Favorite Cover Artists Countdown # 27: Dick Briefer

Dick Briefer may be, as far as artists on this list, the artist that I most link with one particular character. In this case, it’s Frankenstein. Dick’s run on the Frankenstein title in the 40’s and 50’s was one of the strangest possible, because the title couldn’t make up its mind what genre it wanted to be. Was it horror? Slapstick? Maybe even romance? Didn’t matter. No matter what the feel of each one, Briefer had an equal facility with the art, doing both the covers and the interiors. In tribute to his great run on that book, I’m going to keep it all in the family, here, with each of the covers being from the Frankenstein series.

Also... he could have played Dr. Frankenstein in the movies, so why not?

Favorite Cover Artist # 27: Dick Briefer (also... awesome sweater shirt!)

BOOM! The cover just kind jumps out at you. It's Frankenstein. He's ugly. And the use of colors really grabs attention.

One of the horror covers. The use of shadows against the yellow background, the flow of the movement... so wonderful.

And now one of the more adventure-y covers, with Frankenstein saving a train. Note the yellow beam of light from the train. Why am I having you note that? Because... Briefer LOVED his yellow. It's one of the things that make his covers stand out.

I just really love the way Frankenstein's head and shoulders rise all the way up to the logo, hogging every last iota of space, making his looming figure all the more dramatic over the cringing scientist.

I don't even know what the hell is happening on this cover, but I love it. I want my own team of tiny Frankensteins. What could go wrong?

One of the humor covers. A nice set up for a gag. One of the least "yellow" covers you'll ever see from Briefer, but that vomit-green smoke makes such a perfect background for the logo, pulling the cover together.

Back to our yellow, now, and a little bit of romance. Doesn't this cover make you want to hang out with Frankenstein? Screw all those vampire-lovers... give me a rum and coke and a beach house with my best bud, Franky.

Back to the horror covers. I love how Frankenstein seems to be explaining the threat. "See, here's the last person I killed. I'll be grabbing your skull and using it to rip out your spinal column. I've got some charts around here somewhere. You know, I should really make an instructional video."

And.. now a gag cover. Down in front, you stupid animated corpse!

Back to adventure / horror, in a really well framed cover, with the circular clock, and the hands of the clock and Frankie's arm bisecting the circular feel, the colors that draw in the attention like a bullseye. Yep. Done right.

Perfect. I am Frankenstein. I am surrounded by yellow. And I am here to fuck up your shit.

Parts you’ve probably read in earlier posts:

The Disclaimer:

You might not see your favorite artist during this countdown. That’s okay. Don’t get mad. Some of MY favorite artists aren’t here. Hugo Pratt, Bernie Krigstein, Mike Wieringo… these guys (and others) are fantastic artists, but their covers just don’t strike me. Some people need sequential panels in order to have their art sing… and that’s okay. Furthermore, this list is subjective to my moods of the moment, so if you disagree with me, then rest assured that I probably disagree with me, too. That said, I welcome any and all comments as this list progresses over time.

THE FINE PRINT: (Why I’m doing this)

Recently, on a trip to a comic store, I was DISGUSTED by the overall lack of design on covers. Most covers were nothing more than two or three characters punching each other and snarling, the exact kind of design that I would have worked out when I was eight years old, and spat on by the time I was ten. So, why do such covers proliferate the shelves? One reason is for trade dressing… so that any cover can be put upon almost any trade compilation, which is one of the reasons behind the other Far Too Common cover design… that of the character or team standing at attention, looking tough, staring at the viewer. Fuck that. I’m lucky enough to work largely with editor Nate Cosby, who does very good work at hiring talented cover artists and creating covers that don’t piss me off, but in consideration of my other less lucky friends, and the industry as a whole, I’m going to spend the next few weeks counting down my own personal Top 40 Comic Book Cover Artists… the ones who got it right.

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