1990's Ten Best Covers

So over the Holidays, a clickbait article about the 1990s' 99 best comic book covers came out over on Ranker and made our eyes bleed. If by "best", they meant "most 90s", then kudos. If "best" was a mark of quality, then no, no, please God, no, make it stop. The list, while not all bad, was full of Liefeldian disasters (by him and others), or else were tributes to earlier covers that actually were good (nothing wrong with that, but was that all the decade had to offer?), or lame group shots that were in no way memorable. Not saying it was all bad, but SURELY, we can do better.

That's why, over the coming weeks, I'll attempt to bring you 10 covers a year, from 1990 to 1999 (publishing date, not cover date, many thanks to Mike's Amazing World of Comics), that I really do think could be contenders for best covers of that much-derided decade. Can we redeem it?
World's Finest #1 by Steve Rude
Classics Illustrated #1 by Gahan Wilson
Hellblazer #27 by Dave McKean
Justice League America Antarctica Annual #4 by Kevin Maguire
Animal Man #25 by Brian Bolland
Batman #451 by Norm Breyfogle
Give Me Liberty #1 by Dave Gibbons
Shade the Changing Man #4 by Brendan McCarthy
Dr. Strange and Dr. Doom: Triumph and Torment GN by Mike Mignola
Classic X-Men #45 by Steve Lightle

But perhaps you have different ideas?


Kid Kyoto said...

All good ones, but what makes the Classic X men cover rank? It seems pretty normal to me.

I recall Excalliber having some great covers, but don't have the time to check their 1990 output. Maybe the ones I recall were in the 80s.

I also have a real fondness for the v4, 5 Years Later Legion.

Siskoid said...

These are obviously personal choices, but I think the Classic X-Men cover is well balanced, is fun, features an artist best known for DC work on a Marvel property, and stands in for very many Classic X-Men covers that were quite good. Reprint series don't usually make these kinds of lists because the stories weren't original, but they did have new covers, etc.

Not that the covers are in any order, but there IS a reason I dropped it in last.

The best Excalibur covers are indeed in the 80s. I've only gone through 1990-1991 at this point, and wanted to feature some of that Alan Davis goodness, but the covers just didn't rank across those two years. Similarly, while I loved the 5YL Legion, the covers just didn't make the cut. I also wanted to put some Hawkworld in there, but while the monthly's covers had a strong look across the first year, any one cover by itself felt flat and uninteresting. Not an easy exercise when you take it seriously.

I did have a number of honorable mentions that might have slotted in just as well as the X-Men cover, or any other you might want to swap out.

SallyP said...

These are all excellent choices... and not a Liefeldian nightmare among them!
Some Howard Chakin could also be a good choice.

Brendoon said...

And of course the Bolland cover became your headline pic thing, suggests you liked it!

Two of Bolland's early 80's Dredd stories were what REALLY cemented me into being a cartoonist. If you could convincingly copy a Bolland Dredd it amounted to some respect amongst the other comic cultured 11 year olds!
I still think those two dozen pages were his best work, considering the right balance of "attitude" and technical skill.

Siskoid said...

There are worst "secret origins"!

Brendoon said...

ALSO of interest, Dave Gibbons and Brendan McCarthy were ALSO Dredd artists back in the day...
The UK and 2000ad, being a mostly black and white magazine in the 80's produced some of the best line artists in existence, later, some of the best painters though I was phasing out of reading it by then.

Toby'c said...

Of the five issues from 1990 I actually have, Action Comics #653 probably stands out.

Siskoid said...

Superman dying of green K poisoning? Worthy.

Toby'c said...

Well, like I said, I don't have a lot from 1990, just the Dark Knight Over Metropolis trade paperback.


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