I don’t know if this is a common thing. I have a couple friends that run into this scenario all the time, so I gotta imagine it’s relatively common, but who knows. One of my favorite things about comic books is the power of the impulse buy, more specifically the COVER impulse buy.
It’s pretty self-explanatory… you see a cover, and based purely on the cover – you buy it. It’s honestly (as far as I’m concerned) one of the most pure forms of the comic book medium there is. If you’re one of those few that thinks imagery has nothing to do with comic books, well, this is it. I’ve literally bought variant covers to books I’ve never read purely because the image was cool. Who wouldn’t? One of my recent purchases was this:
I haven’t read a new Deadpool comic in a long time (ignoring Spider-Man/Deadpool, but that’s been cancelled for a bit anyway), and yet look… Marvel squeezed a purchase out of me on a practically unrelated image. They did an X-Men cover similar to this that I also love – the whole retro magazine cover is quite effective, plus my wife LOVES Scarlet Witch and Vision so how could I not grab this one?
Then there’s this one:
I picked this one up early on when I was finally getting serious about comic book collecting (TL;DR of TL;DR… comic purchases were limited to antique stores and Chapters/Indigo for most of my life until the start of this decade). I literally had NO IDEA was Siege was all about. I was treading in the infancy of my recurrent comic reading, and as a Spidey fan this cover really struck me.
I found out that (at the time) Mac Gargan was Venom and that there was all this crazy Asgardian stuff going on in the Marvel universe. This cover doesn’t REALLY suggest much of those finer details, but it’s a damn cool image of Spidey and Venom (and I’m pretty sure it’s a collage cover that matches up with several others, too), so that’s why I grabbed it at the time.
It’s those things that make comic books so damn cool. We all know that it’s a marriage of word and image, and most of the time it’s the word that carries the story (obviously), but there’s plenty of times that are also immensely supported by the image, and it’s never better represented than by impulse covers.
Going back to Doomsday Clock #12, this is a “mini”-series that I dropped after the first few issues, not because it was bad, but because the release was far and few in between and I lost patience with it. However, when I saw this very simple but very Watchmen/DC cover, I had to have it. Maybe it’ll be worth something someday, but honestly it’s just so damn crisp and impactful, and as a fan of Watchmen… I mean, I can’t really explain it, but without even opening the book I think most like-minded people will understand the desire to just HAVE this book. It’s literally Superman meets Watchmen.
The point is is that comics are an art form in every visual and verbal sense, and it’s these covers that prove it. You could give two $#!^$ about the actual story that unfolds within, because at the end of the day the fate of most comic books is that they’re just another cover that gets flipped through within the bulk of a long box, whether by an adventurous buyer or nostalgic collector. What remains with most of either party is the cover. The cover will sometimes remind us of the further story, but it’s the cover that instantly makes us remember what we love and why we love it, such as something as simple as an image of Spidey clashing with Venom, or two love birds looking sexy as hell.
In some ways the cover is far more important than the pages within. I’ve read many comics in my few years, but I remember some covers much more than their accompanying stories.
…I think there’s a point to all this, it might be generic but I honestly can’t place it…
TL;DR Score: … It’s ‘don’t judge a book by its cover.’ … DON’T JUDGE A BOOK BY IT’S COVER…. no wait I MEAN-