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, Wendy, and Lisa discuss the covers for the Xena #1 relaunch from Dynamite Entertainment.
What is your initial reaction to these covers as pieces of comics art?
Louis: I quite like them. They’re very retro, very epic. But there’s a Wonder Woman quality to the covers, and I wish I could just see Xena instead. Not sure if that was the intent or not. I’m not a fan of the two female heroes being surrounded by children, though the art on that cover is pretty stunning.
Lisa: I ADORE them. I’m specifically in love with the Henderson and Ganucheau, but all are really compelling.
Wendy: I love the way each of them reflect a different aspect of who Xena is and what she means to each of the artists.
What do you think the artists are trying to achieve?
Louis: The covers kinda scream Xena: Warrior Princess to me, which is good, because that’s what she is all about!
Lisa: They’re looking to reflect Xena’s multifaceted nature—her butt-kicking nature and her fearlessness, and also her champion of the people status.
Wendy: Each of the covers makes me believe that the artist is a fan of the show and the characters, and they wanted to bring their love to cover by representing her in the way they see her. Mack’s is most striking, because it seems to reflect a sense of reverence and awe. I’m a huge fan of Mack’s work, so I assumed that his would automatically be the only one I cared about, but I am smitten by all of them, particularly in the way each one chooses colours to emphasize their themes.
Is there a particular cover that you feel best represents the main characters and their legacy?
Louis: Paulina Ganucheau’s cover (the fourth one), is badass. Xena’s in fighting mode, and Gabrielle is running in to join the fight. I love the expressions on their faces—Xena looking all fierce and Gabrielle the calm, collected one. This is what I remember of the show and how the characters would want to be remembered.
Lisa: All of them do a good job of reflecting a different facet of who she is and what the franchise is about; Emanuela Lupacchino captures her champion-of-the-people nature (And Gabrielle’s barding!); Erica Henderson has the show’s humor down pat; Louis got everything about the Ganucheau cover and what I love about it down; David Mack captures Xena’s fierce warrior side. Raul Allen and Patricia Martin have captured her fearlessness.
Wendy: As Lisa and Louis mentioned, each cover is distinctively different. I wonder if this was an editorial mandate, or if it simply turns out that each artist happened to choose an image that reflected her many personas. From fearless warrior leaping into battle, to campy duo, to deadly assassin and army of one, to woman-not-quite of the people, to goddess. Mack’s is my default favourite, but I’m settling on Allen and Martin’s as my first choice, mainly for the very, very Xena-like expression on her face, and the gorgeous colour and shading contrasts.
Dynamite’s Xena reboot is out this month, now penned by Vita Ayala.