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(Some Of) My Favourite PLANETARY Covers

The thing about John Cassaday was that you could just throw anything at him, and it’d work.  So I did, and it did.

The overall concept for the PLANETARY covers was that, every issue, the book would simply look like nothing else next to it on the shelves, and that was how it would stand out.  Look for the thing that looked like none of the other things.  I think we mostly managed that.  These are a few of my favourites.

Hong Kong Action Film issue.  The title and credits were actually supposed to appear as film-style subtitles under the image, but that was a step too far even for the fairly laid-back editorial office.  I’m still kind of sad about that.
I would often just throw shorthand and free-association at John, for the cover images.  In this instance, I think I said something like, “doom, sorrow, monochrome, abstract, Joy Division.  Yes.  Joy Division.”  And probably the title of the story, which was “Magic And Loss.”  (Thereby also summoning Lou Reed.) This was just a perfect conjuring.
The Full Steranko.

In comics, when you say “Steranko,” you mean a pure shot of Pop-Art/Op-Art Sixties mad-science spy story.

”Steranko” may in fact be the best name anyone ever had.

Kubrick and 2001: A Space Odyssey.  RENDEZVOUS WITH RAMA and Seventies science-fiction paperbacks.  At this point, we were putting letterer/designer Richard Starkings through such horrors every time that he started crediting himself on the covers as revenge, which we were perfectly fine with.
Our “Doctor Strange” issue, connecting that character’s Sixties origins with psychedelia.  Right off a Fillmore poster, in classic period colours.
And this one.  Which I provided no notes for, had no idea for, and had nothing to do with.  The penultimate issue.  And John just generated the perfect image.  I remember just looking at this and saying, “you clever, clever bastard.”

Can you see the logo?  It’s just a bit of type above the Wildstorm mark in the top left.  By this juncture, we’d proven our point – readers found PLANETARY, every time we released an issue, by looking for the thing that did not look like the other comics.  And that’s all down to the brilliance of John Cassaday.

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