Adam Hughes – Foreword
Mike Essl, Seth Labenz, and Roy Rub – Jacket Design
Chartwell Books, an imprint of Quarto Publishing
$24.99 or less on Amazon/ 209 pages
The new volume of DC Comics Cover Girls released by its new Chartwell Books publisher is really quite a beautiful, nicely designed book featuring 250 images on heavy stock matte paper. An eye catching Adam Hughes cover illustration for Wonder Woman #184 graces both the dust jacket and the book’s hardcovers. The high end quality reproductions range in sizes from full page borderless to 6 1/4 x 10 to 3 1.2 x 5 to 3 x 5 with a few at a little over 2 x 3 1/2. Many of the images are familiar to me while others had been forgotten and ones from the Golden Age and Silver Age that I’d not seen before. More Fun Comics #3 from 1935 is not only the first comic to feature all new material instead of repackaged newspaper strips, but it’s also the first DC comic to feature a woman on the cover. Weighing in at 3.4 pounds gives the book a substantial presence that will command attention on your coffee table or bookshelf. End papers feature the Silver Age Batwoman and modern Wonder Woman captured in a retro look reminiscint of the old color printing method. Chartwell wisely chose to use a sewn binding for this hefty book which allows for the book to lay nicely flat when opened on a table.
Writer Louise Simonson smartly divides the book into ample chapters focusing on major characters Wonder Woman, Lois Lane, and Supergirl while combining Batgirl, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Stephanie Brown, and Cassandra Cain in a “Gotham Girls” section as well as one concentrating on cover women from Vertigo and other DC imprints, and rounding the book out with “New Generation” with lesser known (to the general public) still beloved characters such as Zatanna, Raven, Hawkgirl, and Black Canary. Simonson conquered the unenviable task of tackling confusing decades old continuity and turning it into clear streamlined histories with appeal.
This book was released on October 1st and it was a lack of time which prevented writing a review earlier. I found myself looking through it a number of times and picking it up just to turn it around in my hands and feel its size. The design aspects and physical attributes of this book are top notch and I regret that there may be a caveat for some potential readers. The reason for that lies with the fact this is a new printing of the 2007 book rather than being an updated edition for 2016. By which I mean that all of Simonson’s writing as well as reproductions don’t include any developments or material after 2007. For many readers this mercifully means the often maligned Nu52 is excluded. On the surface that probably seems for some readers like a pro rather than a con except this means significant swaths of appearances for characters, for example Batwoman, Poison Ivy, Harley, Renee Montoya, and Catwoman are exempted. The amount of coverage for Montoya and the modern version of Batwoman in this book is trivial and, let me be clear, I do not attribute this to homophobia, but rather keeping a strict focus on the book’s purview of cover girls as applied to time frame of the book in relation to the characters. This may be a book to add to your library if you’re looking for an art book, a more recent comic nerd, or you want to introduce a friend, relative, or spouse to the rich history of DC’s powerful and complicated female heroes.
DC Comics Cover Girls is available for purchase on Amazon if you can’t find it at your local book store.
Below is a video highlighting the 2007 edition which appears to be nearly identical to the 2016 edition.