10 Greatest Batman Covers by Jock

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10 Greatest Batman Covers by Jock

Warner Bros.

Mark "Jock" Simpson first made a name for himself working on the long-running British comic book series, 2000 A.D., specifically on Judge Dredd and Lenny Zero with writer Andy Diggle. He and Diggle then launched the popular ongoing series, The Losers, for DC Comics' Vertigo line of comics in 2003. That series was eventually adapted into a major motion picture. Soon after starting to work for DC Comics, he began to do Batman covers and has become one of the top Batman cover artists ever since. He even did a short and highly acclaimed run as the interior artist on Detective Comics with writer Scott Snyder. His work has been so acclaimed that he even did a poster for the film, The Dark Knight Rises (shown above). Here, then, are the top ten best Jock Batman covers. 

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10. Batman #650

DC Comics

Here, Jock draws one imposing Batman, who looks like he is ready to take on all comers. It is a very powerful cover image. Comic book companies tend to treat comic issue numbers ending with 00 and 50 as special events, and thus for the 650th issue of Batman, they had Jock deliver a special drawing of Batman that would work well for a poster, as well as a cover. Jock also drew the 800th cover of Detective Comics. In other words, when you're celebrating a milestone, it always helps to have Jock drawing your cover!

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9. Batman #648

DC Comics

 Jock is perhaps best known for his brilliant use of negative space. Negative space is when you use the space BETWEEN objects as the highlight of your drawing. Here, the two major objects of this drawing are the two buildings, but they exist just to draw your eye to the space between them, the "negative space" and there you find Batman. It makes the simple Batman figure stand out beautifully. Jock is a master user of negative space. 

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8. Detective Comics #873

DC Comics

 Soon into his run on Detective Comics with Scott Snyder, DC launched a month-long initiative where they intended to "put the focus on their characters" by making every cover for their titles in January of 2011 feature a white background and then just a simple logo and the main character(s) of the book. This was right up Jock's alley, and he did a marvelous job with this Batman spotlight figure. 

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7. Detective Comics #797

DC Comics

The massive crossover of the various Batman titles, War Games, was not one of the better Batman storylines, but the Jock covers for the event were still great. This one stands out in particular for how well Jock was able to visualize the driving plot of the storyline, which is that Batman had put together an intricate plan for how to install himself as the head of all of Gotham City's mobs, so as to then be able to shut down all of the organized crime in Gotham at once. He did it as just an intellectual exercise ("How would I do this if I WERE to do this?"), or a "war game," as it were, but Stephanie Brown, who Batman had just fired as Robin, thought it was a real plan and then put it into place, thinking it would win her way back to Batman's good graces. However, Stephanie was missing some key pieces of information known only to Batman (namely that a key player in the plan was the criminal known as Matches Malone, a criminal who was really Batman's identity that he used to mix with the criminal element - and obviously he was not in place because Batman didn't know that the plan had been implemented) and the plan ended up installing the villainous Black Mask atop of Gotham's mobs instead. In any event, Jock nicely got across the intricacy of Batman's plan with this cover.

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6. Batman #643

DC Comics

 As we will see later on on the list, Jock has a particular affinity for drawing really striking figures of the Joker. Here, he combines his great Joker figure work with his way of throwing the reader off a bit with the covers, keeping them on their toes with offbeat images like this upside down Joker (complete with the self-knowing wink with the line of dialogue). 

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5. Detective Comics #877

DC Comics

 This cover brings together three of Jock's greatest strengths as a cover artist. First off, his off-kilter designs, as you certainly would not typically expected to see a silhouetted shot of a woman with Batman drowning in the water that is filling in said silhouette. Secondly, his impeccable use of negative space - that is something you see on many of his covers. Thirdly, his ability to tell a story with his covers. In this issue, Batman is being possibly waylaid by his feelings for an old female acquaintance of his, and Jock gets that sense of danger through seduction across on the cover beautifully. 

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4. Batman #646

DC Comics

 While the first thing that strikes you about this explosive cover (pardon the pun) is the dynamic action shot of Batman and the Red Hood, what I really marvel at is the small figure of the Black Mask, flipped upside down in the background, seemingly thrilled at the explosion that is flinging him through the sky. Jock's covers are filled with little details like that.

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3. Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #177

DC Comics

This was Jock's first Batman cover, and when your FIRST cover is as striking as this one is, it is no wonder that DC brought him back for many more covers in the years since. This highlights Jock's powerful use of negative space, as well as his strong sense for striking Batman designs. His Batman here has been used on T-Shirts in the years since, as it is such a great image of the Dark Knight. 

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2. Detective Comics #871

DC Comics

 This acclaimed cover was the opening to Jock's famous run as the interior artist on Scott Snyder's classic Batman storyline, "The Black Mirror." This cover was a striking beginning to the storyline and currently graces the cover of the book collection of the story, further ingraining the cover into the hearts and minds of Batman fans.

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1. Detective Comics #880

DC Comics

One of the greatest Batman comic book covers of all-time, Jock's grotesque depiction of the Joker easily takes the top spot on this list. As seen earlier on the list, Jock draws a great Joker, but here his stunning sense of design takes it one step further. It is like something stepped out of a nightmare. 

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Your Citation
Cronin, Brian. "10 Greatest Batman Covers by Jock." ThoughtCo, Dec. 26, 2015, thoughtco.com/greatest-batman-covers-by-jock-327110. Cronin, Brian. (2015, December 26). 10 Greatest Batman Covers by Jock. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/greatest-batman-covers-by-jock-327110 Cronin, Brian. "10 Greatest Batman Covers by Jock." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/greatest-batman-covers-by-jock-327110 (accessed November 22, 2017).