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From the beginning, I thought that some of the covers were styled after pin-ups. I still think that, but I also think that they are amazing.Salem's Daugher #1: Wizard's World Philly Al Rio Exclusive

A lot of my favorite covers are done by artist Al Rio. I have one that Anna Williams as a catcher that I adore. Isn’t the flaming baseball cool?

What I know of Al Rio is that he lives in Brazil and he’s been drawing for over 30 years. He’s worked for Marvel, DC Comics, Dark Horse, Image, DC Vertigo, Chaos Comics, Avatar Comics, Wildstorm, Zenescope, Amazing Comics, Trinity Comics, Harris Comics, Crossgen, and several others. I have to admit that I haven’t even heard of most of these.

When I went to Wizard’s World Philly (WWPhilly) in June, one of the talks that I went to mentioned covers. All I remember is that it was a Zenescope talk and it was either Joe Brusha or Ralph Tedesco who said it, and the basic gist of what they said is that often they will just contact the artists with a general idea of the comic and the characters and the artst sends back the cover. If someone else was there and is reading this, I apologize if that is completely wrong, but that’s what I’m remembering.

Escape from Wonderland #1 Fantastic Realm Billy Tucci ExclusiveI get teased a bit about some of the covers in my collection. Most of my favorites are a bit risque. One of the artists, David Nakayama, says “Zenescope Entertainment has a reputation for publishing some of the sexiest pinup covers in comics.”

And in an interview, the VP of Zenescope Ralph Tedesco comments “The ‘Borderline porn’ thing has been thrown at us before which makes me laugh only because in reality, if you’re willing to look at it objectively, most of our images really are no worse than what you’d see on a cover of say a magazine like GQ or even a women’s magazine like Cosmopolitan… In all honestly, I think those who go say that simply have an agenda or just want to brand us a certain way for whatever reason and are literally judging a book by its cover. But when they pick one of our issues up and actually read it, those same critics usually realize that these stories aren’t what they thought and very rarely if at all have anything to do with sex.” And I’ll admit, the covers are part of the reason that I decided to read Wonderland, Grimm Fairy Tales, and Salem’s Daughter.

I also understand that there are plenty of people out there who would say the covers are objectifying women and they are unrealistic. I used to be one of them, many years ago. However, they are no more unrealistic than Barbie. And the characters are just as fictional.

And yes, the covers are part of the marketing of the comics; it is a risk having the pin-up like covers. I’ve heard people say that they didn’t read the comics because of the covers at first. However, it was mainly women who were lingering around the Zenescope booth (I was one of them).

Also, even if the covers are provacative, the plots aren’t, particularly in Grimm Fairy Tales. “Little Red Riding Hood” is used to teach a girl that she shouldn’t submit to the pressures of the ‘wolves’ and have sex before she’s ready.

Personally, I have chosen to admire these works of art. The various artists, Al Rio, Billy Tucci, Randy Queen, David Nakayama, Eric Basaldua, J. Scott Campbell, have amazing talent and do amazing work on all the covers, be it for Zenescope’s comics or Marvel, DC Comics and Dark Horse.

And I’ll be looking forward to the next cover.


Victoria. (2009 May 7). Exclusive: Talking all things Zenescope with Ralph Tedesco. Retrieved from http://comicnews.info.

Maltos, T. (2009). Al Rio Art. Retrieved from http://alrioart.com/index.php.