Jim Lee Comic Book Cover Gallery
An Iconic Creator of Iconic Covers
Jim Lee, a Korean American comic book professional, has been honored with several awards to date during his comic career, including a Harvey Award for Best New Talent in 1990, an Inkpot Award in 1992, and multiple Wizard Fan Awards in 1995, 1996, 1997, 2002, 2003, 2004 & 2005.
Like many other comic book creators on this site, Lee has worked with the industry’s most prominent publishers and illustrated many of the industry’s most popular characters – heroes, heroines and villains alike – such as Captain America, X-Men, Wolverine, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and many, many more.
Marvel Comics offered Lee his first work in the industry in 1987, cutting his teeth on Alpha Flight and Punisher War Journal, before pencilling The Uncanny X-Men and launching the spin-off series X-Men (Vol. 2) in 1991 with the legendary Chris Claremont, where his artistic talent helped earn a Guinness World Record for the all-time sales record for a single-issue comic book, an incredible 8 million copies sold in a single month. Lee’s artistic style for the X-Men books was later adopted for the X-Men animated series in 1992.
1992 was a banner year for Lee. That year, he and fellow artists – Todd McFarlane, Erik Larsen, Rob Liefeld, Marc Silvestri and Whilce Portacio – founded Image Comics to publish their creator-owned properties, such as WildC.A.T.S and Gen13, both published by WildStorm Productions, which Lee had founded earlier in the year.
To devote more time to illustration, Lee sold WildStorm to DC Comics in 1998, though he continued to manage WildStorm as a DC imprint until 2010. A good decision on Lee’s part for fans: If he had continued his administrative duties at WildStorm, he would likely not have been able to take on the illustration duties for Batman for the year-long “Hush” story arc, Superman‘s arc for “For Tomorrow,” Superman Unchained or the new 52 run of Justice League.
Like Todd McFarlane, aka “The Toddfather,” arguably the most influential comic book artist in the modern era, Jim Lee began working during the Bronze Age of Comics (1970-1985) and has been one of the modern era’s defining creators. The founding of Image Comics in 1992 was a significant event in the industry and, in fact, helped usher in the Modern Age of Comics – and an era of individualism.
This individualism, for lack of a better word, is a trend which began with comic book artists born in the early 1960s, such as those who founded Image Comics. (Adam Hughes must be included in this list, to name only a few of the most popular artists born in the early 1960s.) This generation of creators, as one might call them, stood up to the monomaniacal, monopolistic large scale publishers (Marvel & DC, specifically) to improve the conditions under which comic book artists work, particularly in regards to ownership and compensation, i.e. licensing, for their work and the characters they create.
This individualism is a powerful force in the comic industry. Not only has it empowered creators who crossed from the Bronze to the Modern Age but also inspired younger creators – artists such as Jamie Tyndall, J. Scott Campbell, Skottie Young and a host of others too many to list here – to express their individual artistic vision through common features which thread through their work. Such individualism makes their work – for those in the know – instantly recognizable.
Lee, like McFarlane, has produced a number of iconic covers during his career in the comic industry. Despite their popularity, some of these iconic covers do not command prices related to popularity, simply due to the number of those comics in circulation (remember that World Record of 8 million!). A very select few, however, were printed in lower numbers – such as the second printing of Batman 608 – and command a strong, healthy premium. Perhaps in time collectors will appreciate Jim’s work more fully.
Today, Lee is the Publisher and Chief Creative Officer at DC Comics.
If you have a favorite Jim Lee cover not on display in the gallery below, please let us know.
Sources: Otis (“Image Comics: A Brief History“; Collider (“A Brief History of Image Comics, As Told by Co-Founder Rob Liefeld“); Wikipedia (Jim Lee); Wikipedia (“Jim Lee“); Harvey Awards (“Previous Winners“); Inkpot Awards (“Inkpot Award“); Comic Book Awards Almanac (“Wizard Fan Awards“); Bleeding Cool (“Marvel Printed 8 Million But Jim Lee’s X-Men #1 Sells For A Premium“)