Monday, November 24, 2008

Cover Up: The All-Star Squadron #3

Looking at the cover to my copy of All-Star Squadron #3, it's easy to see something right off — I have read the hell out of this thing.

Part of the reason is the fantastic story inside (it reads like one giant team-up brimming over with both moxie and gumption), but a big part of it is the cover itself. For some reason, even though it's not a particularly original or artistically unique effort, it just grabs me every time. I have read this comic over and over again because the cover by Rich Buckler (and a mostly uncredited Dick Giordano) always lures me in as if it were a promising new adventure.

And make no mistake — this cover has plenty of promise. The image is filled with colorful heroes racing toward the center, given some extra pop thanks to a solid black background that is really a great use of negative space. The scene almost feels claustrophobic and certainly dangerous because of the implication of what you can't see. It's also a neat call-out to Dr. Mid-Nite, who is throwing a blackout bomb into the already inky scene.

And Dr. Mid-Nite isn't the only one on the move. There is absolutely nothing static about this image; maybe one of the things I find so compelling about this cover is the fact that it's just packed with action. Every character is doing something, and more importantly, interacting with each other. All of the heroes are converging on Solomon Grundy (amplifying the menace of one of my favorite bad guys) and you get the idea that it's because they have to; this isn't going to be a walk for the heroes, and you can see it in the expressions — this fight is a struggle. They're not winning!

A neat trick is how the artists put every character's attention on Solomon Grundy, which helps draw the reader in even more since you're then sharing the same perspective as the characters; the heroes are focused on Grundy, and so are you. I also like the over-the-shoulder point of view with Per Degaton; it's another piece of the whole that re-emphasizes the focus on the center and the closed-in feeling of the image. Plus, he's totally pulling a little Doctor Doom-style bombast, and how awesome is that?

All in all, just a solid and excitingly conceived cover that has some subtle design strength behind it. What do you think?


Just to share a little more of my love for All-Star Squadron #3, here's a page showing Plastic Man being a total bad-ass:


Anonymous said...

Yea for the All-Star Squadron!

Maxo said...

Right? I wish they'd put these out in trade!

rob! said...

yeah, i really liked ASS as a kid.

oh, um...

Maxo said...

Rob: Strangely, it's something I never outgrew.