To pick a favorite comic book cover isn’t easy– we’re bombarded with tons of new great images every week on the fronts of our favorite comic books. Even after I write this, I’ll go into my comic shop in a day and find just incredible artwork and new artists to look into on this weeks’ comics. So I’ll be biased this time, and pick a cover from one of my favorite artists, James Jean. To pick a favorite James Jean cover is a crime in itself, but his run on Umbrella Academy really stands together wonderfully as a set and beautiful individually. The covers were so narrative, and the characters had such personality, the world was so Mignola-esque. I loved the stylization and musical influence, you can tell Jean was having great fun working on these, and it showed through in the work.
Which individual is my favorite? I can’t really say, but probably the one hanging above my desk in my studio: the cover to Issue 2, originally a done as a teaser poster for the series. Why? To put it simply, sometimes things are just better in black and white. The graytones make your eyes really study the piece to see what’s happening here; no bright colors are going to draw your attention to one spot or another. You completely fall into this strange world with its cold sky, and then Jean reminds you that this is only a painting by having large drip strokes interrupt the landscape. The world is so believable yet unbelievable; the textures are so real, but the characters are stylized, yet we believe its world all the same, robed monkey and all. To dismiss this at a shop would be unthinkable, there is such story behind this that I am begging to read inside. Jean also has a habit of hiding little tokens in his covers, so that when you finish the issue you can close your book and give the cover a second look to better appreciate its small surprises (I didn’t even see the violin player the first time around). All these aspects make this a great cover, and a cover I never tire looking at.