Friday, October 22, 2010

The Top 17 Lobo Covers

The Top 20 17 Lobo Covers? With five years in his own solo series, countless mini-series, and tons of painted art, you might wonder why there is so much old line art on display here. The problem with Lobo material, especially covers, is that there's so much samey-samey to muddle through, I set most of it aside. Also, propping the list up with three interchangeable entries does no one much good, so I'll emulate the Main Man's pug-headed irreverence and go with what I've got...

17) L.E.G.I.O.N. '91 #31 (September, 1991)
The unexpected heat from the Lobo mini-series began to feed back into his primary team title, and this specific issue saw an additional sales boost as a crossover event tie-in. Most importantly, you have a striking cover pitting a harbinger of '90s hardcore anti-heroes against the epitome of DC's uncool grandpa heroes, Captain Marvel. It was a line drawn in the sand that DC happily crossed to collect dollars from new, often clueless readers' hands.

16) L.E.G.I.O.N. '89 #4 (May, 1989)
Lobo was created as a "straight" character in 1983, and despite returning to comics in the funny JLI, he wasn't so outrageous as to stray from his origins there. This variation on a famous National Lampoon cover is the true mission statement for the Lobo to come, functioning as a swaggering tough, but clearly an oaf meant to mock the character type.

15) Lobo #4 (February, 1991)
On the one hand, so much of this image is exaggerated to comedic effect. On the other hand, the humor is straight from the gallows, as there's a sickening element to the mass open air grave that recalls Holocaust imagery. I find Lobo works best when he touches a serious nerve, and is horrifying in his callousness. Less latter-day Freddy Krueger, more Nicholson in The Shining. Lobo should unnerve, not simply annoy.

14) Lobo #3 (January, 1991)
A great cover because it treads the fine line between a dynamic action image and a blatant parody of Bill Sienkiewicz's collaborations with Frank Miller.

13) Adventures of Superman #464 (March, 1990)
Another major Lobo landmark. It was one thing to hassle the JLI and be the resident tough guy in L.E.G.I.O.N. It was quite another to not only tug on Superman's cape, but to toss him about by it. The interiors retain the promise of the cover, with Lobo actually blackening the Man of Steel's eye with a knee to the face. Readers definitely took notice.

12) L.E.G.I.O.N. '91 #34 (December, 1991)
Maybe this is a subjective favorite, but when the issue hit the stands, it managed to simultaneously indulge the comedy of Lobo and still sell him to new readers as DC's answer to Wolverine.

11) Justice League International #18 (October, 1988)
What an effective reintroduction to Lobo this comic was! A striking design Kevin Maguire self-swiped the following month when Lobo turned Guy Gardner back into the jerk we all loved to hate in '88.

10) The Demon #14 (August, 1991)
Again, this was back when Alan Grant "got" it, playing Lobo and Etrigan off each other like a hyper-violent Tex Avery cartoon. Self-aware parody, rather than just self-parody.

9) Lobo #3 (February, 1994)
Love him or hate him, Lobo managed to weaponize his own logo, and that demands respect. Even better than Captain America taking his shield to Brother Blood.

8) Lobo #1 (December, 1993)
Pure attitude, taking the piss out of foil enhancements straight from the fly.

7) R.E.B.E.L.S. #20 (November, 2010)
I worked out most of this countdown in August, but held it back for a)Vile Menagerie month & b) this cover's release. Several of my countdowns are already out of date thanks to some fantastic recent cover images like this one, the first time Lobo has seemed really formidable and an essential presence in some time.

6) Legion of Super-Heroes #23 (October, 1991)
A grizzled old Lobo a millennium from now, still kicking ass and enjoying stogies. A rare understated image that works better than the usual gore and mayhem.

5) L.E.G.I.O.N. '89 #5 (June, 1989)
Building off of his JLI guest appearances, joining this Invasion! spin-off series gave Lobo the platform to segue into solo work. Vril Dox did okay for himself, as well. Mutually beneficial exploitation. Kind of a silly pose, though.

4) Lobo's Back #1 (May, 1992)
Besides the obvious titular joke, this final initial outing for both Keith Giffen and Simon Biseley seems to metatextually express contempt for the speculator market (the book had multiple covers stapled together) and readers who weren't hip to the satire and bought into Lobo.

3) The Lobo Paramilitary Christmas Special #1 (January, 1991)
The Ambush Bug Stocking Stuffer was the DC Comics gold standard for holiday-themed gallows humor, until this special came along to solidify Lobo's place in the comic culture zeitgeist. Nothing quite says "bad boy" like disemboweling Santa Claus on your cover, and there's even a cigarette-style advisory tag on this beast. Check out the short film adaptation, on the YouTubes.

2) The Omega Men #3 (June, 1983)
How many times did this cover show up in Wizard Magazine back in the day? I love how deeply uncool Lobo looks here, serving as a reminder to anyone inclined to take the 'Bo too seriously.

1) Lobo #1 (November, 1990)
So excessively tough and anti-heroic, how anyone could possibly fail to see the satire is beyond me. From the expression to the logo to the still-novel painted art to the ninety-nine cent price tag, everything about this is iconic. Also, it's much funnier if you have Green Day playing in your mind while looking at it. "Bite my lip and close my eyes. Take me away to paradise. I'm so damn bored I'm going blind. And I smell like..."

Honorable Mentions
Lobo #2 (1990)
Mister Miracle #13 (1989)
Wonder Woman #60
L.E.G.I.O.N. '91 #26
The Demon #12
Lobo's Back #2
Lobo: Blazing Chain of Love #1
Valor #4
L.E.G.I.O.N. Annual #3
L.E.G.I.O.N. '92 #47
Adventures of Superman Annual #4
Lobo: Portrait of a Victim #1
Lobo: Unamerican Gladiators #3
Superman: The Man of Steel #30
Lobo #2 (1994)
L.E.G.I.O.N.'94 #63
Aquaman #4 (1994)
Lobo Annual #3
Lobo: Bounty Hunting for Fun and Profit
Lobo #33
Lobo #54
Batman/Lobo (2000)
Lobo: Death and Taxes #4
52 #17
The Brave and the Bold #4 (2007)
Green Lantern #55 (2010)

More of Today's Cover Countdowns!


mathematicscore said...

I just read war of the gods, and that specific issue. I really like Lobo, but as a sparingly used parody character. Shoe horn him in to major cross-overs and I start to get a little...meh.

LissBirds said...

The "weaponized logo" idea is absolutely priceless. Kudos to the artist who came up with that!

Diabolu Frank said...

Val Semeiks, one of those guys I generally can't stand, unless he's got a strong inker.