Category Archives: comic covers

Review – The Walking Dead 110 (Image / Skybound, 2013)

If you haven’t read this issue or any Walking Dead over the past 5 years, then be aware that there are spoilers below.

All comic covers are there to entice and sell the product, tarted up, pouting out from the comic racks or online. The fact that the first glimpse of a new comic is usually via the ‘solicitations’ that roll out on a monthly basis. Solicitation, is, as any good dictionary will tell you, the offering of goods and services. The Walking Dead uses their cover space to build up the hype. Many issues have had covers that pertain to a certain event happening (and by that I mean something momentous) and then the contents do not fulfil on that promise. Take for example issue 49, where Carl is leading Rick by the hand. Rick pulls a very distinctive Zombie shape, and his face is, helpfully, obscured by shadow. My god, you think – it’s all over for Rick. Except it wasn’t. While i am at it, let’s look at issue 85, the issue after Carl had had half his face blown off in the climax of ‘No Way Out’. Issue 85 has a cover that is sombre and respectful – a grieving father – Rick – hunkered down in grief, a plain black backdrop framing the pain and loss. Except, as we all know, Carl somehow managed to pull through in a jump the shark moment piece of comic book logic that was barely credible and marks a low point in the series as a whole (According to me).

Anyway – the cover to issue 110 has Michonne and Ezekiel clashing swords and staffs and other stuff that all looks a bit like a close up of a section of a Rob Liefeld cover from 20 years ago. Great, you think, a battle! Or at least a fight. Alas, prepare to be disappointed. The cover image actually pertains to something much more mundane and is so outrageously misleading that when I got to that point in the book I couldn’t help but laugh. And groan. And shake my head sadly. Of all the covers that have took liberties with the actual contents, this is probably the cheekiest.

The contents themselves could be read and you could have made your tea and eat it by the time it has took you to read my preamble. It is a lightning quick read this time around, but the economy is to be applauded to a degree. It is lean (not mean), and you get to the end with a bit of a ? hanging above your head. There are 2 distinct plot lines, one involving Jesus and one involving Rick and a delegation meeting Ezekiel. This latter storyline intrigued the most. I really did not think that much of the new guy, and I thought the potential for ruining the book with overcooked characters was reaching a new level with ‘King’ Ezekiel. However, after this issue, I am warming to him a little, though I think the whole pomp and pageantry thing is a mistake and I don’t believe that survivors in a brutal post apocalypse environment would buy into this sub-Mad Max posturing. Saying that, the overall impression of Ezekiel is better than before, and it’s the highlight of an issue that moved things on so gradually that I don’t expect the cover for issue 111 to be anything more than Negan  preparing Sunday lunch for himself and his concubines;

Bronze Age Marvel UK – Cover Art & Merged Comic Madness!!! (The 70’s)

There is something thrilling about the primary colours, and all out action of 70’s Marvel. Plus, I love the little window in the top left that shows the roster of Heroes in the comic. The 70’s was a boom time for comics in the UK, but many titles quickly got cancelled and got ‘folded in’ to better selling titles. Which is why you get such glorious merged comics as ‘The Avengers AND The Savage Sword of Conan’, and my favourite, ‘Planet of the Apes AND Dracula Lives’ ( a perfect distillation of my comic reading as a child). I can almost smell that unique paper smell in the Newsagents, as I recall these comics and their covers loaded on groaning shelves alongside the likes of The Dandy, Beano, Whizzer & Chips, Shiver & Shake, TV Comic, Look-In, Hotspur, and Action. Anyone have a picture of a newsagents from around this time, with the racks full of these comics? If so, would love to see it commented on here.

Ans if you want to read a well written and well researched piece about Marvel UK in the Bronze Age of Comics, and look at some more great comic art (the covers here are largely taken from the following site), then go to;

UK Comics – Load Runner (1983)

In the early 1980s, around the time of the 8 bit home computer boom (Sinclair Spectrum, ZX81, C64, Vic 20, BBC Micro), the British publisher ECC produced a short lived comic based around home computing and gaming. Called ‘Load Runner’ (a nod to the game ‘Load Runner’ perhaps? Or maybe a reference to the ‘loading’ of cassette based programs / games – the standard for the computers of the time). It lasted all of 13 issues. Like most British comics, it was ‘anthology’ based, with several serialised strips running concurrently – most were drawn, but, much like its contemporary, the 80’s reboot of The Eagle, there were also fumetti (photonovel) strips. I assume that the motivation behind the comic was to expand the concepts of some of the computer games of the day – and seeing as the game graphics were extremely basic, there was some sense in this idea. Considering you could get intriguing cover art for a game;

but the reality of the gameplay was like this;

then a bit of artistic licence to expand the concept was a fine ideal. So, what sort of strips were in Load Runner? Well, there was the titular character himself, who alongside his glamourous companion Petra, found themselves in vaguely computer based dramatic scenarios in a virtual world of peril and danger!!!

There was, as mentioned earlier, fumetti! One of the strips was called Time Plan 9, and another was called ‘School for Software’;

which must have been getting some fumes from Grange Hill judging by the body language / posturing of teacher and pupil (love that Teachers wig…)

Then there was the obligatory sports story (‘Load Runner’, despite its slightly different theme, stuck very closely to the tried and tested way of producing a contemporary comic) – this strip was called ‘Andy Royd’. Set in the future (1993), when professional football had changed irrevocably (maybe this was prophetic – the Premier League came into being in 1992….) and robots have replaced humans as the players. However, there is one man (Andy…) who poses as a robot to play in the league and try and save his team – the ‘Dominators’ – from relegation;

But this one has to be my favourite;

There was also a mascot / figurehead for ‘Load Runner’, who was obviously aimed at the demographic. His name was ‘Brainy’;

Anyway, there is some information out there on Load Runner (but not a lot). I would like to point you to the following links;

and all credit to the original scanners.

Here are the complete set of covers for Load Runner 1-13. Found them on ebay (current price per issue? 15 quid…);

Koloss! Diabolico! Spinneman! De Wrekers!

Sometimes I find the English language doesn’t do a good enough job of conveying or emoting. A case in point is demonstrated below. 4 comic book titles translated for other territories. All are well known, iconic characters. All are better represented by their translated titles – check them out;

first up, the Spanish language translation of ‘Daredevil’.

This is a literal Dutch translation of ‘The Avengers’,

and the Dutch strike again, with ‘Spinneman’ aka Spiderman.

Finally, my favourite – the Swedish version of ‘The Incredible Hulk’, simply titled ‘Koloss’, defined by Websters as ‘colossus, jumbo, leviathan’.

Great comic book titles, all very evocative, more so than the English versions in my opinion.

All scans were courtesy of the great Grand Comic Book Database