Friday, June 12, 2009

Cover Me: Ed (The Name Might Not Ring a Bell) Hannigan

Shame on the comicbook industry for forgetting Ed Hannigan. Ed is one of those renaissance men who can write, draw, letter, color, and edit. He knocked around Marvel Comics through the last half of the 1970s, then in the early 80s, he attained the star-status he deserved as one of the most innovative cover-artists of all time. His covers, in my eyes, rank with Adams' and Steranko's for their dynamic designs and cutting edge use of color. Ed's lettering abilities allowed him to create covers that invoked the creativity of Will Eisner's Spirit splash pages. From about 1982-1986, Hannigan's covers were the most eye-popping, attention-grabbing covers on the stands. When I think definitive 80s artists, Ed's up there with guys like Byrne, Miller, Bolland, and Simonson. Here's why (a lot of these will overlap, but you get my drift, right?)...

Incorporating cover copy into the art...


Ingenious use of color (props to any and all colorists who "got" Ed's vision)...

Shadows and silhouettes...


Wild perspective...


Reflections...


Flat-out iconic covers...


And a few that are just too cool for words...


Those are just a few of the dozens of covers I would love to have posted. (For a behind-the-scenes look at Ed's cover-sketching process, visit the Covers and Sketches page of his website. Wow!!)

By the late 80s, Ed had scaled back his cover work (though he still supplied many layouts for other artists' covers) to work on drawing Mike Grell's Green Arrow revival. By the mid-90s, for some strange reason, worked dropped off to nothing for this highly skilled and innovative artist, and that's a shame. Ed's name should be remembered and revered in the Hall of Fame for 1980s artists. Not only that, but the man's still around, still able to create knock-out covers, like this recent Captain Action cover done for Moonstone. I say it's time for an Ed Hannigan revival!

4 comments:

joe bloke said...

here! here!

couldn't agree with you more on this one, Groove. Ed's one of the great forgotten masters.

Daniel Graves said...

I remember 90 % of these covers. He was great... I was buying comics mostly off the newstand in those days and boy, did they jump out at you... Now that I come to think of it, I bought many of these titles BECAUSE of the Hannigan covers, although I suppose I didn't know that was what clinched the sale at the time. I bought every issue of Batman & Tec and sure did love the fact that he was doing those covers. The Hugo Strange one was my favourite. I also loved the Little Nemo homage (which I recognized for what it was, even at that tender age!)

Fr. Dan

Andrew Wahl said...

I just picked up a copy of Spectacular Spider-Man #66 yesterday. I’ve always loved that cover, but never owned a copy. I agree, Hannigan did some marvelous cover work. I think his design sense often made up for whatever shortcomings he might have had with his art.

Cheers,
Andrew

Anonymous said...

Oh, yeah... those Spider-Man covers in particular slay me... I remember that run of "Spectacular" so vividly. Now I've got to track 'em down and read them all over again!

Note to "The Man": All images are presumed copyright by the respective copyright holders and are presented here as fair use under applicable laws, man! If you hold the copyright to a work I've posted and would like me to remove it, just drop me an e-mail and it's gone, baby, gone.

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As for the rest of ya, the purpose of this blog is to (re)introduce you to the great comics of the 1980s. If you like what you see, do what I do--go to a comics shop, bookstore, e-Bay or whatever and BUY YOUR OWN!