Covers -- Pros and Cons
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I mentioned recently I prefer the value of splashes over covers. And the missus traded one of her covers for a splash recently. So I thought it'd be nice to hear others weigh in on the pros and cons of collecting covers. I know some folks ONLY collect covers so I'd particularly like to hear from them.

Off the top of my head...

PROS

  • They hold value well. They're in demand/liquid upon resale. There is only one per book.
  • They often have a single iconic image of a fav character with...
  • a logo declaring said character easily seen from across the room...
  • lending great "wall-ability". They frame up nicely!
  • They tickle nostalgia somewhat better than pages... Again, likely because there is only per book.

CONS

  • They are orders of magnitude more expensive than aesthetically-comparable splashes.
  • They are sometimes mediocre examples of the artist's work, and yet still over-valued because of the "cover bump".
  • Because of the logos, paste-ups, corrections, overlays, tape, markup, etc., they are in greater need of conservation/ restoration and more expensive to do so.
  • They are at greater risk to be modified.
  • They are at greater risk to be forged.
  • At larger sizes, they can be a tiny bit more difficult to store. (Although I think this is often made more of a big deal than it really is. Lots of storage options out there. And bigger is better, right?!)
  • Modern covers may not even include the aforementioned logos. And even more recent modern covers don't even have the digital backgrounds added later.

Thoughts? Examples? As always, this is so subjective! :martini:

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some additional PROS

  • The artist is often superior to the regular interior artist (in hobby esteem if not in actually as well).
  • The single image most often associated with any given issue. Back in the day: from the spinner or wall rack; Today: online marketing, review/nostalgia blogs/etc.

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Cons Modern Covers:

Many are nothing more than pinups of single or multiple characters

Lack of background or minimal background

No logo corner box artwork or other word balloons or other text found on published cover

Have no connection to the story published inside, older covers would give a sneak peek of what's inside the comic book.

Covers are used by publishers to sell the comic book not the story inside. Too many times popular artists are hired to draw the cover but interiors are done by lesser known artists paid at a cheaper rate.

 

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My ratio of covers to everything else is pretty lopsided (can count my covers on one hand).  That said, I'm mesmerized by the right covers.

 

Pros:

The cover image typically is imbued with some great meaning/significance. Unlike the majority of interiors.

The level of detail due to the larger dimensions in general can only be matched by top DPS examples, and is rarely exceeded.

Scarcity (not just elevated price) lends a certain aura to covers.  Only 1 vs. 30+ interior pages per issue.

Gimmicky or not, title logos and corner boxes etc. bring the OA closest to the comics we'd find on the stands.  They're usually fun and can enhance powerful covers with added nostalgia.

 

 

Edited by exitmusicblue

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There is a bit of an anomaly with this subject. Covers are a bit like fine art in the sense that what you see is what you get. If you look at a Rembrandt, for example, the only story it tells is the one staring you in the face. You might think about the subject, it’s past or it’s future, but it is what it is.

Internal pages are designed to tell a continuing story (except for those 1 page stories of old). What you see is not what you get, because there is more to the subject than the 1 page. The artist is confined by the story, and he/she is entrusted with moving it along.

Now, think of how we usually value art: we love our splash pages— even though they rarely move the story along very much as compared to highlighting an aspect of it. That is more of what covers do. Yet, how rare is it for anyone to refer to a page and comment how well the artist moves the story? Most buyers of art don’t care much about the story. 

So, while the topic is a fair one, it highlights how the market, us, is not evaluating pages very well because they are fundamentally different.

 

 

Edited by Rick2you2

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To turn the argument around here are some PROS of splashes:

- As interior, they can have more refined inks, with more nuances that normally are not included in covers

- Some splashes that are not title splashes can actually have a larger image.  To examples below.

- Comparing similar relative quality (ie A cover vs A splash), splashes typically would be 1/3 the price of a cover

- Almost as rare, as there are 1-2 splashes per issue

CONS

- Have great variance in quality

- They don't have the PROS of the covers...

1977%20JByrne%20Iron%20Fist%20splash%202.jpg

PSmith%20XM%20splash.jpg

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7 hours ago, Rick2you2 said:

There is a bit of an anomaly with this subject. Covers are a bit like fine art in the sense that what you see is what you get. If you look at a Rembrandt, for example, the only story it tells is the one staring you in the face. You might think about the subject, it’s past or it’s future, but it is what it is.

Internal pages are designed to tell a continuing story (except for those 1 page stories of old). What you see is not what you get, because there is more to the subject than the 1 page. The artist is confined by the story, and he/she is entrusted with moving it along.

Now, think of how we usually value art: we love our splash pages— even though they rarely move the story along very much as compared to highlighting an aspect of it. That is more of what covers do. Yet, how rare is it for anyone to refer to a page and comment how well the artist moves the story? Most buyers of art don’t care much about the story. 

So, while the topic is a fair one, it highlights how the market, us, is not evaluating pages very well because they are fundamentally different.

 

 

This above all is true.   The prices for original art feel inflated but every now and then I see pieces which seem like huge bargains simply because a lot of people still value things as if the aesthetics mean very little compared to a set of accepted metrics.   Many times I've seen pieces I considered a bargain priced exactly the same as others deemed similar because of the metrics (and thought to myself "I can't believe this one is valued no more than the others")   But just as often I've seen pieces priced beyond the moon which fall far short artistically, culturally and aesthetically but they tick a number of metric boxes, so bidding is frantic.

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17 hours ago, vodou said:

some additional PROS

  • The artist is often superior to the regular interior artist (in hobby esteem if not in actually as well).
  • The single image most often associated with any given issue. Back in the day: from the spinner or wall rack; Today: online marketing, review/nostalgia blogs/etc.

+ 1 that was the first thing I thought of. A great cover artist on the book and the interiors done by a presumably lesser talent.

 

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17 hours ago, cstojano said:

CONS: They are prone to being subjected to artist's or actor's signatures in bold and conspicuous locations.

 🖍 🖍 😭🖍 🖍 

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CONS: I want more of them but would rather they were cheaper :smile:

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This is simple for me as I really only collect panel pages.....comics are a sequential art form...when I get a great interior page not only am I getting a) an actual piece of the story/of history vs the cover which is just representative (and not always even accurate) and not part of the actual story, but I am also getting b) waaaaay more bang for your buck in terms of multiple images/perspectives and you see the flow from one panel to next. This, to me, is the magic of the medium, and is what sucked me in all those years ago and still does today. A cover, while memorable and impactful and sometimes iconic, are simply a snapshot representation of the story. And when you strip away all of the text, headers, comics code stuff, logos, etc. you are often left with an image that would take up 1/4 of an interior panel page - no contest for me....thankfully for my wallet lol.

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29 minutes ago, Lago32 said:

This is simple for me as I really only collect panel pages.....comics are a sequential art form...when I get a great interior page not only am I getting a) an actual piece of the story/of history vs the cover which is just representative (and not always even accurate) and not part of the actual story, but I am also getting b) waaaaay more bang for your buck in terms of multiple images/perspectives and you see the flow from one panel to next. This, to me, is the magic of the medium, and is what sucked me in all those years ago and still does today. A cover, while memorable and impactful and sometimes iconic, are simply a snapshot representation of the story. And when you strip away all of the text, headers, comics code stuff, logos, etc. you are often left with an image that would take up 1/4 of an interior panel page - no contest for me....thankfully for my wallet lol.

The cover nostalgia intensity is quite a phenomenon.  Witness the slabbing which entombs books likely forever, which books might otherwise have been read by curious collectors.

I like my old coverless golden age books which I can re-read without fear of grade reduction.

That said, my OA covers do stand out within my collection by perceived market value, so they command respect from me.

Interesting topic, David

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A good cover design is supposed to be intriguing, encapsulating the story that awaits the reader in an image that compels you to want to buy the book.  Something that comic-books were once good at doing but along the way they've lost the gist of.  During those infrequent times I actually set foot in a comic-book store, nowadays, I look around at the display of titles.  Few, if any, of the modern titles catches my eye with a hint of a clever design.  I'm seldom intrigued enough by what I see on the basis of the cover images to want to shell-out any money to buy anything.  A strong visual hook is needed and, for the most part, I'm not seeing any.

 

Edited by The Voord

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Another pro for covers is that they often feature the 1st appearance of a character and/or team, again lending to the gap in value over splashes.  Additionally, I feel that covers are able to capture the essence or general theme of the interiors in one dynamic image, and that image is what I most remember with a specific comic...its what drives the nostalgia - based collecting bug in me, and causes me to pay far more than I ever would for a splash page.

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14 minutes ago, jjonahjameson11 said:

Another pro for covers is that they often feature the 1st appearance of a character and/or team, again lending to the gap in value over splashes.  Additionally, I feel that covers are able to capture the essence or general theme of the interiors in one dynamic image, and that image is what I most remember with a specific comic...its what drives the nostalgia - based collecting bug in me, and causes me to pay far more than I ever would for a splash page.

Well, if it's a 'first appearance' surely they can't "too often" (as you say) do that type of thing?  First appearances and regular appearances, to me, are miles apart.  If it's a 'first appearance', it's a one-off.  (shrug)

Edited by The Voord

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1 hour ago, The Voord said:

A good cover design is supposed to be intriguing, encapsulating the story that awaits the reader in an image that compels you to want to buy the book.  Something that comic-books were once good at doing but along the way they've lost the gist of.  During those infrequent times I actually set foot in a comic-book store, nowadays, I look around at the display of titles.  Few, if any, of the modern titles catches my eye with a hint of a clever design.  I'm seldom intrigued enough by what I see on the basis of the cover images to want to shell-out any money to buy anything.  A strong visual hook is needed and, for the most part, I'm not seeing any.

 

Absolutely right 

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10 hours ago, The Voord said:

Well, if it's a 'first appearance' surely they can't "too often" (as you say) do that type of thing?  First appearances and regular appearances, to me, are miles apart.  If it's a 'first appearance', it's a one-off.  (shrug)

First appearances happen often in an on-going series.  It may not be the first appearance of the title character, but it can be the 1st appearance of another hero, a villain, an anti-hero, etc.

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There are relatively few iconic splashes... but there are so many iconic covers.

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