After my last weekend coverage, I wanted to grab a title from the mainstream that we all know and love. While there’s a special place in my heart for Love and Rockets, it doesn’t even approach the popularity of a big 2 book. That said, covers the big 2 comics have have a tendency to either be a pose, or, in a classic sense, a window into the story, as if it’s another panel. To me, the iconic covers are the ones you constantly see homaged, and few have been homaged as frequently as 1987’s Justice League #1.
With DCs line in a state of change following the events of Crisis. The big three were off having their own adventures. Due to that, the Justice League took a new look, only having Batman as a member in terms of the trinity, and a not too major one at that. This cover gives the impression that this group will be mean and tough, with Guy leading the charge in his usual state. However, when actually reading the book, we are slammed with the Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire humor. There were no DC books on the stands like it, and we never really saw one like that again.
To get into the cover itself, the one aspect that immediately stood out to me was the perspective Kevin Maguire takes. We are looking down at them, as if on the ceiling in the corner, with the group getting ready to either attack you or just yell at you. The position of the characters, going in a 3-4-3 layout (almost a soccer reference!), works to draw you into the windows. Where you’d expect dead air, you get another character headshot looking at you. It’s a very magnetic approach, and a perfect way for a cover to gain eyes when on the stands. Also, nothing gets me quite like text on the cover. It’s a window into the book, and a really interesting way to pass on character traits, or interesting story points without giving a spoilers. In the 70’s, this was common, today, not so much.
For years, there’s been a sense of this “other” thought in DC continuity. While legacy is strong like the usual stuff, there are these quirky titles with cult followings, almost Rocky Horror like. To me, Justice League is one of those books. Whenever they try to relaunch the idea, people come out of the woodwork to pick up that first issue, but the magic that trio had in the late 80’s seems to not be recreatable. This cover, however, remains as it’s lasting legacy, with the one punch panel. The”Bwah ha ha” era of the Justice League embodied by one image, which, ironically, does little to comment on the actual content other than the characters.