Greg Capullo’s time working on Batman made him a juggernaut artist in the comic book industry; below are his best covers for books featuring the Dark Knight. From all-out brawls, to intimate character portraits, and everything in-between, Capullo’s covers display his versatile skill, as well as a willingness to experiment, to push the idea of what a Batman comic could look like, leading to his enduring influence.
Capullo’s art played a significant role in defining the Caped Crusader for DC’s New 52, the 2011 publishing initiative which began with the company’s continuity being rebooted, and its entire roster of titles being relaunched. The majority of the covers featured on this list are from Capullo and writer Scott Snyder’s New 52 run on Batman, though several are from other miniseries and event comics by the creative team of Snyder and Capullo. Every cover on this list also features the work of superstar colorist FCO Plascencia, and several also feature invaluable work from inkers Danny Miki or Jonathan Glapion.
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12 A Gorgeous Gotham Like Readers Have Been Exposed To Before
Batman (Vol. 2) #23 – Cover by Greg Capullo, Danny Miki and FCO Plascencia
Capullo and Scott Snyder’s reimagined Batman origin Batman: Zero Year – Batman vol 2 #21-27 and #29-33 – uses a surprising bright daylight palette of yellows, oranges, pinks and greens, a stark contrast from the moody nighttime scenes most readers expect from a traditional Batman tale. This cover perfectly sets this stage, using a gorgeous warm background of those same yellow-to-orange tones to silhouette a typically dark Gotham. Throughout the entries on this list, and his entire work, Capullo uses silhouettes often, whether to frame an image, emphasize part of one, or to create contrast with solid grays and blacks.
11 A Brutally Realistic Fight In Stark Detail
Batman (Vol. 2) #3 – Cover by Greg Capullo and FCO Plascencia
Part of what makes Capullo’s work on Batman so incredible is how he renders figures. The character positioning on Batman #3’s cover shows off Capullo’s mastery of musculature and bodies, as Batman and a Court of Owls talon have a gritty, realistic, and bloody fight. This cover also serves as a lesson in simplicity; the stark white background means that there’s nothing else on the cover for a viewer to focus on but the figures. The shading of the characters is also immaculate, with the red coloring implying blood, first and foremost, but also an unseen, and ominious, light source.
Batman (Vol. 2) #41 – Cover by Greg Capullo, Danny Miki and FCO Plascencia
Capullo’s introduction to the bunny-eared Batman exoskeleton donned by the New 52 Jim Gordon is instantly iconic. In this cover, Capullo gives viewers a full back-view of this new design; thanks to Gordon’s prominent gun, it also lets DC fans know this isn’t their familiar Batman. The exoskeleton, and the weapon, are perfect sci-fi design, bulky in ways reminiscent of pulp sci-fi blasters, as well as of Frank Miller’s Batman illustrations, with its blocky figure occupying most of the frame. Another tiny, satisfying detail is how the exoskeleton’s ‘bunny ears’ fit the bottom of the series’ jagged logo between them.
9 Purposefully Posed Sci-fi Action In Pink
Batman (Vol. 2) #45 – Cover by Greg Capullo, Danny Miki and FCO Plascencia
Capullo and Plascensia aren’t afraid to use bright, bold colors, whichother Batman artists generally shy away from. No Capullo cover demonstrates this better than Batman #45, with itshot pink background, which also helps to cement the sci-fi trappings of Jim Gordan as Batman. The “hole in a wall” border of the cover perfectly frames its figures, subtly drawing the viewer’s eye to the center of the cover, as well as creating an interesting interplay with the series’ logo, which is given a subtle 3D effect, as this time, Gordon’s bunny ears this time go over top of it.
8 Batman And Joker’s Relationship, Depicted In Dance
Batman (Vol. 2) #17 – Cover by Greg Capullo and FCO Plascencia
Batman vol 2 #17’s cover cleverly portrays the endless battle between Batman and the Joker as a dance, one where Batman, represented by his bloodied cape and cowl, is an unwilling participant, dancing to the Joker’s tune. The use of scratch marks as rain gives the cover an almost physical texture, which is reminiscent of older covers like Marc Silvestri’s classic Uncanny X-Men Wolverine portraits. The black background and spotlight on the characters also emphasizes their isolation, playing into the issue’s theme of the Joker believing that Batman wants Joker to himself; that only the two of them alone matter.
7 Both Sides Of The Joker, Comedy And Tragedy
Batman (Vol. 2) #37 – Cover by Greg Capullo, Danny Miki and FCO Plascencia
On Batman #37’s cover, the Joker’s two faces reflect the classic theater comed and tragedy masks, offering a perfect representation of the Joker’s core duality. He is, above all, the sad clown; the tragicomic figure who puts on an act of gleeful mania, but is himself secretly miserable inside. In context, it also represents the two distinct looks and personas that the Joker takes over the course of Snyder and Capullo’s Batman run – the faceless Joker of Death of the Family, and the refaced Joker of this arc, Endgame, from Batman (Vol. 2) #35-40, contrasting them in haunting fashion.
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6 A Defining Image Of The Batman Who Laughs
Dark Nights: Metal #5 – Cover by Greg Capullo, Jonathon Glapion and FCO Plascencia
With his Dark Nights: Metal #5 cover,Capullo provided one of the most striking images of the Batman Who Laughs. Eschewing the bombast that defines metal in favor of a character portrait, it is the details that stand out here. Readers never see the Batman Who Laughs’ eyes; his face is almost entirely in silhouette, except for his horrific yellowed teeth, and spiked headpiece. Teeth are often a focus of Capullo’s villains, and monster designs, and this cover perfectly demonstrates why. The tarot card featured is ‘La Morte’, death, a nod to a classic Joker move from this Jokerized Batman.
5 A Villainous Color Palette Sets The Stage For The Riddler
Batman (Vol. 2) #32 – Cover by Greg Capullo, Danny Miki and FCO Plascencia
Green and purple are frequently villain-coded colors in comics. Capullo and Plascencia use them as the primary colors on Batman #32’s cover, to great effect, for their only cover featuring the Riddler. The lack of shading on the question mark, which Batman is suspended from, caught in a web, plus the purple background, serve to make the color usage on this cover pop more. The black half of the background also subtly turns Batman: Zero Year’s trade dress into a full Bat-costume, stretching the cowl at the top across half the image, as though Batman were pulling it over himself.
4 A Liller Character Portrait/Logo Combo
Batman: Last Knight on Earth #2 – Cover by Greg Capullo and FCO Plascencia
The cover for Batman: Last Knight on Earth #2, is Capullo’s best ever use of a plain black background. This allows him to indulge in his character portrait of Bane, leaning into the grey-tinged palette he loves for villains, whether Bane, Doctor Death or Barbatos. The cover is only improved by its logo, which appears to cast the light seen on Scarecrow’s back, since there’s no light source on the cover itself. That same cover dress also defines the color palette of the cover, and the fact that the series logo is set square instantly makes it stand out from other covers.
3 A Cover That Succeeds In Making Superman Scary
Batman (Vol. 2) #36 – Cover by Greg Capullo, Danny Miki and FCO Plascencia
There are many images of Superman where his red eyes are supposed to be a threat, but the cover of Batman #36 is an example of this being used particularly effectively. Black, white, and red have become a popular comics color palette, given how the red can emphasize parts of the image; the blood, red eyes, cape, and logo of Superman on this cover perfectly demonstrate why. Capullo’s artistic heritage, having developed his style working on horror-influenced comics, including Spawn, is fully on display here as Superman flashed a Jokerized rictus grin, articulating inhumanity through his bared teeth.
2 A Perfect Batman Silhouette With Colors To Match
Batman: Last Knight on Earth #1 – Cover by Greg Capullo and FCO Plascencia
Like many entries on this list, one of the main strengths of Last Knight #1’s cover is how precisely it plays with color and shape. The neon green of the Joker’s hair is matched by the green of the Batman title, and Batsymbol between the creators’ names. This in turn contrasts with the hot reddish pink hues of the landscape Batman is walking across. It is eye-catching and unforgettable, especially in DC’s larger-format Black Label printing. Once again, Capullo works expertly with silhouettes, as this silhouetted Batman is one of his strongest single images of the character from any era.
1 A Mythical Showdown Highlights All Capullo’s Strengths
Batman (Vol. 2) #40 – Cover by Greg Capullo, Danny Miki and FCO Plascencia
The best cover of Snyder and Capullo’s run, Batman #40 eschews realism in favor of pure symbolism. Here Batman and the Joker are cast as St Michael vs the biblical dragon of Revelation, aka Satan, inan appropriately mythic tableau for what Scott Snyder positions in the story as the final confrontation between Batman and the Joker. The motif of the Joker-as-dragon would also return for Dark Nights: Metal, with the Dark Multiverse containing literal Jokerized dragons. This cover contains everything great about Greg Capullo’s Batman art from his New 52-era run; gorgeous colors, exquisite framing and subtle details, all in one.
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