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2006-07-21 - COVER TO COVER by Mark Engblom: Déjà vu All Over Again

Déjà vu All Over Again


The Homage Cover Chronicles (part 1)

Comic-book covers based upon famous images, from other comics or elsewhere, are commonly referred to as "homage covers." As the term implies, homage covers pay tribute to revered "touchstones" of comic book, pop cultural or even "real world" historical imagery. They also provide a sense of fun and community, as seasoned fans recognize the visual as the hat-tip, the nod, the gentle satire or the arcane "in-joke" knowledge it was intended to be.

One of the most prevalent homage cover themes is sometimes referred to as the Pieta cover, a reference to Michelangelo's famed Pieta sculpture. Depicting the body of Jesus Christ in the arms of his mother Mary, the Pieta conveys a sense of quiet grief and profound helplessness in the face of death. Which begs the question: "What better image to exploit and slap onto dozens of superhero comic books?"

pieta.jpg

Of course, the most famous of the Pieta homage covers was CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS #7 (1985), depicting a grieving Superman cradling the dead body of his cousin Supergirl, while a helpless throng of superheroes looks on.

crisis.jpg

COIE #7, in turn, inspired dozens more homage covers, though many more Pieta covers came before it. Without further ado (or commentary), I present to you the Pieta Cover Gallery. Enjoy.

gallery.jpg pieta_covers_2.jpg

Did I miss your favorite Pieta cover? Send me the series title and issue number and (if I think it qualifies) I'll include it in an "addendum" graphic for the Comics 101 Mailbag.

Mark Engblom is a professional cartoonist and life-long comics fan living in St. Paul, MN. Mark is also the proprietor of Secret Identity: Geek Gear & Gifts, featuring cool stuff inspired by classic superhero comics. To check out the goods, click here.

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