Comic book covers have been a unique form of art since their inception in the 1930s. While they have shifted and grown more intricate over the years, few decade experience such massive changes and improvements as the 1980s.
New artistic styles, titanic artists, and more inventive approaches to what can be featured onside and on the cover of a comic book led to a renaissance. The art of the 1970s paved the way for more dynamic layouts and detailed takes on comic book storylines, but the 1980s ran wild with new notions.
Because of artists taking chances and comic book companies pushing the envelope more than ever, covers were created that stand shoulder to shoulder with some of the greatest art work anywhere. These 25 covers are some of the comic industry’s shining examples, many of which have influenced comic book art in the decades since.
See more of the best comic book covers by reading The 25 Best Comic Book Covers of the 2000s!
25. Daredevil #181 by Frank Miller
After dozens of issues, this is one writer and artist Frank Miller’s biggest issues in his dramatic run on Daredevil. The hero’s biggest villain, Bullseye, and his lover, the assassin Electra, face off in a brutal and deadly battle, with unconventional reds and yellows catching eyes in mere moments. Their mid-air attack with the fearful shadow of Daredevil looming in the background make this an obviously high stakes affair. Add in the fact that “one wins, one dies” is plastered on the front and this is ripe for tragedy. And one really does die!
24. Fantastic Four #276 by John Byrne
Byrne’s use of pure black and white in a negative-like effect illustrates sheer power. Including the book’s title and its tag in the black and white illustration and this is full commitment to an idea and it makes its use all the more powerful. As the figure at the center overwhelms The Invisible Woman and Mr. Fantastic with sheer power, it’s clear that our heroes are in serious trouble. This is just the first of many Byrne covers on this list, but it is definitely his most unusual.