Retroactive: TMNT 1990 & Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 2003


My Favourite Covers


Okay, so our journey through the past is complete for this week but which covers reign supreme?

For TMNT, the crown goes to: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #28.

A simply amazing cover that despite the fact that it doesn’t feature any of the Ninja Turtles (the only cover this year with this distinction) still manages to impress. Front and centre we have a beautiful woman, calmly turning her head as if she is breaking the confines of the cover itself and trying to acknowledge us. Behind her is a drop-dead gorgeous and picturesque shot of the sun setting, the warm orange rippling over the water’s surface, intermingling with the blackness that is the coming night. While this may be cause enough for awarding the prize to this image, it is a Turtles cover after all so we know there is going to be some sort of mutant agenda. Sure enough we look back at that woman and notice that she is changing, her silky peach skin giving way to an aquatic green, gills and scales slowly overcoming her. Combined with the fact that the sun is setting, we can’t help but come to the conclusion that she is some form of were-sea creature. But is she friend or foe? Who is she? What is her story? We are intrigued by the stunning visuals and are compelled to learn more about her. The only way to do just that? Go out and buy the issue for ourselves. Now that is what I call a job well done!


  For Hellboy and the B.P.R.D., the title goes to: Hellboy: Weird Tales #2.

This was an extremely difficult year for me. Each cover had their own merits, each one delivering a visual feast for the eyes. In the end this cover stood out to me as the very best due to its excellent use of shadows and lighting. In the foreground we have Liz Sherman and Kate Corrigan investigating a spooky mansion. Liz casually lights a candle showing a great comfort and skill while wielding her sometimes uncontrollable powers. Fear is non-existent with her while on the other hand Kate appears to be overwhelmed with the permeating tension, holding her cross up high and her gun primed and at the ready. Having their backs and pictured in the background is Hellboy himself, a stern look on his face, his giant gun raised in the air ready to blow a hole into any supernatural threat he encounters. For those that know nothing about the character, the uninitiated could be led to belief that Hellboy is a frightening monster approaching our heroines from behind but for the rest of us we know the truth but still marvel at his excellent depiction. Once again, I can’t stress enough the way the light from Liz’s finger and candle illuminates the characters and cuts through the black to create something truly sensational. The cover’s moody and haunting tone is done to perfection and should act as a template for future artists to come.


So that’s it for this week. Agree/Disagree? Which covers are your personal favourites from this week? Comment below!

5 thoughts on “Retroactive: TMNT 1990 & Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 2003

  1. When I saw TMNT # 30, I instantly thought it would have won the gold medal: raging faces, smashed cars flying all over, an ugly mug holding a chain… this cover shows many typical details of the action packed comics I love so much, so it would have won the gold medal hands down in any other year.
    This time it doesn’t, because there’s an even more awesome cover: TMNT # 34. Even in this case we have a classic action packed image, with a muscular villain wearing a Rambo – like outfit and holding a giant gun in his hands. Add some flames and some broken bricks, and here you have a cover that screams GOLD MEDAL in my face.
    I also really appreciate the artistic choice of incorporating the title by putting the letters upon the broken bricks.
    Bronze medal for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures Vol. 2: Summer 1990. We know that Eastman and Laird are Daredevil fans, and they decided to prove it with this delightful tribute to Daredevil # 227.
    By the way, Daredevil # 227 is a very important issue, because it’s the first part of one of the most beautiful Daredevil story arcs ever (Born Again).
    The other gold medal goes to Hellboy: Weird Tales #5.
    First of all, it’s a watercolour: this means that the cover artist spent a lot of time to create it, so the efforts he made to give us this image deserve the gold medal alone.
    Secondly, the sultry facial expression of the lady reveal that she’s a femme fatale: I love this kind of character, so a cover foreshadowing the presence of a femme fatale will always get a medal from me.
    Thirdly, the background is simply amazing.
    I also wonder why the cover artist used a pale tone of red for the car, and an intense tone of red for Hellboy and the dress worn by the femme fatale.
    I also can’t figure what could that bleeding heart mean. Maybe that femme fatale will break Hellboy’s heart in this issue?
    Silver medal for Hellboy: Weird Tales #1, because the lighting is exceptional. I also appreciate Hellboy’s heroic pose, the guns held by the characters behind him and the smoke all around them.

    • You know, some weeks I can almost tell with great certainty beforehand which cover will be your #1 selection. Other times I can only narrow it down to a possible two or three. This week I instantaneously knew your picks for both titles and was pleased to see that I was right on the money.

      TMNT #34 was a given and it also manages to take 2nd place for me. The title being a part of the scene is an especially amazing highlight on a cover that is just overall awesome. The bronze medal goes to TMNT #32. I’m a big fan of the Egyptian theme utilized and the way the scene is playing out.

      Weird Tales #5 was another given that I knew would hit all the wwayne bullet points. It had some stiff competition for my list though and only managed to snag 5th. For me my rankings would be #2 (Weird Tales #1 for the reasons you provided), #3 (Night Train #1 for the excellent use of smoke, composition, and creepy skull), and #4 (Soul of Venice #1 for use of colouring, shadows, and overall scene structure). I have to admit that this was the most difficult years ever for the Hellboy Retroactives so far.

      Thanks, as always, for sharing your selections and providing your analysis.

  2. TMNT #31 is a nice wrap around, like the woodland setting as well, and the green edges to the cover, very dark and moody image. Hellboy: Weird Tales #1 is a great cover featuring Hellboy and the gang, a classic pose!

    • Weird Tales #1 is stunning. It captures your #1 prize while for wwayne and I it takes 2nd. If we took all our various Rankings that actually makes it the overall winner! 🙂

      Thanks for providing your picks. It is always appreciated.

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