Cool Comic Covers: Stumptown Vol. 1

Some fantastic design work makes Stumptown Volume One’s cover stand out:

Most notably, the cover contains only a handful of colors: dark teal, a strong yellow, and simple black and white. The yellow and black contrast each other quite well, making the cover’s key elements pop. That contrast, and the cover’s heavy blacks, are what drew my eye to Stumptown.

If you look closely, though, you’ll notice the yellow art elements aren’t purely yellow. There’s a bit of teal airbrushing that makes the cover look graffiti’d, foreshadowing the grittiness readers will find inside.

The cover’s logo (also yellow) and subtitle overlays make Stumptown look like a classic mystery novel, giving readers further info about the story they’ll find inside. And in case all that wasn’t enough, there’s one more cover element that might draw your eye: the deer-shaped hole in Stumptown‘s P, at which readers may want to look more closely.

All that said, one yet-to-be-discussed element is likely responsible for more Stumptown Vol 1. sales than any other. And that’s the large, red $10 price tag slapped on the cover’s upper-right corner. In the land of quality graphic novels, $10 is a heck of a deal. Telling a reader (literally upfront) that this comic costs only $10, instead of the normal $15 to $20 one can expect for a trade, is a great choice – and one that more comic publishers should likely make.

Image Comics also prices many of its Volume Ones at $10 (the first one’s cheap to get you hooked), but I’ve never seen an Image trade put that price on its front cover or spine, as Oni Press has done here for Stumptown. And good luck finding a Marvel or DC trade that’s only $10. Pricing Volume Ones a bit low, and advertising that price, is a very smart move. It’s certainly a contributing factor to why I threw Stumptown in with my purchase at Powell’s Books, while visiting Stumptown‘s setting of Portland, Oregon.

(Want to check out more posts in the Cool Comic Covers series? If so, click here.)


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