Welcome to Cover Girl. Each month, we gather a team of WWAC contributors to analyze a new and notable comic book cover featuring one or more women. This month Louis, Annie, and Brenda discuss Dynamite’s Miss Fury #1, which features five different covers by Billy Tucci, Emma Kubert, Ken Lashley, Mike McKone, and Jan Duursema.
What is your initial reaction to these as a piece of comics art?
Annie Blitzen: The first thing I notice is the catsuit and the Catwoman resemblance. She predates Catwoman, so I guess she either was the first one with the look or her creators copied it from someone even older. The poses are a bit T&A, especially Tucci’s cover, but it’s all very dynamic. Catwoman gets a lot of covers in which she’s poised on a rooftop or something, where it suggests action, but doesn’t show it. Here, she’s definitively doing something in two of them, more poised in two, and relaxed in one. I also love that there are no other characters aside from nameless grunts. I feel like that’s important for a #1 of a female-led solo title; let her sell the book on her own merits.
Louis Skye: I agree with Annie about the similarities to Catwoman. At first glance, they are almost indistinguishable, especially Mike McKone’s. How is someone to tell the difference? The poses are, sigh, very unnatural. Emma Kubert’s and Jan Duursema’s are particularly egregious; so eager are the artists in their attempts to show off the character’s assets that they’ve broken her back. I am not acquainted with Miss Fury, and those covers would not endear me to them. As much as I want to read a female-led story, I would be concerned about what I found within if I go by the cover art.
Brenda Noiseux: Perspective. Each cover feels like the traditional busty, tiny waisted, hyper muscular superhero female we’ve seen before. Their bodies, and body parts, are defying the laws of physics and gravity, but not necessarily in artful ways. What I most appreciate in these covers as works of art are the fantastic use of lighting in both Tucci’s and McKone’s work and the two-tone color play in Lashley and McKone’s work.
Nola Pfau: It’s funny that everyone says Catwoman, and I get it, but my first thought was Batwoman, particularly in the Emma Kubert and Mike McKone pieces. That shock of red cape behind the black body suit is something that Batwoman’s iconic for, and it’s good to be reminded here that she didn’t originate it. Personally the Duursema and Kubert, and McKone covers work best for me–I like the dynamism of Duursema’s and Kubert’s gives me strong Jae Lee vibes, while McKone’s manages to look dangerous just sitting there. On the other hand, Tucci’s is a kind of art that’s best left in the 90s, and while I don’t dislike Lashley’s concept, I think his proportions are weak.
What do you think the artists are collectively trying to achieve?
Annie: They want to establish who Miss Fury is and what she does. She’s not as well-known as even some of the rest of Dynamite’s lineup, such as Red Sonja and Vampirella. Miss Fury is a character with a lot of history, and they’re trying to evoke that, especially Kubert.
Louis: I feel like the artists want readers to know that this no-nonsense, action-oriented character. There are guns pointed at her, bullets flying around her, she’s swinging through a fire. This is clearly a woman of action. Even on the covers where she isn’t doing something, she looks like she is in control, not a wilting flower or damsel in distress. I like that; if only they would fix her back!
Brenda: I agree with Annie that they’re trying to establish the character. While not the fault of the artists, Miss Fury’s costume is reminiscent of Catwoman with a possessed cape, à la Spawn or Dr. Strange. Viewing the covers as a collection, it feels like Miss Fury’s a vigilante superhero with a sexy devil-may-care attitude who is so amazing with gun fights that she could be recruited as the NRA’s next poster child.
Nola: I think it’s more than just establishing character–Miss Fury’s had a few reboots in the last several years, as each team tries to make her happen. They haven’t really stuck, and I think they’re trying hard here to make it work by conveying not just the character but the tone and energy level of the book. It’ll be interesting to see if they follow through on that.
Which is your favorite cover and why?
Annie: I like Duursema’s cover a lot. She’s dodging a bunch of bullets, presumably German bullets during a World War, so it reminds me of the dramatic shot of Diana using her shield in a similar situation in the Wonder Woman film. Unlike that shot and many others that praise female heroes for their ability to shrug off attacks and pain (lookin at you, Spider-Woman killing skrulls while in labor), Miss Fury is shown being injured in this cover, and she looks grim and determined about it, which is more often reserved for male heroes.
Louis: I love the aesthetic of Bill Tucci’s cover. The red cape segueing into dripping blood with Miss Fury clad in all-black, the white-and-yellow fire surrounding her—it immediately caught my eye. And, then there’s the little details: Miss Fury gritting her teeth as she swings on the rope, firing her gun at baddies (I presume) with the shells popping out of the gun beside her. She looks like she has tons of personality and is very human. This cover makes me want to read the comic.
Brenda: Although none of these are covers are something I would personally add to my collection, I’m torn in choosing a favorite among them. From a cover art, “wow that would look amazing on a sales shelf,” Tucci nails it, but that female body perspective is too much for me to declare it my favorite. Ultimately, I choose McKone’s cover for his stellar lighting of latex. Those highlights match the intensity of Miss Fury’s gaze giving it the extra edge.
Nola: Duursema’s would be my reading copy and I’d display that McKone on my wall. It’s gorgeous.