Marvels #3 (1994), Cover art by Alex Ross, Marvel Comics
This time the POP Retro Cover Of The Week is from the mid-1990s, when fussy cross-hatching and questionable anatomy was the prevalent art style, and a new talented artist was still trying to make a name for himself in comics…Alex Ross.
Joe Jusko, Earl Norem, Bob Larkin and others had dazzled fans with painted covers for Marvel magazines for decades, and their work came as close as we had yet seen to depicting heroes as they might look in the real world. However, Alex Ross’ style was photorealistic to an extent never seen before in comics, and Marvels made him an instant superstar.
Marvels featured the advent of superheroes in New York City as seen through the eyes and lens of a Daily Bugle photojournalist, so it was extremely fitting that Ross’ work was so realistic.
The cover to issue number 3 was a standout, with a close-up of the Silver Surfer, beautifully and expertly illustrated in all his chrome-plated glory. Any illustrator will tell you that chrome is damned difficult to render because of all the reflections, but that’s exactly what made this cover so outstanding and epic. Reflected in the Surfer’s head and body were the New York City skyline, the curvature of the Earth’s horizon, and the fiery glow of the Human Torch approaching him. Even more amazing is how Ross treated the Surfer’s torso as symmetrical mirrors, so there are two Torches! I believe that's even a reflection of the Statue of Liberty in the Surfer's knee. Such phenomenal attention to detail.
It was the first of many iconic covers of Alex Ross’ career, and I have no doubt that another will be chosen as a POP Retro Cover Of The Week, or even a current cover, since Ross is still a very prolific cover artist today.
Next week: a cover from the 2000s!