Anatomy of a Funny Book Cover

Originally, I wanted to show each of you what I consider to be the boldest comic book cover of all time: a Star Wars comic that depicts Lando (a stunning likeness of Billy Dee Williams) getting double-fist punched right in the kisser by his own servant, Lobot; truly a thing of beauty.

I couldn’t find it, so you’ll have to live with the description for now. However, in my diggings I started thinking, as I’m wont to do when confronted with a stack of funny books, about what makes a comic cover so exciting. Most importantly, why are they not exciting anymore!? The answer is simple, so I won’t take up much of your time. First, bookmark this and then leave your job or whatever it is you do and take a stroll to the comic book shoppe.

For this next section I will assume you are browsing via a mobile device or, more likely, that you lied and did not leave at all.

Fig 1.1*

Now look at the covers on the “new issues” rack. No, you are not at a museum! Yet, despite your location, you find yourself surrounded by confusing pieces of paper. These are comic book covers, but they do not tell you what to expect inside the comic! Hey, look over at that one on the second shelf; it appears to be a Western adventure comic. But where are the cowboys and word bubbles exclaiming distress over an Indian threat? Instead, there is just a fancy painting of a cowboy hat!

You have been fooled.

It’s probably not about cowboys at all. Who knows? Below, I have scanned and posted two examples of comics that really let you know what to expect. The Star Wars cover is especially well done. I’ll close with these images, which you can click to enlarge, and announce that you may expect some similarly titillating Slamm Dunk covers soon!



* Fig 1.1 – What the heck is going on here?

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