The above image was one of the covers featured in the DC Solicitations this week. A few bloggers have already commented on it.
Suffice it to say they were not happy.
And who can blame them? This is kind of a crappy cover, Animal Man's appearance notwithstanding. Benes is not a good cover artist, and this cover isn't exactly making anyone forget Brian Bolland or JG Jones here. It's kind of crude and blocky in places.
But that's not the issue here. The issue is one Mari McCabe, aka Vixen.
Who happens to be, well, black.
Not that you'd know it by recent appearances on JLA covers, including this one.
Those of you who read this blog regularly (and yes, I'm looking at you, Sally P) know that I've railed against this "whitewashing" of Vixen in the past. This cover was a little harder to judge. Unlike Kalinara, I was thrown a bit by the red tint. After all, others have used red-tinted covers as a stylistic choice. I kept analyzing what type of red Mari's skin "should" be in relation to Animal Man's, as well as that of the other Leaguers, and drove myself nuts. Analyzing the art was also difficult, as the rendition of Vixen was rather crudely and lazily done. Look at her right eye. It appears that Benes was trying for a shadowy effect over the eye, but up close it looks like he drew four different size dash marks and stacked them one on top of the other in lieu of her eye. Sloppy.
In the end, though, I couldn't conclusively give this cover a failing grade regarding whitewashing. It just skated by on a technicality. So I had to settle for D-minus.
But DC didn't have to. They had several great artists (and colorists) in their stable who could have done a much more attractive cover than the one they settled on. A cover that could have attracted readers like Willow and Digital Femme (however briefly) back toward their product, instead of one that repelled them from it for good.
DC had a great opportunity and they pissed it away. They settled for a D-minus, when they could have gone for an "A".
Don't judge my madness by your sanity.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008