No comic shop trip for me due to there being no new comics that I buy out this week and Christmas kept me busy. But I did get some comics as gifts.

  • Creepy Presents: Steve Ditko
  • Framed Ink by Marcos Mateu-Mestre
  • The Stange World of Your Dreams – Edited by Craig Yoe
  • Marvel Masterworks: Avengers Volume 13
  • Woman Rebel by Peter Bagge
  • Dotter of her Father’s Eyes by Mary and Bryan Talbot
  • Bad Houses by Sara Ryan and Carla Speed McNeil
  • Red Handed by Matt Kindt
  • This week’s comic book cover to look at and examine is Armor #1 by Neal Adams. This is from September 1985. I cannot remember where I got this. I know I bought it when it came out but foe some reason I associate it with the newsstand rather than my local comic shop. But by 1985 I think I was buying all my comics at my LCS. Memory is tricky.

    This is one of the earliet “Guy just standing there” covers that I can remember. I generally don’t like them but in this one he’s doing a little bit more than just standing there. He’s talking to us. As a matter of fact it’s the word balloon that makes this whole cover for me. Sure the drawing is good. More than good even. Rather than just standing there Armor is crouched and ready for action but also subtly calls us over with a gesture. And what a well drawn gesture it is. I can’t overstate how hard it is to draw that hand looking like the fingers are wiggling just a little bit to call us over.

    And then that subtlety is paired with one of the earliest examples I can think of for the use of over-the-top lens flares. Those are those “Shines” that are coming off of his armor. I count thirteen of them. That’s crazy. Sure they became overused in the 1990s when they became easy to do on the computer but this was 1985 and it wasn’t so simple to overuse lens flares. The special silver ink on the logo adds to the shininess too.

    But it’s the word balloons that makes this cover special. It’s over-the-top and subtle at the same time. “For you to live, I must die!… But Armor will not die!”. First off he refers to himself in the first and third person. That’s not easy thing to do. Secondly who is he talking to? He must be talking to some sort of villain off-screen but we have no idea who that is. He’s also talking to us, the reader, directly. Since we’re the only ones here. Not only that but he’s actually threatening us, the readers. How cool is that! I never see that sort of thing. It’s bizarre and I like the bizarre. Even the Jester’s marks on Armor’s armor are strange and offbeat for your usual armored hero. Good stuff.

    All things considered what I like about this cover is it’s pairing of subtlety and over-the-top weirdness. I have no idea if any of that was intentional but that doesn’t even matter to me. It’s well designed and well drawn and that’s intentional for sure. It might not be considered one of the greatest covers but it’s one of my favorites.