Has legendary artist Jim Steranko ever produced a bad comic book cover? The answer is an emphatic no. Steranko may not have drawn the sheer volume of comic books and covers that other legends such as Jack Kirby, John Buscema, Steve Ditko, or Gil Kane had, but what he did do was uniformly innovative, graphically striking, and downright incredible.
I was tempted to post the first seven issues of Marvel Comics’ Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. which began hitting the newsstands in 1968. Each is a fine display of the exciting and new art Steranko brought to the world of comic books. His work truly exemplified the aesthetic of pop art. The artists that followed on that series attempted to keep the Steranko look for the covers, but they couldn’t quite pull it off.
I decided to go with issue #4 (September 1968) for this month’s great cover example. The heavy use of black and white is what made me single this one out. However, I may just have to profile one or two of the other of his covers for this series in future great cover write-ups.
Steranko’s use of the trippy, psychedelic, wavy lines and circles became a signature of the S.H.I.E.L.D. series. This cover appears to wobble and spin. It’s hypnotic. And tell me he didn’t actually draw out all those patterns. If he did. YIKES!
He did the pencils, inks, coloring, and lettering. He may not have been prolific, but he was thorough. His figuring drawing shows the influence of Jack Kirby, but in those days which artist’s didn’t? It is also similar to the early work of Barry Windsor-Smith, who would make his own attempt to capture the Steranko feel on issue #12. It didn’t quite nail it.
No doubt about it – Jim Steranko rocked!
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Warehouse Find is the official blog of NostalgiaZone.com, where you can find books, games, toys, cards, and a huge selection of Golden, Silver, Bronze, and Modern Age comic books. Jim also has a podcast called Dimland Radio. He’d love it if you checked it out. It’s available on iTunes.