Tag Archives: comic book covers

Power Rangers Spotlight: Jordan Gibson

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I’m a huge fan of all the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers variant covers you’re going to see here. That’s why it’s somewhat embarrassing to say I just recently discovered they’re all by the same guy: Jordan Gibson.

Issue #28: Jason remembers. This is the first Gibson cover I can remember seeing. It’s downright touching, actually. A Zeo era Jason gazing fondly at his old Red Ranger costume in the Power Chamber. It’s very easy to read a nostalgic fondness on his face. Ironically, the same feeling those old MMPR episodes evoke from so many of us. For some reason, the placement of his hand on the glass goes a long way in that regard as well. It’s funny how much a simple hand placement can do.

Issue #31: “Forever Red.” I’m convinced this is a nod to another famous comic book cover. I just can’t figure out which one. At the very least, it captures that epic vibe that a lot of covers go for. Certainly as fitting a tribute to “Forever Red” as there’s ever been. My only complaint? I would have put the Red Wild Force Ranger in the center, as opposed to Red Turbo. It was a Wild Force episode, after all.

Issue #33: Dr. Tommy Oliver. Conspicuous by his absence in this year’s big Shattered Grid event comic was the Tommy we saw in Power Rangers Dino Thunder. The Tommy that acted as a mentor to his own team of Rangers. As the villain, Lord Drakkon, was an evil alt-universe version of Tommy, it would have made sense to see those two meet. The closest we got was this variant cover from Gibson. To his credit, this thing is friggin’ awesome. It catches Tommy in the final miliseconds of his morphing sequence. The orange background is really what makes it, capturing the same color scheme they used for most of the morphs that season.

Issue #34: “Once a Ranger.”

“Once a Ranger” doesn’t necessarily get a lot of love from longtime fans. I can see why. Operation Overdrive wasn’t exactly a critical success. But the two-parter still had its merits. At the very least, it was fun to see all the former Rangers back. Gibson tips his hat to said alumni with this variant cover to issue #34.

Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter, or email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com.

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Epic Covers: Gotham Knights by Brian Bolland

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

When you hear the name Brian Bolland, especially in the context of Batman’s world, you think of The Killing Joke. That’s understandable. Nearly 30 years later, DC still goes to great lengths to make sure none of us forget it.

But Bolland has revisited the Dark Knight at various points since, usually via cover work. Such was the case in late 1999/2000, when DC called on him to do the covers for their new Batman series, Gotham Knights. Between April of 2000 and January of 2004, almost every issue of Gotham Knights was adorned with a Brian Bolland cover. Thus, Bolland got to cover a lot of ground he likely wouldn’t have otherwise been able to. We saw him draw characters like Nightwing, Huntress, Spoiler, and even Cassandra Cain as Batgirl. While Gotham Knights was essentially a third string series, during that timeframe is boasted some of the best covers in all of comics.

While great many of them would most certainly fit into the “epic” category, I’ve picked my five favorites for this space today.

Issue #18 – Aquaman and the Giant Penny.

Brian Bolland is widely known as the man who drew Barbara Gordon getting shot and paralyzed by the Joker. So when one thinks of his art, the word “funny” doesn’t often come to mind. And yet, here we are.

Gotham Knights #18 is about Batman summoning Aquaman for help retrieving some Batcave artifacts that went underwater after the big earthquake in Cataclysm. Bolland uses this premise to to get a little cutesy with iconic Batcave set piece. Aquaman is a character that gets played for laughs a lot. But what I appreciate about this piece is that it’s not necessarily making fun of Arthur, or using the whole “he talks to fish” bit. Arthur is in on the joke. Bolland doesn’t draw him in a cartoony way, but the combination of the shrug and the expression on his face almost evokes a Looney Tunes vibe. It’s difficult not to smile when you see this thing.

Issue #25 – Batman in Handcuffs.

Most people associated those bladed gauntlets with Batman, and that iconography is what makes this image work.

Gotham Knights #25 tied in with the Bruce Wayne, Murderer? storyline going on at the time, which saw Bruce go to prison. Bolland captured the spirit of that story perfectly by placing Batman in handcuffs. And don’t discount the iconic symbolism of those either. For better or worse, handcuffs are a symbol of American justice. With this relatively tight image, Bolland tells us that Batman is now entrapped within the system he’s supposed to be serving.

Issue #32 – The Grandfather Clock

I wouldn’t call this a famous image. But it’s gotten a decent amount of additional exposure over the years. It’s easy to see why.

While issue #25 took place as the Murderer? storyline was beginning, Gotham Knights #32 was part of the wrap up. It showed us 24 hours in the life of Bruce Wayne/Batman. So it’s fitting that Bolland’s cover show is the grandfather clock, the entrance to the Batcave. The unofficial threshold between billionaire playboy and caped crusader. And you have the great juxtaposition of both identities standing back to back. An awesome cover for an awesome issue.

Issue #43 – Batgirl Debuts

Another piece that got a good amount of play after the fact. Bolland delivers an epic tip-of-the-hat to the classic Carmine Infantino cover for Detective Comics #359 from 1967, Batgirl/Barbara Gordon’s “million dollar debut!” The classic never dies, kids.

There’s a sentimental aspect to this one, of course. Bolland wasn’t very nice to Barbara Gordon in The Killing Joke. So for him to render here like this, in her crowning moment, is pretty cool. It’s almost a sense of justice for the character. Though ironically, the issue was more about Jason Todd than Barbara herself.

Issue #45 – Man-Bat’s Close Up

Oddly enough, I remember not liking this one when it came out. It’s so damn gruesome and detailed. Look at the nose. The ears. The fangs.

But of course, that’s the point, isn’t it? There aren’t a lot of epic Man-Bat covers. But this one definitely fits the bill.

This one also has a great Universal monster movie vibe to it. Between the lighting from below, the positioning of the head and neck and the wide-eyed expression, it brings to mind the promotional art for the original Wolfman or Mummy movies.

Email Rob at PrimaryIgnition@yahoo.com, or follow Primary Ignition on Twitter.