This cover appreciation post was inspired by a comment on Tom Brevoort’s Blog post about “(Not So) Great Covers: FANTASTIC FOUR #81 (and MARVEL’S GREATEST COMICS #63)”. The comment was made by David Plunkert who brought up this cover in his comment about Tom’s post.
X-Men #17, published by Marvel Comics in 1965, isn’t a significant issue in the X-Men series. It deals with the aftermath of the previous issue’s battle with Master Mold. They would have been defeated if not for the heel-turn of the Sentinel’s creator, Dr. Trask.
The red monochrome cover adds an extra layer of pop to that menacing “…AND NONE SHALL SURVIVE!” title. The cover both raises your expectations and the stakes for what you expect to be met with inside the book. There are pages packed with the team recovering from the last issue’s events, and a mysterious force taking down the X-men in their own headquarters. The final page is the payoff for reading this issue.
Perhaps if Jack had done more than just the layouts, the issue may have had a bit more depth, but Jay Gavin and Dick Ayers put the work in. I’m not going to downplay their work. I will say that I am not a fan of artist not being able to be themselves and having to ape another’s style. It’s off-putting. Fortunately, the cover is all Jack, and I am still here for it.
Here is another example of the phenomenon that we looked at last time: a perfectly fine cover image by Jack Kirby that has been deliberately colored in such a way as to render it unattractive and u…