As winter marches into its final desaturated month, an assembly of pencillers, colorists and inkers are here to brighten our lives. Our favorite comic book covers of February feature a litany of repeat offenders including David Aja (Karnak, The Scarlet Witch), Declan Shalvey (Injection) and David Mack (Fight Club, Hellboy). And like the green of spring poking through the black and white slush, Aja’s work this month tends to work in three primary colors (tritone…ish) and is just as pleasing.
Starting with his run on Hawkeye, the Spanish wunderkind has worked primarily in black, white and one signature color—purple in the case of the Avenger’s archer, though Aja would sometimes work in a few more shades or use red as a primary color. Today, Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch, and Karnak benefit from the artist’s striking, minimalist aesthetic. Issue two of the Warren Ellis-penned Karnak shows the cult leader frozen in contemplation among wreckage (human? mechanical? both?). In addition to Karnak’s bright green tattoos, Aja adds another hue of ominous red splattered throughout the aforementioned heap and on the antihero’s body. It’s a subtle and haunting touch. That same red is far less alarming on The Scarlet Witch, comprising the fill on her harp and body, while standing in gorgeous contrast to the obsidian black defining her hair and raven. Aja’s style also adds in some fabricated distortion, where thick linework splatters and blurs to resemble a photocopy or messy screen print. The resulting work feels like a cross between a punk concert flyer and the work of film intro designer Saul Bass. Which is to say, David Aja’s illustrations are something I want to frame and put on my wall.
Elsewhere this month, Helen Chen’s buoyant manga touch graces the covers of Silk and Gotham Academy while Ryan Kelly and Emma Price also flex some duotone muscles on a Norwegian pig-sex god in Cry Havoc.