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Off My Mind: Top Artists Only Doing Covers

It's often a guessing game as to who does the interiors.


 Batman #700, cover by David Finch.

 Vengeance Of The Moon Knight #9, cover by J. Scott Campbell.
We all have our favorite artists. What happens when you see one of your favorites' art on the cover a comic? You're probably going to snatch it up, even if it's a title you don't normally read. Often what results is the interior pages contain art by someone else. This isn't a new tactic that publishers use. Michael Turner was doing loads of covers before his passing. Babs recently pointed out how it's hard to recall the last time J. Scott Campbell did interiors. We know that David Finch is exclusive to DC now and as you can see above (with the cover to Batman #700) and Brightest Day, it looks like he's busy doing covers.
 
From a publisher's point of view, this practice makes more sense. Getting an artist to provide 22 covers versus 22 interior pages could help sales on those books. Is this misleading to the fans? Should we just expect whenever we see a Finch or Campbell cover that they have absolutely nothing to do with the interior pages? It almost feels like false advertising. What happened to the days when the cover actually had something to do with what happens in the issue. These days it's often a beautiful but generic image of the character by a top artist.
 
I also wonder how the interior artist feels when the publisher goes with a higher profile artist for the cover. It's like saying their art is good enough for the interiors but not good enough for the cover. Let's consider Vengeance Of The Moon Knight. The art
 Vengeance Of The Moon Knight #7, cover by Mike Choi.

 Vengeance Of The Moon Knight #8, cover by Bryan Hitch.
is currently being provided by Tan Eng Huat. It's some really good stuff, in my opinion. Issue #7 (seen to the left) will have a cover by Mike Choi and issue #8 (seen to the right) will have a cover by Bryan Hitch. While Campbell will be providing the art for issue #9, it hasn't been announced who will provide the interior art for that issue.
 
I will admit it is cool seeing different artists give their interpretations of the characters. We often get some cool covers. But to make things worse, the high profile artists' covers sometimes end up being variant covers. That means you won't actually get to physically see the cover unless you visit your local comic shop and stare at it sitting behind the register or if you're willing to pay extra for it. Maybe I'm just old fashioned but I'd rather see the interior artist provide a cover that is associated with the issue. Let's see the top artist actually do comic books rather than just become known as cover artists.
 
Edit: Another example popped up after I published this. DC's The Source revealed John Cassaday's cover to Doc Savage #1 (which will be written by Paul Malmont and interior art by Howard Porter).  This appears to be an example where the variant cover is done by an artist "superstar." Cassaday's seems to be doing lots of covers these days.
  
What are your thoughts? Does it bother you when a great artist only does the interior art? Do you want to see these top artists doing actual comic pages instead of just covers? Would you rather see them do more characters on different covers instead?
25 Comments
Posted by KRYPTON

So is Tony Daniel done with Batman comic book line? 

Posted by Theodore
@KRYPTON said:
" So is Tony Daniel done with Batman comic book line?  "
I don't know but it looks like Finch is only doing the covers... :-(
Posted by Allybal

  honestly, I'm surprised this issue didn't surface sooner. 
 
BUT, I suppose most artists goal is a beautiful cover with their own art, should we deny them their dream and ourselves from a great cover piece because of principal? 
 
With modern technology and the use of the internet we should be able to know who makes and does what and what to expect
soooo as long as they're not lying or trying to quote un-quote'pull the wool over my eyes'
I'm relatively ok with it.


is it morally right? Im no judge. But i get it.
 

Posted by KRYPTON

 Batman #697 Battle Scene 
Tony Daniel said,  

A preview from next week's conclusion of the Life After Death 6 part story. I just wrapped up writing the two issue Riddler arc for the next couple of Batman issues, drawn by Guillem March, who's handling the art chores while I catch my breath for a little bit.  He's almost done with the first issue and it looks terrific. 

Luckily, I can now get ahead so that I can really put more time into my work. 

Posted by They Killed Cap!

Alex Ross hasn't done much in the way of interior art in a while.
Posted by zombietag

i heard cover artists get paid just as much as the interior artist, and they only draw one page instead of 22 :/

Posted by Adam Michaels
@zombietag:
But those cover artists are established ones who have done their share of 22-page interiors. I guess it's like any job where you start off doing the hard work, and you move up the ladder to doing much less work for the same rate.  
 
As long as it is told to us that the cover art is provided by someone other than the artitst of the book, then it's all fair game.  
 
But I agree on the point that they just draw something generic, yet beautiful. Since you're ONLY doing the cover, might as well make the effort to make it relevant with the issue. I would think it's also a matter of courtesy for the writer and artist who put in most of the work trying to tell a story.
Posted by xerox_kitty

 
What Lies Beneath The Covers...?!
The only time I consciously bought comics for their covers was when Adam Hughes was on Wonder Woman.  I can understand that we'd be waiting a full year to see a whole issue filled with Adam Hughes' art otherwise... but no matter who had provided the internal art, it was always a disappointment. 
 
I commented on J Scott Campbell on the other thread the other day.  I can see why he's popular, because he draws eye-candy.  However, unless he's going to make the effort to purposefully create something more than a cover, I just don't care.  It was a piss-take when Danger Girl was repeatedly being put back, but he was cranking out variant covers for other titles.  It isn't as if he has a super detailed style that required hours of pain-staking painting.  His style always looks rushed and messy, as if he cranked out a convention sketch & someone turned it into a cover...  So he should just be banned from creating covers until such a time that he can actually create a semi-regular title.   
 
To be honest, I don't think Mike Choi deserves a mention in this though.  After all, he does regularly do the art chores in X-Force.  He & Sonia Oback might not be able to do more than 4 to 6 months at a time, but at least they consistantly produce actual story-based artwork.  Sure, their work is lush eye-candy that it's cruel to have their work on a cover, but not in the interior art... but no one ever mentions Marko or Jelena Kevic Djurdevic.  They produce jaw droppingly gorgeous covers!  But never any interior work.  So much so that a mini series like Marvel Divas is horrendously disappointing when you compare it to some of the covers.    
Posted by CaptObtuse

 "What happened to the days when the cover actually had something to do with what happens in the issue."  When were those days?  I've been reading comics since the mid-60's, and this isn't a new practice.  In the 70's, we had dozens of Batman covers by Neal Adams with Irv Novick or Bob Brown art inside.  There were an equal number of JLA covers by Adams with Dick Dillin interiors.  Hawkman & Atom had covers by Joe Kubert exclusively at the end of its run in the 60's, with interior art mostly by Murphy Anderson or Dick Dillin and Sid Greene.  The Adventure Comics issues featuring Superboy and the Legion in the late 60's also had Adams covers, with Curt Swan and George Klein art.  Likewise Superman and Action Comics.  Nick Cardy did a lot of covers for DC that featured art by someone else on the interior.  In some of these cases, there wasn't a huge disparity between the interior and the cover.  Murphy Anderson or Curt Swan (or both!) were pretty good.   But they weren't Neal Adams.  Personally, I liked seeing Adams on interiors, but if he and Nick Cardy were doing most of the covers that was okay with me.

Posted by Tyler Starke
@KRYPTON said:
"
 Batman #697 Battle Scene 
Tony Daniel said,  

A preview from next week's conclusion of the Life After Death 6 part story. I just wrapped up writing the two issue Riddler arc for the next couple of Batman issues, drawn by Guillem March, who's handling the art chores while I catch my breath for a little bit.  He's almost done with the first issue and it looks terrific. 

Luckily, I can now get ahead so that I can really put more time into my work. 

"
it looks like Damien is back in his assassin get up, he's wearing his old hood and cape, I wonder why he's more in the backround and Tim is front and center.
Posted by .Mistress Redhead.

Is it a manner of honour? Like the bigger you get the less work you have too do? that is how it seems sometimes.

Posted by G-Man
Another advantage to being a cover artist is you can sell the original art for a heckuva lot more than an interior page. Another incentive for the artists.
 
@xerox-kitty: I only mention Choi because he's doing that Moon Knight cover (plus I love his work).
Posted by Nyogtha
@KRYPTON :  The lower right hand corner of the Daniel piece looks like he drew Moonknight in there.
Posted by .Mistress Redhead.
@G-Man: see it's all about the CHA CHING $$ ;) 
Posted by inferiorego

I'm ok with it as long as Leinil Yu keeps drawing full issues.

Staff
Posted by mattydeNero

I think that the trend will continue if people are willing to pay the extra $5-$20 for an issue solely based on the fact that JIM LEE is drawing a GL cover, for example.  Most stores usually offer the variants starting around $5, or do like a "Dutch Auction" for the books.  My store sells their variants exclusively online for the most part and they do really well by that.  Ebay is a another source of income for shops, especially in the case of those 1:100 sketch variants(me personally, I need color).  
 
But guys like DAVID FINCH, J. SCOTT CAMPBELL, and ADI GRANOV should be drawing a monthly/bi-monthly series.  You throw a $3.99 on it and people will pay for it.  A Finch/SCOTT WILLIAMS Batman run would be in-demand.  And an Amazing Spider-Man run drawn by J. Scott Campbell is something that I have been waiting for since 2001. 
 
You look at ART ADAMS who, IMO, is one of the most influencial artists in the game today, and he's got a bi-monthly series(Ultimate X).  We also have guys like ED MCGUINESS - who is still drawing the Hulk monthly and doing various covers, ANDY CLARKE - who is killing it on Batman & Robin and was awesome on R.E.B.E.L.S.  I would definitely say that Clarke has one of the most intricate styles in comics today. 
 
I would love to see some of these "superstar cover-artist" to do something along the lines of SKOTTIE YOUNG and do an abstract book: i.e. Marvel's "Oz" series.  I've bought those series soley because of Young.
 
Posted by xerox_kitty
@G-Man said:
" Another advantage to being a cover artist is you can sell the original art for a heckuva lot more than an interior page. Another incentive for the artists.
 
@xerox-kitty: I only mention Choi because he's doing that Moon Knight cover (plus I love his work). "

Combining both those comments;  Mike Choi's interior art is a lot more affordable than his covers.  I know he (and Sonia Oback) did covers for the latest Dark X-Men as well.  I guess they need as much work as possible to help pay for the wedding :) 
 
Posted by Theodore
@Tyler Starke said:
" @KRYPTON said:
"
 Batman #697 Battle Scene 
Tony Daniel said,  

A preview from next week's conclusion of the Life After Death 6 part story. I just wrapped up writing the two issue Riddler arc for the next couple of Batman issues, drawn by Guillem March, who's handling the art chores while I catch my breath for a little bit.  He's almost done with the first issue and it looks terrific. 

Luckily, I can now get ahead so that I can really put more time into my work. 

"
it looks like Damien is back in his assassin get up, he's wearing his old hood and cape, I wonder why he's more in the backround and Tim is front and center. "
Is it because the Life After Death arc takes place before Batman & Robin so Damien isn't fully established as Robin or after "Batman vs. Robin" so he is no longer Robin? Hmmmmm....
Posted by sora_thekey
@G-Man: Like you said it's a tactic to get people to buy the comics... In an interview with Stan Lee he was asked if he thought that the art was more important than the writing, he answered something that stuck with me...  

The art on the cover is the first thing a reader sees, which is what makes him want to pick up the comic. The story is what makes the reader want to pick up the next issue


How I see it is that the tactic of using a different  artist is to catch the eye of someone who isn't already reading the title and telling them "pick this one up"!
    
Posted by DMC

Well Finch is doing the Interiors for X-Men Second Coming #1, at least he does it once in a full moon  : P
 

I could be wrong but I don't think he's done interiors since New Avengers
Posted by Branagin77

I really don't appreciate it when awesome artists who started out doing interiors and then just do covers... Once in a while, yes, that's cool.
I believe these artists get lazy and just don't want to put in the extra work it takes to do a whole issue..

Posted by hero vs. villian
@DMC:
There was the odasity that is Ultimatum.
Edited by CaptObtuse
@Nyogtha said:

" @KRYPTON :  The lower right hand corner of the Daniel piece looks like he drew Moonknight in there. "

I think that's DC's Ragman.
 
As for the idea that there's some sort of deception - some bait-and-switch or false advertising - the names of the issue's writer and artists are almost always on the cover.  Beyond that?  Just open it up and look.
Posted by danhimself

so many of the previous posts are sooooooo long and take to much attention to read......D@MN YOU A.D.D.!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by NXH

@DMC:
Apperentaly, Finch is also doing the art for the final issue of second coming too. =)