year or so but I stopped by there a few years back and it’s used as a storage office for the mall it sits in. 

Back to the Legion.

I see this sitting in a cheap plastic sleeve and pick it up. Imagine having never heard of the Legion before. I saw Supergirl and Superboy but other than that I just looked at all the other characters standing there with no clue who they were or what they did. Inside just added to the mystery as I tried to figure out how this Legion operated. It was the beginning of my fascination with the team and this cover is what got me to stop to pick it up. 

As you can see, the 1980s was my golden age. Not saying I don’t love other eras but this was what made me become a lifetime fan. Maybe I should have named this column “Comic Book Covers That Shaped My Love for Comic Books”. Yeah, it doesn’t flow so we’ll leave it as is. 

“From now on, if Avengers are needed anywhere west of the Rockies, we’ll answer the call!” – Hawkeye

The cover for West Coast Avengers #1 is considered a classic and for good reason. You have Hawkeye standing front and center with a number of familiar, and not so familiar, heads surrounding him. Who will make the team? 

The cover drew me in and started my turn to liking the lesser known, not as popular superheroes in the Marvel universe. This cover would go on to inspire others but nothing captured the appeal of this one. 

Speaking of appeal, my last one needs no introduction…

I kid, I kid! But I’ll admit that I bought and owned this one. Let’s move on.

I’ll wrap this up with Batman #682 by Alex Ross. This one doesn’t involve any long stories, it just looks really cool. In the end, isn’t that what’s it all about?

This list could easily be 100 but I’ll keep it to 5. Share your favorite comic book cover below

That’s all the time I have. See you next week!