Before we get back to the inexplicable tale of romance that is Beauty and the Beast, let’s take a look at one of the best things about this four-part mini-series — the covers.
I’ve mentioned it before, but Bill Sienkiewicz is one of my favorite artists. His artsy sensibility and ever-evolving — yet still signature — technique has a tendency to elevate whatever particular comic book he’s working on. That’s certainly the case with his Beauty and the Beast covers.
Each of these has that Sienkiewicz “look,” and while I think issues #3 and #4 are pretty standard in terms of setting and design, they’ve all got a certain visual energy. That said, what’s up with issue #4? That one is particularly weak and looking at it is the optical equivalent of a sour note — I want to ignore it, but it’s tinny and flat in a way that just bugs me. I always get the feeling Sienkiewicz phoned that last one in (though it is still consistent with the theme of energy bursting outward, both in Dazzler’s light and Hank’s fur).
My favorite, though, is probably the cover to issue #2, just because it’s such a great callback to the classic romance comic. I especially dig the way Sienkiewicz renders Dazzler’s power; it’s subtle but touches on an important characteristic while also drawing in the viewers’ focus without hitting them over the head with it.
Take a look, and see what you think:
Even more than the covers themselves, my absolute favorite design element is the itty-bitty Beast and Dazzler that Sienkiewicz drew for the cornerbox. In just one tiny mini-scene, the artist has summed up the attempted tone of the story, and all the bittersweet, clutching emotion that goes with it. It’s really freakin’ impressive, actually:
Awww — aren’t they adorable? And there’s that outward burst again, carrying a visual theme through to what’s often a throw-away patch of art. Sienkiewicz is really a master artist.
Cover art by Bill Sienkiewicz