Books, geekery

Judging a book by its cover: Comics and graphic novels

A few weeks ago my lovely baby brother bought me this copy of Death of the Family (Batman: New 52). The cover is amazing and I immediately had to share it online.

death of the family new 52 cover

It got me thinking about other new, special and limited editions of awesome comics. As you probably already know, Batman is my favourite and the lovely Cat from More About Cat told me that she is holding out for this mask and book set of the same title, due for release later in the year. I had seen special editions of DVDs like this (I’ve got these rather cool versions of The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises) but not for comic books. So I did a quick Amazon search and also came up with The Court of Owls, which I immediately added to basket.

batman mask and book sets

It turns out that similarly jaw-droppingly cool sets are hard to come by, so I started searching for anniversary editions of must-have titles and generally cool covers. Sticking with Batman for a minute, there’s another version of Death of the Family, a 25th anniversary edition of Arkham Asylum and a Kevin Smith story (Kindle Edition – boo). Speaking of Kevin Smith, you can get your hands on copies of the Jay and Silent Bob and Bluntman and Chronic stories. They’re a bit hard to come by though.

batman covers

Taking a look at the Marvel options, I’m quite liking this cover of Superior Spider-Man Volume 6: Goblin Nation and Black Widow Volume 1. Given that the Black Widow is probably the most prominent female ‘superhero’ at the moment, I’d really like to know more. And £13.50 isn’t bad for the first six stories.

spider man and black widow covers

As for the slightly less heroic titles, there are plenty to sink your teeth into. I’ve been meaning to read at least some of Frank Miller’s Sin City since the first film completely blew me away with its stylish violence. The 10th anniversary edition looks suitably impressive. Ghost World is one of those titles I’ve heard a lot about but not paid much attention to (I’ve not even seen the film!) and it’s near the top of my ‘to read’ list, as is Blankets, often cited as a must-read graphic novel.

sin city ghost world and blankets covers

Going back to ass-kicking women, there are two more titles I want to mention – and get your feedback on if you’ve already ready them. When we went to a comic book art exhibition last year, I noticed the graphic novel adaptations of The Millennium Trilogy. I really liked the novels (as much as you can like something that dark and twisted!) but I’m not sure how well it would translate to a graphic novel – especially when the material is so shocking. Another is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I’m intrigued that Joss Whedon continued the story after the umpteenth apocalypse in comic book form but do I want to carry on with that story and those characters? Especially when I know what became of Spike in Angel (ish – I wasn’t as dedicated to that show). I read a couple of blurbs on the back of a couple of editions in Forbidden Planet earlier in the year (Xander and Dawn?!) and want to hear from die-hard fans if it was worth your time. Similarly with the Firefly/Serenity comic book follow up.

the millennium trilogy and buffy the vampire slayer

If you love book art, whether it’s the clothbound Penguin classics, coffee table books or comic book art, you’ll want to take a look at some of these bad boys:
Marvel Comics: 75 years of cover art, £27.26
Faber and Faber, 80 years of book cover design, £25.00
Penguin by Design: A cover story 1935-2005, £18.80
Puffin by Design: 70 years of imagination 1940-2010, £16.00
By Its Cover: Modern American book cover design, £19.99
Postcards From Penguin: 100 book jackets in one box, £10.34
Best of Cover Design: Books, magazines, catalogues and more, £30.00

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