JOE JUSKO: Dig These 13 Groovy MARVEL Corner Box Paintings

An overdue look at some of the coolest art of the last decade — with commentary by the artist…

As a comics reader, you can often tell just how much passion an artist (or writer, of course) has for a particular project.

With Joe Jusko, you can’t help but fall in love with his Marvel corner-box paintings because you know he really loves them. Begun around 2015 or so, they’ve been used as variant covers, sold as prints — and I’ve long wanted to do a feature on them.

For whatever reason, the stars finally aligned and I picked 13 of my faves — in no particular order, though Spidey is tops in my book — and Joe gave his commentary on each of these beauties.

So dig this look at 13 GROOVY MARVEL CORNER BOX PAINTINGS BY JOE JUSKO:

Variant cover

By JOE JUSKO

I’m a huge Silver Age Marvel fan. They were the books that informed my childhood and that ultimately directed my adult life. The Marvel covers of the day had something magical about them and for me, nothing says “Silver Age Marvel” like the corner boxes on each and every comic.

Those iconic little figures (or heads) that sat alongside the titles are etched in my memory, and I’ve always thought they were ripe for painted interpretation. I put them off for a number of years, but at the urging of a friend I painted up a few as commissions and instantly became obsessed with them. My original plan was to paint every single ’60s corner box, up to and including Millie the Model! They were purely a vanity project until several people at Marvel saw them on my Facebook page and asked if I’d be interested in painting them as an alternate cover series.

They have since taken on a life of their own and are among the most popular things I’ve done. I plan to go back and finish the ’60s run I’d originally started and then move forward through the years. There has been talk of another series of covers for Marvel and hopefully that will come to fruition once all the COVID-19 restrictions have normalized. Fingers crossed!

Spider-Man #66. This was the first piece I painted in the series. It was a no brainer as it was my favorite. Such an iconic figure with a totally natural posture.

Captain America #111. No one holds a shield like that, but it somehow is the thing that makes this shot so memorable for me. Like most corner box images at the time it was lifted from a previous use, in this case the cover of Fantasy Masterpieces #5 where the shield is in a different position (but looks even more awkward).

Daredevil #21. That Wally Wood figure was fun to reinterpret as a real figure, but the challenge was keeping the steady hand to paint those radar circles freehand (after penciling them with a compass, of course)!

Sub-Mariner #8. This figure was penciled expressly for the corner box, one of the few from that era that wasn’t clip art. I’ve never seen a full size reproduction of it, so I wonder whatever happened to the original art.

Luke Cage #1. I loved the original Luke Cage book, especially before he became an official “superhero.” I mashed up John Romita’s cover and George Tuska’s splash page to create the final image.

Black Panther #52. It was important for me to credit all the original artists in the homages. This one was the hardest to nail down. I thought it was Rich Buckler and luckily he was still around to confirm it.

Hulk #105. The challenge with Kirby’s figures was to keep as much of him in the final pieces while trying to adjust the figures to more realistic anatomy. This was a bit of work.

Thor #147. Loved that Buscema Thor figure so it was an obvious choice for me. I’ll do the Kirby Thor in another box.

Spider-Gwen #2. I knew absolutely nothing about this character other than that she was really popular and the J. Scott Campbell version would be a lot of fun to paint. Obviously not a classic ’60s box, but one of a bunch of current characters requested by Marvel for the cover series I did. I mocked them up as ’60s boxes to keep the series uniform.

X-Men #21. Picking figures for characters that never had a dedicated corner box was fun and I looked for images by artists most closely associated with them. John Byrne was a no brainer.

Moon Knight #32. This is the only box commissioned by Marvel that never saw print. It was slated for a specific issue but something happened and the book never made the schedule.

Iron Man #1. I tried to keep as much of the nostalgia of the original pieces and that meant deviating as little as possible from them, recreating as opposed to reimagining. I tried adjusting Iron Man’s broken neck but that slight “fix” lost everything that made Kirby’s figure work so I rightly left it as was.

Marvel 2-In-One #1. Picking the Thing figure to fit that box format was easy. I had to search a bit for an appropriate corresponding Torch figure by Big John.

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Author: Dan Greenfield

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6 Comments

  1. Wow Joe, these are fantastic, amazing, and every adjective Stan ever used. I used to run my fingers over the Spidey figure just to feel the outline. How does one get a print of these, or better, a collected coffee table book!

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  2. These are GREAT! Take my $$$$. I so miss the Silver Age and Bronze. Seeing Cap without that stupid ammo belt that I’ve never seen used brings a tear to my eye.

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  3. I don’t buy new comic books but I grabbed the one with the Spidey cover without hesitation. An absolute classic that takes me back to when I started collecting Amazing Spider-Man in 1967.

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  4. A great collection of images from one of my favorite artists. These are now in my Marvel folder for screensaver images.

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  5. I acquired a copy of his Nick Fury Agent of Shield corner box. It is stunning.

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