He’s been a leader and a revolutionary, a husband and a father, a hero and a villain–He’s Cyclops, the first X-Man. The many roles Scott Summers has played since his debut in 1963 have made him one of the X-Men and comics’ most complex characters. In honor of Slim’s full-fledged return from the dead in this week’s Uncanny X-Men Annual #1, AiPT! is proud to present: CYCLOPS WEEK!
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.”
To celebrate Cyclops Week at AiPT!, we’re publishing a special edition of Judging by the Cover. Read on to discover Cyclops Week Curator Chris Hassan, contributor Forrest Hollingsworth, Content and Media Manager David Brooke and Manga Editor Eric Cline’s favorite Cyclops covers!
Uncanny X-Men (1963) #137
Cover art by John Byrne
This iconic cover screams, “Mess with Jean Grey, face the wrath of Cyclops!” Uniforms in tatters, mutant powers at full force and the Earth 200,000 miles away–everything about this cover is epic. Jean is fighting for her life, and Scott’s fighting for his too, because as Chris Claremont and John Byrne established in “The Dark Phoenix Saga,” the X-Men’s leader’s life is nothing without Jean. Yeah, yeah, not a healthy mindset, but if it makes for a classic cover, just let it slide.
Uncanny X-Men (1963) #176
Cover art by John Romita Jr.
Move over Magneto! Could Cyclops’ greatest nemesis be… an octopus?! With a cover this crazy, is it any wonder Uncanny X-Men eventually established itself as comics’ quirkiest and top-selling title? Despite the awesome power erupting from Cyclops’ visor–and shattering the Uncanny X-Men logo–Scott’s completely powerless against this sinister cephalopod in this vintage Romita Jr. cover.
Uncanny X-Men (2011) #3
Cover art by Carlos Pacheco
So, the Celestials are basically the gods of the Marvel Universe, right? Well, then this cover is essentially Cyclops flipping God the middle finger and I love it. Usually, when these giant space robots appear and give the ole thumbs down, someone’s getting obliterated. On this cover, Scott Summers isn’t having any of that, and responds by blasting force beams straight into that humongous thumb. This is why Cyclops is one of Marvel’s biggest badasses.
X-Men Origins: Cyclops #1
Cover art by Adi Granov
OK, let’s get this out of the way first: that font is not great. However! The rest of this cover rules. Simple in effect, it hits a lot of the key Cyclops motifs in great fashion: the simplicity of the suit, the subtle glint off the arm bands, the crackle of the optic blast (and the way it cuts right through the title logo) and uh… all the red. It’s reserved but considered, character focused and sleek–exactly what you would expect from an “Origins” book, and exactly what you expect from Cyclops, in general.
Uncanny X-Men (1963) #391
Cover art by Tom Raney
This cover really captures an in media res energy that I adore: you’re on the cusp of being blasted. There’s a great momentum captured in the anatomy with Cyclops’ arms raised, the beam trailing from behind the title logo, the general messiness of his hair, and even that kind of surprised but stern expression. It’s pretty akin to what countless folks have seen right before getting served up of Scott Summers’ special stuff and I love it for that alone.
Uncanny X-Men (2013) #26
Cover art by Chris Bachalo
This one is just so over-the-top that I can’t help but dig it. There’s a lot going on with all the monster Cyclopses–Cyclopsi?–but each one has its own unique look or anatomy (spilling out of the frame there at the bottom) all kind of offset by the central figure that’s so starkly different from the rest of the pile–on that I think it conveys a cool, considered but still overwhelming approach that works. That title treatment is also especially stunning, the way its sunken into the mass, patina on the “X”–it just all works in a great tandem: Cyclops motif through and through but unique, too.
Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey #3
Cover art by Stephanie Hans
You can tell there is great love in Jean’s eyes here even though they are burning together. Cyclops’ beams spreading out is a cool touch and Hans puts you right there with them.
X-Men Unlimited #1
Cover art by Chris Bachalo
This cover is mostly chosen out of nostalgia. I bought this at a time when comics were pretty foreign to me and what struck me was the intensity of emotion. Storm is yelling, Xavier is screaming his guts out and Cyclops looks like he’s either really scared or really stressed. I love the energy flowing off his eyes–different from the usual beam–and the hands are used well to show a bit of emotion in Cyclops.
Cover art by Andy Kubert
When this comic came out, I was blown away by how it showed the characters in regular clothes. How can superheroes be depicted on a cover without fighting, in costume, or at the very least, screaming? It was a huge issue that everyone needed to buy and Andy Kubert nailed the love between Jean and Cyclops. The details on the back cover showing all the characters that attended the wedding is quite nice too. I love the energy of Jean’s dress as it flows out, heightening the passion between her and Scott. A great cover.
Cover art by Alexander Lozano
The first arc of Cyclops’ last solo series was one of my favorite comic stories of all time, and this is one of its best covers. That run really explored Scott and Corsair’s father/son dynamic more than any other series has, and this cover by Lozano captures the fun feel of their adventures. It’s a chaotic sci-fi joyride, and the characters’ facial expressions are fantastic.
Cover art by John Tyler Christopher
Yet another cover from Scott and Corsair’s space adventures together. While Lozano’s cover showcased the fun of the run, this one from John Tyler Christopher has a more serious feel to it. The limited color palette is utilized very well, with the bold red popping against the stark black and white. The composition is also fantastic. This image is a poster waiting to be made.
Uncanny X-Men #32
Cover art by Chris Bachalo & Tim Townsend
Talk about an instantly iconic cover. Cyclops and his rightness (or wrongness) defined discussions of the X-Men in this era, and Bachalo and Townsend do a fantastic job reflecting those conversations. Cyclops, the controversial revolutionary, peering over all of his past selves–it’s a display of the character’s evolution, as well as fans’ reactions to said arc. Of course, the art is also great as always from this team. I especially love the texture of the battered ground beneath the mountain of Scotts. It’s also always cool to see a character’s various looks all together as once.
What are your favorite Cyclops covers? Let us know in the comment space below!