Sunday, February 3, 2019

Adam Hughes brilliant covers for Superman

Adam Hughes has always been a craftsman and one of the clever designers of comics covers for the past decade or so. He's great at drawing women but even in his convention sketches he has a sense of whimsy. Starting in 2018 with the latest relaunch of Superman he has done some spectacular work with the character.



This cover to Superman 1 was a doozy - with Superman completely bursting out of a telephone box to save the day. Of course there are no more public telephone boxes, at least in my area of the world. I loved this image so much I use it as a watch face on my Apple Watch.



The cover to Superman 2, when I first saw it, took me a while to grok completely. Your attention first goes to Lois throwing up her hands, then to the bullet, and Superman's blurred figure in the foreground gives you a great impression of his super-speed. Faster than a speeding bullet!



Superman 3 cover was Adam Hughes' take and on the shirt reveal for the chest emblem. Since that had been done a hundred times before (most notably on the Man of Steel 1 cover by John Byrne), Hughes decided to take it back a few more seconds to the removal of the tie. Thanks to modern techniques we can see the S symbol below his white shirt.



Well this is also a daring and unexpected cover because Superman is so tiny and barely recognizable at the top. It's a glorious image of the Daily Planet at sunrise or sunset. I think mark chiarello, the Senior VP Art Director at DC Comics (who was sadly lost that position recently), deserves credit for the success of these variant covers. By removing the logo entirely such a design is possible. And you can see what Hughes was going for, capturing Superman to match the classic motto: Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!



Now if Superman 4 cover was successful because of no logo, the one to Superman 5 did have it, as a faint as a dark shadow on a moonless night. This cover was an homage to a Golden Age cover...




...Superman 32 from 1945, by Wayne Boring. There are even coffee mugs with this Boring cover, which I found while Googling for it.



Superman 6, probably my least favorite out of this set, but still humorous, showing bullets bouncing off his head and body. I don't connect with it that well because he looks a bit goofy, his hair looks funny, and why is he wincing? Also I wish we saw the bullets instead of the star effects.

After issue 6, DC & AH! took a break. Superman 7 variant was by David Finch, issue 8 was by Rob Liefield. I believe he starts again after that, I have seen images and they are very good. I will follow up later with a future post. Nuff Said!



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