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Off My Mind: Top Artists Only Doing Covers
by Tony 'G-Man' Guerrero on
It's often a guessing game as to who does the interiors.
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
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?