August’s most alluring comic covers range widely across imprint and aesthetic. On one hand, Jim Lee renders a very literal interpretation of Superman Unchained in its third issue, defined by pecs that could squeeze coal into diamonds while a setting sun freezes an expression that can only say, “I’m the most morally-superior, elite being in the universe. But if I wanted your ladyfriend, I could make the Fortress of Solitude a lot less solitudinous…and solitudinous is totally a real word, thanks.” The complex shading scheme is also quite lovely. As Superman Unchained #2 was the top-selling comic of July, this artful approach of mythic attitude and surreal anatomy still strikes a chord in the market. And it’s also some of Lee’s finest work.
On the other side of the spectrum lies indie darling Adrian Tomine’s Optic Nerve #13, which continues the title’s unique half-cover format, vertically cutting the front canvass to reveal the interior upon first glance. It’s a fantastic trick to provoke cognitive dissonance; the first page of the comic — a dense lattice-work of panels and ink — hides semi-obscured under the gorgeous sans-serif typography and turquoise negative space of the cover proper. Take a look via the link or in the gallery below. If this packaging was any more complicated, the work underneath would get lost in the visual commotion. As is, one can’t help but flip back the front flap to reveal the hilarity that ensues when a grumpy cartoonist makes brilliant slice-of-life art. (Be warned, though: the main story might make you cancel your wedding/listen to The Smiths for a solid month). To say the least, Optic Nerve is a striking example of innovative design that attracts the eye in a very different way than Jim Lee’s hyper-detailed strongmen.
In addition to the above, a sacred oldie from Charles Schulz, a classy BOOM! variant, and one of Al Feldstein’s iconic sci-fi visions further round out Paste’s favorite comic covers of last month.
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Anti-Hero #3, Nate Stockman
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Avengers #17, Leinil Francis Yu
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Batman: Li'l Gotham #5, Dustin Nguyen
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Batman Beyond Universe #1, Sean Murphy
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Batwoman #23, J.H. Williams III
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Bravest Warriors #11, Kelsey Short
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Daredevil #30, Chris Samnee
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East of West #5, Nick Dragotta
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Fatale #16, Sean Phillips
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FELDSTEIN: The Mad Life and Fantastic Art of Al Feldstein!, Al Feldstein