Favorite Cover Artists Countdown # 19: Curt Swan
I could seriously put in over four or five HUNDRED amazing covers from this guy. I met Curt at a convention years and years ago, and he was the nicest guy ever, and I have to say that at the time I wasn’t actually a huge fan. You have to understand that I was a “Marvel” guy when I was growing up. It wasn’t until Curt and I were shaking hands that I had a revelation of how much I really DID enjoy his work. His hand was in mine and I looked down at it and thought, “That’s the hand that’s drawn the iconic Superman TENS OF THOUSANDS of times!” It was like a jolt of electricity. I’d say that it was from that moment on that I’ve been a huge fan of Curt’s work, but, obviously I’d been a big fan even before then, and I just didn’t know it.
Oh look! Iconic covers. I love the Supergirl cover, of course, because I love Supergirl and would LOVE to write her comics one day, but I’ve always loved that Adventure cover because of that little motion swirl around Superboy’s head. That motion swirl is shorthand for, “WTF? You’re turning ME down? Seriously, jerkwads, in not long from now it’s going to be SUPERBOY & THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES, so take that you teen bastards. Also, Saturn Girl, you are HOT.”
A selection of “fatty” covers.
Monkey / Ape covers (a personal favorite genre of mine)
And, speaking of a look at Swan’s art, click on this link for a nice look at a Wonder Woman story that was begun by John Rosenberger and finished by Swan. The story is unpublished, and only in the pencil stage, and I always find such behind the scenes looks to be interesting.
And now… it’s GALLERY TIME!
Parts you’ve probably read in earlier posts:
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.