This month the Cover Girl team discusses Eryk Donovan’s cover to Quantum Teens Are Go #1. Written by Mags Visaggio with pencils by Eryk Donovan and colouring by Claudia Aguirre, it dropped on February 22, 2017.
What is your initial reaction to this as a piece of comic art?
Claire Napier: I like yellow and pink. Yellow-orange-pink is a top combo, in my opinion. I like the composition; everything seems to fit where it is, which is NOT always the case with a cover. It feels like it’s missing something at the top maybe? But that’s graphic design, not comic art. I like the drawing, and I like how Mr. robot looms. I can’t tell if he’s a help or a danger, but I can tell he’s significant, which is good, because a story isn’t a story without significance. I like how jerky the linework is; I feel there’s something slightly off about the size of their heads, but I don’t really mind.It’s a little bothersome that she’s dressed for warmer weather than he is and that her top hugs the boob where it seems to me like it wouldn’t. Couldn’t we have had an ill wind blowing, raising his shirt and jacket hems? Her ankles are bare, and I don’t see socks, which says a lot in comparison to his trousers-into-boots; both “girl-coded bodies should be barer” and “hella sweaty feet here, whatever the weather.”
Sergio Alexis: I’m going to echo Claire on the color, the yellow and pink is a nice combination. The cover gives me that impression of the punky style that feels very much Magdalene’s style. I feel like the character in the jacket is kind of more ambiguously drawn in gender, but perhaps this is me projecting. I’m just like “is this an enby”; I want them to be, but I don’t know enough about the book.
Rosie Knight: Totally agree with Sergio and Claire that the thing that’s most striking and works the best for me on this cover are the colour choices. I like the use of the classic superhero style posing and positioning of the unusual characters, it’s a cool little subversion of the “norm.” I feel like the sketchy colouring of the two characters jars a little against the incredible flats of the intimidating orange robot in the background, but I love the use of the green striped background to contrast; it makes the whole cover seem really dynamic. As for the costume design, I love the science vibe, but elaborating on Claire’s point, I got a little turned off by the bare skin and lack of clothes on the more femme coded character. I’m all for sexy peeps in comics, but for a book that seems to be subverting so much, it’s a shame they went back into the old femme presenting characters wearing less clothes trope, whilst the male-coded character is fully dressed.
Claire: I just want to reiterate that I am excited about the robot.
Jamie: I’m gonna go against the group. I don’t care for the yellow and pink. This is my first look at these two characters, and their background is more eye-catching than they are. They’re using overwrought kiddie candy colors to do it. If there was more black or other intense imagery than the big looming bot, it might speak to me in a less visually screechy way.
What do you think Eryk Donovan is trying to achieve?
Claire Napier: Anarcho-coolness. Their chins are up, while their feet point flatly down; there’s a slight implicit fisheye effect that’s magnified by the big ol’ robot coming in behind. It’s (like Sergio Alexis says below) a pretty ’90s legacy image, or maybe early 2000s, that “whooaaahhhh we’re BULGING OUT AT YOU” thing that people did to be aggressive in an entertaining way at that time. By this point I think that counts as retro, and I’m certainly not down on it. I think it’s a very satisfying evolution of that aesthetic. It makes me think of posters for the film Hackers, which I haven’t seen, and hip hop girl pop music videos where someone would wear huge plastic trousers and a matching newsboy cap. There’s a sort of “remember when you felt a certain way?” nostalgia here, or “remember when you thought people who were older than you were having so much cool fun, because they told you that they were.” It does encourage fondness of these characters, and if I saw a stack of books with this in it, I’d probably go for this one over more regular comic book covers for all of those reasons.
Sergio Alexis: Grundy pop art look. It seems to want to reflect the idea that these are outsider type people. The robot to show that despite them looking pretty ’90s or modern that this is sci-fi-ish.
Rosie Knight: Modern Maggie the Mechanic era Love and Rockets with a pop art twist.
Jamie: Retro-futuristic neo-punk with diversity. That I like.