What makes the best comic book covers? It is a great topic for debate. For us, as individuals, there is no wrong answer, of course; it is purely subjective. But, with a little thought it’s possible to explain what it is about a particular image that grabs you. The best images are the ones that make you stop and check out something you weren’t previously planning to purchase – and in some cases, you even end up picking up a title you’ve never even heard of before.

In his introduction to DC Comics’ The Doom Patrol: The Bronze Age Omnibus, comix scribe Paul Kupperburg said that like most of us, and I am paraphrasing, by the time he discovered the Doom Patrol as epic super-team, they had just died. And, like Marvel’s Merry Mutants being published across town, a new Doom Patrol arose from the ashes of the old. In fact, thanks to comic book savant Grant Morrison and others, that happened more than once. But I digress.

It first happened in issue 94 of the long-running Showcase, as the “Children of the Atom” – comic’s other team of favored freaks – did so in the 94th issue of their own title, X-Men. Coincidence? Who knows for sure. I only know that as a 7-year-old youngster reading this comic off the spinner rack at my local High’s convenience store, it had the same effect on me as its Marvel counterpart had two years earlier. A large reason for that is its poignant cover by veteran artist Jim Aparo.

Aparo, known for his journeyman work on the Batman books (including The Brave and the Bold), seldom found himself outside of Gotham City. However, this was a big debut – and it needed a creator who could make a big statement with its cover. He did just that by having the new team mourning the old by a single gravestone, and Robotman donning his new form while holding the lifeless body of his older, more classic, mechanical self. Comic book master George Pérez played with this idea, albeit differently, with his cover to New Teen Titans #13.    

Pretty cool, huh? New X-Men, New Teen Titans, and the New Doom Patrol. The stars were aligned and the symmetry is all there. Dig it yourself and see what was and what might be again one day. Count on it.

–Scott Braden