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, Annie, Louis, and Wendy discuss Mike Choi’s exclusive Forbidden Planet variant cover for Uncanny X-Men #1 from Marvel Comics.
— Forbidden Planet (@ForbiddenPlanet) November 2, 2018
What is your initial reaction to this as a piece of comics art?
Annie Blitzen: “Yay Laura Kinney! Nothing but respect for MY Wolverine!” Followed by, “Where is this style coming from?” This painted style is something I might expect for a very serious highbrow graphic novel. Even as a variant cover, it’s unusual to see on Uncanny X-Men. I don’t hate it, though, and her boots look amazing.
Louis Skye: I love it! Photo-realistic comic covers are my jam, and this one is amazing. I love the X-Men, though I’m only sporadically reading them now, and this is just the kind of cover art I would love to see for the team. X-23 looks brilliant. I love those claws. So shiny! The musculature isn’t overwrought, just enough to be believable. She looks like a cool mutant. 10/10—would frame on my wall.
Wendy Browne: I’m terribly fond of painted covers. It calls back to the days of Frank Frazetta, etc. I would love to see them featured more prominently, but I will accept their status as variants. As for the character herself, I really like that we get to see her feet. Laura’s claws are unique, but the focus of her imagery is almost always on her upper body. The pose allows us to get a closer look on those lethal foot claws, which are stylishly complemented by those boots.
What do you think the artist is trying to achieve?
Annie: I think he’s trying to convey that Laura is Serious Business, in a kind of Elektra type way. It’s darker and more textured than average, giving an impression of gritty realism. I’m glad I don’t have retractable adamantium foot claws, because I’d hate to cut up a pair of boots like these with them, and that hesitation could be deadly in a fight with Sabretooth.
Louis: Laura looks like a lean, mean fighting machine here, which seems to be the point of this cover. You do not cross this woman unless you want one, or all, of those six blades in your stomach. I’m interested in the red background. Why this colour? Could it be symbolic of the bloodshed about to be unleashed in Uncanny X-Men? I guess I now have to read it to find out (not that I’m complaining).
Wendy: For me, Choi has shaped an image of quiet contemplation in Laura, with a side of coiled to strike. It makes me wonder why I can’t recall seeing Catwoman posed in a similar way.
How well does this cover work as a homage to Todd McFarlane’s iconic Spider-Man cover?
Annie: Well, it ticks the boxes. The banner across the top and all the other layout features are matchy matchy. The pose is similar. The claw marks on the ground evoke the spider webs a bit. But the style! Why wouldn’t he go for the thick-lined ‘80s art? That type of melodrama is perfect for one of comics’ longest-running soap operas! Is Laura still smooching Warren? He’s rich, and he flies. I get it. But she should smooch a girl. I have a feeling Rachel Grey would appreciate those boots.
Louis: Ah, I got that homage feel from this cover, but wasn’t sure what it was referring to. I think it’s pretty spot-on as an homage. The pose is similar to Spidey’s. There are even scratch marks on the red floor that are a throwback to Spidey’s web. When I first saw the cover, I was a bit surprised at that old-style layout with the picture of the character and the banner, plus the subtitle in the blue box, but I get it now! It was all in the original comic cover. I know Annie likes the dark lines of the ‘80s cover, but I love how clean this one is.
Wendy: The Spider-Man pose it’s based on is supposed to be iconic—well, it is iconic—but I’m not the least bit fond of McFarlane’s image. Spidey looks very uncomfortable. Like he just had an awkward webbing accident and is trying to make the best of it. In contrast, Laura looks lean and lethal, quietly observing her prey, ready to pounce. As Annie says, it ticks the boxes of the cover it’s modeled after, but it makes it so much better with posing and medium working together to make for a much weightier image.
The Mike Choi variant will be available from Forbidden Planet on November 28th. What do you think of this cover?