- Color scheme
- Figural lay-out
- Speech/thought balloons...
- ...or, the absence of speech/thought balloons
- Call-out boxes
- Relevance to the inside story
- Simplicity vs. a whole lot going on
Doug: This one probably makes a lot of people's "favorites" list. Marvel's two iconic monsters racing headlong into each other... It's on mine because I love the black background and the way it makes the colored figures pop. That the Hulk's right hand partially obscures the corner box really gives the cover a 3D feel. Really, the only improvement I'd make is the removal of the text. Seriously... who would pick this up and need that prompting? Duh. It's just a great seller in all its simplicity.
Doug: My apologies in advance for the poor reproduction here -- I couldn't find an image (granted, I didn't look too terribly hard) that I loved. A bit out of our Bronze Age range, but one of the most stunning covers of all time. This one's much more complex than the previous example. The 3-dimensional appearance of Havok racing toward the reader, the drama on the faces of the X-Men, and the concentric circles make this an amazing visual experience. Those circles really draw me in -- this cover, even more than the previous sample, displays a depth in the art. The call-out box is OK, but again -- I don't need it. Even as this was on the spinner racks, I don't think it would have been a selling point. Any youngster should have wanted to snatch this up on its other merits, and there are many.
Doug: I'll leave you with this last fave. Again, there is very little text, and in this case the title in quotes, "Challenge of the Man-Bat!" is OK, because this is a new character. I love the detail of the city-scape, and the giant images of Batman and Man-Bat are really powerful and give off a "this is going to be epic" feel. The large full moon draws your eye and highlights the underside of our antagonists. You could argue that the book's cover logo also gives off a bit of a moon-like aura; I love the bright yellow against the midnight blue background of the main image. And sticking to the depth-theme, the angle of Batman's cape in the foreground easily sets the Man-Bat back a few paces from the reader. This cover is just a winner through and through.