Best cover EVER? – well, that’s really up for debate isn’t it?
And that’s the whole point of Best Cover EVER? the feature here on the FPI Blog. We ask various comics people what they think of as their fave cover ever and for the week it’s up on the blog it’s absolutely, definitively the very best cover there’s ever been. Until next week, when someone else suggests a best cover EVER. so, what’s it to be this week?
Today’s choice comes from Sandra and John, the duo who comprise Metaphrog, whose work we’ve been reporting on for many years. The pair are continual advocates of comics, creating comics (think the Louis series or the most recent Time To Shine graphic novel), promoting the medium through workshops, exhibitions and school/library work, and generally being pretty damn great at the whole comics thing. So, just what do they think is the best cover they’ve ever seen?
Black Hole, art by Charles Burns, design by Chip Kidd
Ultra-iconic and intriguing cover by the master of book cover design Chip Kidd. We first read bits of Black Hole when it came out as a serialised comic, and remember vividly reading an issue of it in The Netherlands. We were there touring the comic shops, to introduce them to our Strange Weather Lately graphic novel which we had just published, and a year later returned with Louis – Red Letter Day. So it must have been back in 1999 and 2000. We had a car boot full of books, and even got stopped by authorities on the motorway on our way back to France – with our red eyes from the exhaustion of touring and our unusual dress sense attracting suspicious looks in continental Europe – Sandra had a pierced nose and John just looked weird as shit half the time – the flying customs or douanes volantes, intercepted us with their sniffer dogs, only to find a car full of comics, books, sandwiches and vitamin pills. Anyway, on one of those trips, the great folk at the Lambiek comic shop had kindly let us stay for a night in a bedroom above their store in Amsterdam, and there were issues of Black Hole lying around on the coffee table, along with Chris Ware and Daniel Clowes’ stuff, as they had just been doing a signing tour there. Reading it gave us horripilation – a creeping fear. But it wasn’t until the graphic novel was published that we read the full story, and it didn’t disappoint. It’s an amazing read, really transporting, like a great 70s movie. The cover is perfect, hinting at the content of the book as if it was some kind of forbidden material, and reminiscent of the Jamie Reid Sex Pistols’ single cover, a clever marketing trick at a time when graphic novels had begun to be cool again. It’s been a few years since we’ve read the book now, but the story still lingers in our mind, and the cover is in part responsible for this.
Now, as a bonus… Charles Burns’ iconic imagery for the first 12 Black Hole comics….