I have been a fan of Edward Hopper since the first time I saw his artwork. I view a print of his Automat every day at home. In college a wall of every other dorm room had either Hopper’s Nighthawks or the Helnwein pop culture adaptation Boulevard of Broken Dreams with Hopper’s characters swapped for Elvis Presley, Humphrey Bogart, James Dean, and Marilyn Monroe. A few years ago I made a special side trip to visit the original in Chicago, housed just across America’s most famous artwork, Grant Wood’s American Gothic. Nighthawks means many things to many people. For me it’s about nostalgia.
I always have an eye open for new adaptations of Nighthawks. Some of the best adaptations have been created as variant covers for comic books. It’s a rare find, but it happens, oftentimes in places you wouldn’t expect it. The best comic book cover adaptation of Nighthawks is available this summer, and it’s our pick for the best comic book cover we’ve seen so far this year.
It’s J.K. Woodward’s variant cover to Micronauts, Issue #5. Innovative, futuristic, inventive, thought-provoking, and evocative of adventure for fans of the 1980s toys. I have been a fan of Woodward since his brilliant and beautiful watercolor work on his cover-to-cover Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who crossover series Assimilation². At first glance you might not even realize this fantastic future world is something familiar to you. Is it the alien behind the counter that cinches the Hopper homage? Maybe the yellow hue color choices in the background? The commercial coffee pot? Or just the overall design? Check out his artwork in full and decide for yourself:
Even better, Woodward takes us all through his creative process at his website here. As with most of his work, including his Klingon montage for the 50 Years/50 Artists Star Trek gallery, Woodward digs deeper, carrying us through new perspectives and design choices with his new Micronauts piece.
If you missed past comic book cover homages to Hopper’s Nighthawks, have a look at these:
Ask your local comic book shop for Woodward’s Micronauts variant to Issue #5 from IDW Publishing.