Variant Coverage By Ryan Walsh For Comic Carnival
Two Thousand and Eighteen. That sure was a year, wasn’t it? While there’s plenty of new comics on sale this week, I got it in my head to take a moment and look back at some of the best covers this year. Either they’re just that good, or they were just that inspirational, and hopefully they’ll still be fun after aging just a bit.
•Rogue & Gambit 1 (Thompson/ Perez): For all the weirdness and controversy around so many of mainstream comics’ romances, this may be one of the most epically disastrous ones that didn’t involve a fridge. So it kinda warms my heart to see Gambit throwing an entire deck of explosive cards at Rogue, whose reaction is to smugly behave like he’s aiming somewhere else. Remy’s all “Notice me, cher!” and Marie’s cocking her head slightly, as if to explain that she can’t hear him, she had a hearing check-up, and with all her high-altitude flying lately she doesn’t register lower-bitch frequencies.
•Damage 1 (Venditti/ Daniel & Miki): “Yeah, take that, the ground! You thought you could trip me up when I was eight right in front of little Suzie MacIntyre with the pigtails. You thought you could get away with drinking all the soda that I’ve spilled on you over the years. Bet you never thought about how one day I’d come back, big and superstrong and looking for revenge! I won’t rest until your reign of terror is stopped, and you’ll never beat me! My only weakness is measured, appropriate responses to situations, and we both know there aren’t any of those around!”
•Clem Hetherington and the Ironwood Race (Breach/ Holgate): Why is it always the human that’s driving while the robot… wait, wow this is offensive. Check this out, the human thinks so little of their robot companion they won’t even let it ride shotgun. It’s got to ride in back like an infant. This little snowflake’s so mad he could melt right now! (CC Note: Ooorrr this is a remake of Driving Miss Daisy with a dash of Wacky Races, and the robot’s actually the higher-class one of the two?) I like that. I REALLY like that!
•Season of the Snake 1 (Lehman/ Michaud): When that thing sheds, will it qualify as a natural disaster? Are there insurance clauses and seasonal response teams set up to manage yards of dried and discarded serpent skin? Or maybe that’s what the city’s made out of, and the creature’s just slithered up its own used-up scales like a teenager sleeping on their laundry. That would go pretty far to explain why the snake’s looking up at the night sky so intently. “Have you ever looked at the ssssstarssss? I mean, REALLY looked at them?”
•This is a Taco HC (Cangelose/ Shipley): Oh you sweet, naive, succulent little rodent. Are you under the misconception that you can not be both? You REALLY think no one’s put squirrel meat into a corn shell and add assorted condiments? We made a grilled cheese with chocolate chip cookies! Humans’re crazy! You don’t even know what we won’t do!
•Savage Dragon 233 (Erik Larsen):
Rigorously lather/ That shaving cream/ and you shall realize/ your scaly dream. Savage Dragon.
A surface smoother/ than a sanded board/ will help you forget/ your dad’s Overlord. Savage Dragon.
Labor and lather/ while in the bath/ can save you both/ the dragon’s wrath. Savage Dragon.
If you’re multitasking/ and sharing a razor/ You’ll learn what it’s like/ to be shot by a taser. Savage Dragon.
•Puerto Rico Strong SC (Ayala/ Colon & Franquiz): You can say a lot about a people that’re still trying to restore basic infrastructure half a year after Mother Nature literally tore it apart, but by now they’ve pretty much proven they’re not weak. Any argument against this notion can be sent to the faces featured. (CC is not responsible for any physical harm incurred as a result of insulting storm survivors.)
•Animosity Evolution TP Vol 1 (Bennett/ Gapstur): The sign was posted clearly. It read in big red letters “Don’t Feed the Cyber Wolf”. It had a picture of a hand throwing meat into a cyber wolf’s mouth with a big circle and slash superimposed on it. And under that were seven signs that said the same thing but in different languages. The automated tour voice explains it every time something triggers its motion sensor. But there’s always that one jerk thinking it’d look so sick on social media if he takes a selfie while the cyber wolf eats cotton candy out of his hand, and now it’s twenty stories tall and threatening to blot out the moon. “How was I supposed to know?” my tide-causing butt!
•Immortal Hulk 1 (Ewing/ Bennett): And thus dies the hope that the release of death brings a person peace. “Hulk not like eternal slumber! Questions of existence without physical substance challenges Banner’s understanding of persistence of matter. Hulk should like puny Banner’s crisis of spirituality, but already Hulk reads online replies abducting subject to push atheist narrative. Why won’t puny trolls leave Hulk’s posts alone?!?”
•Farmhand 1 (Rob Guillory): Huh. So that’s how you grow palm trees.
•Vinegar Teeth 1 (Gentry/ Nixey): “Ma’am, this is the police! We’ve traced the call and it’s coming from inside this house!”
“But officer, I don’t have a phone!”
“And you don’t need one when it’s the call of Cthulhu!”
•TMNT Body Count HC (Eastman/ Bisley): Think to yourselves how weird birthdays are. It’s the only time when it’s socially acceptable to put something that’s on fire right in a person’s face. There are plenty of other holidays and special occasions, but I can’t think of any that allow to just hand someone active combustion. And yet they’re just so happy to be giving this away, it’s almost more harmful not to accept. How does that old saying go, “Keep your friends at minimum safe distance, and your enemies closer”?
•War Bears 1 of 3 (Atwood/ Steacy): Adolf Hitler mauled by bears. Adolf Hitler? Mauled by bears? Adolf Hitler mauled. By bears. By bears, Adolf Hitler is mauled. Goldy-fuhrer and the Three Maulings. [Exit Hitler, mauled by bears.] I keep spinning this around in my head, and no matter how I approach it, it works. It’s like Einstein’s theory of relativity describing the order of the cosmos in a matter anyone can understand, only with bear maulings.
•Journey Into Mystery – The Birth of Krakoa 1 (Hopeless/ Morissette-Phan): “Anyone got any bug spray? You just know the mosquitos in this forest’ll be the size of baseballs.”
“You attended the same briefing we did, right? How the forest is actually the tendrils of an unimaginable creature bent on consuming the entire planet?”
“It’s funny how I’m not afraid of something I don’t understand, and yet concerned about threats with plenty of history, like blood loss and malaria. Come on, who’s holding?”
•Dick Tracy 1 (Allred & Allred/ Tommaso): “My radio watch-! It’s trying to kill me! All these down votes from the crooks I’ve put away all these years, the relentless amount of data devoid of context or truth, the fact that it’s five pounds and after so many years my skeleton’s irreparably crooked! In hindsight… I always knew this would be how it ended.”
•Heroes in Crisis 1 of 7 (Kinn/ Mann): You think your intervention experience felt intimidating? There’s enough mental and physical power here to literally move the planet, and it’s united to confront some poor sap about leaving their costume laundry all over the place. How obnoxious do you have to be to bring together a coalition from various planets, species, and time streams?
•Cursed Comics Cavalcade 1 (Various): “Mom, Dad, let me go! You’re embarrassing me in front of the Justice League! I’m a grown man, Batman doesn’t need hugs!”
•Ogre 1 of 3 (Salley/ Daley): “Listen, I’m not just a ghost pestering people to occupy the rest of all time, I’m YOUR ghost pestering you for all time because I’m worried about you. I can tell you’re lonely, but hitting someone unconscious and carrying them back to your cave is not the way to fix that.”
“She’s not for me. I’ll be sacrificing her in an unholy ritual later.”
“Because I can tell your lonely, and ripping a soul from living flesh will fix that.”
“…*sniff* I forget how sweet you can be sometimes.”
•Adventures of the Super-Sons 4 of 12 (Tomasi/ Barberi & Thibert): Okay, this is cute. You’ve got a horrifying clawed monster from myth, a human-alien hybrid with enough power to destroy a city, and a little boy raised by serial killers and vigilantes. If they can hold off the fighting for 30 seconds to make introductions, they’ll realize they’re all nightmares walking the Earth and get a game of Smash Brothers going. The only thing that might get two young boys to run in horror like that is pizza farts.
•Atomic Empire HC (Smolderen/ Clerisse): “Hmmm, so if a rocket takes off from the surface with an average speed of 12,000 miles per hour, and a comet passes the moon on its way to the sun at 12,000 miles per second, how long will it take to find my keys?”
•Self Made 1 (Groom/ Ferigato): All those spare parts and she didn’t think to make herself a stepladder. And don’t even think to make excuses for her – that can’t be an intimidating project with so many helping hands around.
•Magic Order 5 of 6 (Millar/ Coipel): Don’t let the scene fool you, he’s fine. The guy’s just cleaning his ears, but he’s a wizard and magic doesn’t let you do anything without being super-dramatic. Magic’s that goth kid in the cafeteria of natural laws.
•Artifact One 3 (Krul & Hernandez/ Moranelli): Don’t you hate it when you’re stalking prey, you’ve snuck right behind them without a single trace, you’re about to pounce, and the soon-to-be-victim shouts something like “Hello, is anyone hunting me? ‘Cause honestly I’m sort of in the market for a relentless tracker with their own reasons for picking and killing a particular target!” Nothing brings you out of the moment like suddenly finding out they have no appreciation for the craft, they just want spoil it with money. The nerve of some people.
See you in 2019!
Looking for earlier blogs by Ryan Walsh for Comic Carnival? They’re here: Variant Coverage Blog Back Issues