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Judging by the Cover – The top ten comic book covers of 2018

We count down the best comic book covers of 2018.

Most comic book fans have a pretty good idea what they’re going to buy every week when they visit their local comic shop. With that said, there’s still a lot of fun to be had just glancing at the week’s new releases and taking a chance on a book that looks promising. That’s where covers come in. A fantastic image can make the difference between trying something new or saying “Nah, not this week.”

Every week, we here at AiPT! look at new comic book releases and share which covers we love the most. Now, I’ve broadened the scope. After looking back at every issue that came out this year, I’ve created a list of the top ten comic book covers of 2018. These are the best of the best that, even weeks and months after their initial publication dates, still come to mind and impress.

#10. Seven to Eternity #10
Cover art by Cary Nord

Image Comics

I love floating city aesthetics, so this cover was an instant hit with me. The contrast between the smooth simplicity of the balloons and the more concrete and detailed line-work on the buildings provides a nice variety of textures. The blue background also stands out well against the rest of the image’s yellows and tans. This cover has a charming sketchy feel to it, but there’s also an impressive attention to small details that keeps the image looking complete and polished. All in all, this cover impresses with its mixture of architectural solidity and airy softness.

#9. Aquaman/Jabberjaw Special #1
Cover art by Joshua Middleton

DC Comics

This cover captures the spirit one would want from all these recent DC/Hanna-Barbera crossovers. The meeting of the characters’ worlds is made all the more striking thanks to Joshua Middleton’s impressively detailed painting style. He’s rendered a Jabberjaw that’s textured and shines while still resembling its cartoon counterpart. Of course, it all comes together with Aquaman’s squint as he seems to be thinking “What the hell?” What fun this is.

#8. Nightwing #52
Cover art by Kamome Shirahama

DC Comics

Few series this year had more consistently excellent covers than Nightwing. Out of all those covers this one is my favorite. Kamome Shirahama’s style is a great fit for the character, as Dick’s quick-footed athleticism is on perfect display. It’s also a style that stands out from that of many other artists who’ve drawn Dick this year. There’s been a lot of fairly bulky and muscular Nightwing art as of late, but Shirahama draws him with a more gymnast-esque body type befitting his constant flips and acrobatics. The colors here are also fantastic. The mixture of the greens with the dark blues conveys nighttime while keeping the scene from looking too dreary. There’s a sense of whimsy here, and it fits Dick perfectly.

#7. Batwoman #15
Cover art by Rafael Grampa

DC Comics

This is so stylized and so good. Grampa does a great job conveying the rundown industrial nature of the setting, and the monotonous gray of the background allows Kate to pop out in the foreground. I especially love how her cape splays out like bat wings, wrinkles and all. The atmosphere on display in this piece is heightened to the max. Both moody and badass, this cover has been my laptop background on several occasions.

#6. Crude #5
Cover art by Garry Brown

Image Comics

This cover’s composition is simple but very effective. There’s so much intimacy on display in the photograph, and it’s contrasted wonderfully by the sense of dread generated by the rest of the details. This photo’s been neglected and left to get tarnished, which raises the question: are the people depicted okay? The dark substance (oil?) and scuffed up background (including what might be a bullet hole) don’t bode well for them. With that said, the tender love between the photographed individuals is still the most striking part of this cover.

#5. The Beef #5
Cover art by Shaky Kane

Image Comics

Out of this world creativity. I adore this. The color contrast between the red of the meat and the blue of the containers is awesome. Even greater are the crinkles of the plastic and the lights bearing down on the packages from overhead. The hyperrealistic elements of this cover blend very well with the more cartoony line-work, and the overall image just pops. The inclusion of the multicolored grocery store stickers on the beef packages is an added cherry on top.

#4. Batgirl #24
Cover art by Joshua Middleton

DC Comics

There’s so many details here and they’re all so good. The diptych style composition is awesome, and the mirrored aspects across the cover really pull it together. The bat insignia parallel with the live bat is one great example, as are the different species of flowers. Middleton’s attention to detail is even present is less immediately obvious ways, like the heads/tails division of the coin in the background. There’s a really fantastic interplay between life and death here, and strong work like this is why Joshua Middleton managed to be the only artist who claimed two spots on this list.

#3. God Complex #5
Cover art by Hendry Prasetya

Image Comics

Talk about gorgeous. This cover captures a pivotal moment in the series, when Seneca finds himself augmented into a partially technological being. The contrast between Seneca’s new and old body parts here is outstanding. The machinery all looks hard and sleek, while his skin looks incredibly vulnerable in comparison. Seneca’s bowed head and missing lower leg convey the severity of his situation, and the overall composition leads the reader’s eye effectively across the page. The contrast between the warm reds and cool grays is also effective. I love this.

#2. Rise of the Black Panther #1
Cover art by Brian Stelfreeze

Marvel Comics

What an incredible cover. This image really tells a story, and it’s as beautiful as it is imposing. The variety of colors is gorgeous, as is the subtle cascading of pink petals. It’s easy for an image within an image to look too busy, but Stelfreeze’s composition here is totally on-point. This cover ran as an advertisement for the series months before it ever came out, so I’ve loved it since before it even hit the stands. Absolutely stunning.

#1. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #36
Cover art by Erica Henderson

Marvel Comics

I still remember when I first saw this cover. It’s so striking, and so beautiful at the same time. Henderson does a fantastic job on the squirrel’s fur texture, not to mention the rest of the body. Those tiny fingers and ears are just adorable. Plus, those eyes! Their blue pops well against all the gray, as does the pink of the bow. This is just incredible all around; the cuteness and technical skill on display are both off the charts.

 

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