The Retro Cover Of The Week is a dynamic recruitment poster (Where do I sign up?) Nova #22 from 2009

Nova, Vol. 4, #22, 2009, Marvel Comics, Cover by Juan Doe.

The POP Retro Cover Of The Week continues its examination and celebration of iconic comic covers from the 1970s through the 2000s, this week returning to the Aughts. when there was a resurgence of Marvel’s cosmic mythology and heroes, including one created in the mid-1970s, Richard Rider of the Nova Corps.

The Nova Corps was the Marvel’s version of DC’s Green Lantern Corps, intergalactic cops with special abilities. Originally billed on cover #1 of his own comic as “The Human Rocket,” Nova has often been portrayed as such. Few covers have had as much of an impact as Juan Doe’s design for Nova Vol. 4, #22 in 2009.

Doe has a rep for very illustrative, often symmetrical, dynamic cover designs, that have a look of old Soviet or Nazi Germany propaganda posters. This cover is a prime example of how propaganda posters affect the viewer on a subconscious level. This cover acts as a recruiting poster for the Nova Corps, and uses lots of warm colors to fire up the emotions, the symmetry gives a feeling of order, the radiating lines and diagonals from the center of the image draw the viewer into the cover, and the headline in perspective is an irresistible and inspirational call-to-action.

Doe’s attention to detail is impressive; close examination reveals lots of textures, feathering, and radiating lines that could be lost at first glance. Even his signature in the lower left has a mirror-image, symmetrical twin on the lower right.

My only complaints are that Doe’s technique feels at odds visually with the series comic title, which is rendered in a 3D, metallic effect, and in a color that clashes a bit too much with Doe’s illustration. That, and that damned large and ugly UPC code box that intrudes on every cover it appears on. They were forced to use it at the top of the cover, to avoid obscuring part of the “poster” headline at the bottom, making the top third of the cover even more cluttered.

Next week: Back to the 1970s!

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