Here they are – the 40 absolute best comic book covers of all time.
Please know up front that I made certain to look at and consider the cover of every comic book ever and if it’s not on this list then it’s bad, okay?
When narrowing down the expanse of the untold millions of funny books published, I was considering what was pleasing to the eye up close and from a distance, what covers made me stop dead in my tracks the first time I saw them and what covers glow in the dark. No glow in the dark covers are on this list. There’s just no way to enjoy them properly on the screen of your device, but please know they’re the only things that really matter to me. They are my children.
There are comics that are full of bullshit that I will own forever because I think the cover is too cool to toss. We’re talking comics that are almost impossible to read from front to back. If you’re curious, those particular comics will be marked with an asterisk next to their title.
Another question I had kept in mind while assembling this list was “What sort of portrait do these selections paint of your character Nate McDonough? Do you look like an insane person?” So that’s why we’re leading off with…
Fantastic Four #292, cover art: John Byrne
I remember seeing this comic for the first time when I was four and being totally overwhelmed with feelings of “HOW DOES THIS EXIST?” I’m not gonna spoil it for you, but you already know you’re gonna be disappointed either way right?
The Furry Trap, cover art: Josh Simmons
I love it when a single image speaks to what happened before and what’s gonna happen next.
Lobo #1, cover art: Simon Bisley
This is a pretty good cover. That teeny tiny drop of blood makes it an all time classic.
Marvel Comics Presents #92, cover art: Sam Kieth
Look at this crazy fucking thing! The man is brilliant!
Superman Batman #14, cover art: Jae Lee
I have no idea what is inside of this comic. Jae Lee started out REALLY good like 25 years ago and still is leveling up on the reg.
Cage #5, cover art: Richard Corben
I feel like Richard Corben sees things that no one else can.
Thor #337, cover art: Walt Simonson
Classic cover pick, but would you look at that crazy horse man thing? Did you know his name is Beta Ray Bill? This is how you do a comic book!
*Dazzler #28, cover art: Bill Sinkiewicz
Bill Sinkiewicz is the greatest cover artist of all time.
What If? #43, cover art: Bill Sinkiewicz
It should probably have the * up there but Conan always gets a pass.
Elektra Assassin #4, cover art: Bill Sinkiewicz
BILL SINKIEWICZ IS THE GREATEST COVER ARTIST OF ALL TIME. His album covers aren’t shabby either (check Bobby Digital. Take your time with it)
WE3 #3, cover art Frank Quitely
Simple idea, God level execution.
Jonah Hex Shadows West #2, cover art: Tim Truman
I love this one for the sheer level of “What the fuck is going on here?” (totally appropriate for the classic Jonah Hex stuff he did with Joe Lansdale back in the 90s) Tim Truman is an all time great.
Soldier X #2, cover art: Igor Kordey
This dude is super under rated, same with the comic. Kordey’s instincts are all razor sharp no matter how out there he’s getting with his concept.
The Gospel Blimp, cover art: Al Hartley
I didn’t just put this comic on the list because it’s weird as hell. I don’t even know where to start with all of that. I put it on the list cause Al Hartley is an elite cartoonist and his covers are sublime AND because it’s weird as hell.
Detective Comics #426, cover art: Michael Kaluta
I’m being a dick. MW Kaluta is a master of the craft and a genius at composing a cover. There are no doubt dozens if not hundreds more interesting than this one. Oh, especially like his The Witching Hour and King Conan covers, but c’mon y’know?
Legends of The Dark Knight #50, cover art: Brian Bolland
Another master. Why not an Animal Man cover? I couldn’t resist! I have no idea what is inside of this comic book.
Blackhawk #3, cover art: Howard Chaykin
Irresistible cover. One must read the comic.
Caper #4, cover art: Farel Dalrymple
The modern master. Dude has got crazy chops in all departments. Hard to pick just one of his, but covers don’t come more striking than this.
Punisher/FrankenCastle #21, cover art: Dan Brereton
Punisher is Frankenstein? Who gives a shit? I do when D-Brere is painting some monsters! Look at that dang thing!
Doom Patrol #40, cover art: Simon Bisley
I am a simple man and I enjoy simple things. Tell me what you see here. Tell me that it doesn’t constitute a classic.
The Demon #15, cover art: Jack Kirby (pencils), Mike Royer (ink)
There are a lot of great things going on in this cover, but did you notice how the cat really doesn’t look like a cat? Jack Kirby can draw a cat any damn way he wants and it’s still the best cat I’ve seen in my life. PERFECTION
Special Forces #3, cover art: Kyle Baker
Kyle Baker makes it look easy
Solo, cover art: Brendan McCarthy
Published by the same company that churns out fucking Green Lantern comics
*Superman #422, cover art: Brian Bolland
WHOA FUCK WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT?! WHAT? WHAT?! GET THAT OUTTA HERE! GODDAMN! *shudder*
(see also the cover to the Batman: Venom collection by Trevor von Eeden)
Swamp Thing #34, cover art: John Totleben
The Maximortal #1, cover art: Rick Veitch
This one made my eyeballs pop out of my head the first time I saw it.
Schizo #3, cover art: Ivan Brunetti
I remember seeing this for the first time when I was in high school and just straight up not getting it at all and feeling really ill at ease whenever I happened to look at it. Another success!
Shadowman #28, cover art: Bob Hall (pencils) Tom Ryder (ink)
He’s our only hope. He will save us all.
Stray Bullets #13, cover art: Dave Lapham
A sweet simple cover by the master of sweet simple covers.
Eightball #8, cover art: Dan Clowes
When you have to pick a single Eightball cover it’s hard but this is still the obvious one, right?
Gumby’s Winter Fun Special, cover art: Art Adams
Art Adams can draw anything.
Judge Dredd Crime Files #5, cover art: Brian Bolland
Smiles from ear to ear every time
Left Handed Sophie #1, cover art: Left Handed Sophie
Here is the holy grail of brilliant weirdo indie comix. That cover makes you want to read the comic in a hundred different ways.
Akira Book 4, cover art: Katsuhiro Otomo
Shadow Reavers #2, cover art: Glenn Fabry
I know. Every last one of those Preacher covers are wonderful, but at age 14, this was my favorite image in the entire world. This comic has some decent art that can not save the execrable story. I would have put an asterisk up there, but there’s some sort of contest to witness a werewolf autopsy in the back. FUCK YES
Brat Pack #1, cover art: Rick Veitch
I’ve been cringing at the sight of this every single time for about 20 years now.
Underwater #7, cover art: Chester Brown
Chester Brown has an amazingly diverse approach to making a cover that no one else has come close to.
Zero Zero #25, cover art: Thomas Ott
I think everyone in the game put their scratch-board down forever when Ott started chipping away at his.
Maxx #7, cover art: Sam Kieth
LOOK HOW TINY THEY ARE!
Tyrant #4, cover art: Steve Bissette
The most adorable thing I’ve ever seen.