Thursday, March 1, 2012

Thark Thursday: Joe Jusko covers

I'm a big fan of Dynamite Entertainment's various Warlord of Mars titles. Among my favorite cover artists is Joe Jusko, who has done some amazing pieces on a number of variant issues. There's really two reasons I love his work. The first being that each piece does an excellent job at conveying a story in the covers. This is made even more apparent when you look at how some of Dynamite's other covers have focused on, ahem, "other" aspects and have actually led to endangering their ability to publish Burroughs' stories. So I really do appreciate that the cheescake factor isn't the primary focus (I could write a seriously long rant about how much I hate that).

Jusko's are quite the opposite, actually. When it comes to composition, both within the scene as a whole, and the figure of each character, he's got incredible technical skill. One of my favorite covers is this one of Dejah before a Thark Jeddak who's posed as if he truly is one physique built on top of another. It made me do a  double-take the first time I saw it. The Thark anatomy and posture appears totally natural the way one set of limbs casually rests on top of the other, and is still articulating a dynamic posture.

Jusko is master of the posed "hero shot" covers like with issue #1 of Warlord of Mars (above), and equally--if not better--at putting characters into fantastic and believable action scenes...

This last one below is great just for shear muscle-bound barbarism. It's a great action cover and I love the lavish colors.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that Jusko's style is indicative of certain era during which I grew up (the 80s!) and had a huge influence on my view of fantasy and sci-fi artwork. At least if seems that way to me. It just "feels" like a hearty, swashbuckling-good time...on another planet!


  1. Actually, Dynamite never had a license. Not that I think they need one.

  2. Noted, and revised. Thanks Trey!

  3. THANK YOU for being the first person to convey exactly what my intentions are with each of these covers. It really means so much to me that someone "gets it". I have strong, long standing relationships with both Dynamite and ERB, Inc. (they have directly commissioned several huge 100th anniversary Tarzan paintings)and the utmost respect and appreciation for ERB's creations. The one thing my work has never been is lewd, lascivious or demeaning to women. As you have gleaned, I am a big proponent of narrative cover art and will defer to that approach whenever possible. It was what cover art was when I began my career in the 70's and what I still think it should be.

    Thank you again for an objective assessment of my work on these books.

    1. Oops. That should read "salacious", not "lascivious". Pre morning coffee.:-)

  4. Mr. Jusko, the pleasure is all mine. I'm glad that Dynamite has found artists such as yourself who understand the spirit in which the books were written. I'm hard-pressed to choose a favorite, but that last cover--everytime I look at it I wonder "how could Carter possible get out of there alive!" That's exactly the kind of excitement that Burroughs' stories deserve.

    (Pardon the fanboy flattery)

    Anyway, thanks so much for stopping by and definitely keep up the great work!

  5. Personally the I feel the situation is appalling. Joe Jusko's work defines sword & planet. ERB is being stupid about the whole the situation & Dynamite puts out fine comicbooks I'm looking at 6 of them right now.