When Comic Art Is Smart – Star-Lord #1 and #6

Cover by Kris Anka
Cover by Kris Anka

There was something which struck me with the release of Star-Lord #6 today, and it's to do with the very surface.

The old aphorism 'don't judge a book by its cover' is a good one to live by, but that doesn't mean you ignore the cover. And perhaps other readers will have noticed this comparison too.

The cover to both the first and final issues of Star-Lord, both by Kris Anka who in a rare for Marvel these days turn managed to do every issue of the series and all the covers, has a wonderfully smart element at play that thematically connects to the story within.

The first cover sees Peter Quill, Star-Lord, stood in front of Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night. The final cover is again Star-Lord stood before a starry night, but this time a more realistic representation of the night sky.

Consider one of the major themes of this now complete run by Anka, Chip Zdarsky and Matt Wilson: growth – in particular, the growth of Peter Quill as a person.

In the first issue cover, above, the Starry Night in the background is impressionistic, unrealistic and imaginary. A dreamy, fantasised version of the sky at night, as we see a Peter Quill so lost in his own dreamy, fantasised idea of life that he cannot function on Earth, the real world, unless he changes.

The final issue cover, below, features Peter Quill before a vast, realistic version of the sky at night, filled with dark mystery, uncertainty but also a strange beauty and it's real and true – fitting in with an issue which deals with loss, and moving on, and also a more grounded, mature Peter Quill.

Cover by Kris Anka
Cover by Kris Anka

Add to all these observations another, more simple one: in the first issue, Star-Lord is turned away from the Starry Night, with his back to it. In the final issue, he is facing it. We have a character who has gone from being stuck and immature, to one that has matured and moves onward.

This is the wonderful thing about comic art: when you come across a cover, a page, a panel that is so clever in it's use of the visual medium, that you can't help but find yourself falling through the layers, a new aspect coming to you with every look. It's the sign of a fantastic artist, and what is capable with a stable, strong creative team.

It's a shame to see this series go when these are the kind of things it has had to offer.

About Joe Glass

Joe Glass has been contributing to Bleeding Cool for about four years. He's been a roaming reporter at shows like SDCC and NYCC, and also has a keen LGBTQ focus, with his occasional LGBTQ focus articles, Tales from the Four Color Closet. He is also now Bleeding Cool's Senior Mutant Correspondent thanks to his obsession with Marvel's merry mutants.

Joe is also a comics creator, writer of LGBTQ superhero team series, The Pride, the first issue of which was one of the Top 25 ComiXology Submit Titles of 2014. He is also a co-writer on Stiffs, a horror comedy series set in South Wales about call centre workers who hunt the undead by night. One happens to be a monkey. Just because.

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