The Retro Cover Of The Week is a red and green battle of wills: 2004's Rose & Thorn #1 by AH!

Updated: Jun 30, 2020

Rose and Thorn #1, 2004, DC Comics, Cover by Adam Hughes.

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.

In this decade, Adam Hughes cemented his status as Cover Guy for the Women of DC. Among his cover runs was a 6-issue miniseries for Rose and Thorn, a schizophrenic hero that had been around since her/their first appearance in Flash Comics #89 in 1947, and a revival in the 1970s. Rose and Thorn were an adaptation of literature's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which also inspired The Incredible Hulk.

Hughes began the series with two covers that both brilliantly, visually captured the inner battle and dichotomy of the character: the peaceful Rose always struggling to keep the violent Thorn from emerging. Then, Hughes switched away from this approach for a few issues, before revisiting it with issue #6. If only Hughes could have come up with three other visuals, he would have had a complete, fascinating run of psychological studies.

My favorite “schizo cover” was the first, for several reasons. Rose is depicted going out of her mind, losing control to Thorn, her face frozen in a horrific scream. Captured in the shadow areas of Rose’s portrait and hair is Thorn, literally pushing and pounding on the edges of Rose’s head to get out.

Even colors are used to portray the duality of the character. Rose’s face is red, while Thorn is in shades of green. Hughes draws Rose’s hair as a Medusa-like tangle of thorns, contrasting metaphorically against a rose-red background.

A very appropriate color scheme for this Christmas season POP Retro Cover Of The Week!

Next week: Back to the 1970s!

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