Ryan Sook creates 50th anniversary Planet of the Apes tribute for Overstreet Guide

A month ago here at borg.com we discussed looking outside the comic book medium for the artwork of your favorite comic book artists.  You don’t need to look too far outside of comic books to find the next great artwork from fan-favorite cover artist Ryan Sook.  Every year just in advance of San Diego Comic-Con, comic book stores are stocked with the annual update to The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide.  First published in 1970, the 1,200 page log of nearly every comic book published to-date arrives at its 48th volume this summer, dated 2018-2019.  Known as the go-to guide for prices for a generation of collectors, Robert M. Overstreet’s book of prices and thumbnail photos is also a source to glean what’s happened in the past year by way of comic book trends.  It features its own hall of fame for comic book legends, plus full-color sections highlighting some of today and yesteryear’s best covers.

For this year’s comic book store exclusive hardcover edition, Gemstone Publishing tapped Ryan Sook to create a cover to commemorate 50 years of Planet of the Apes films.  Sook reached beyond the original to reflect imagery from throughout the Planet of the Apes movie saga– a great homage to the original shocking environment as Charlton Heston’s astronaut Taylor arrives in the future horrifying world of human scarecrows, with General Ursus leading the charge and the creepy denizens in Beneath the Planet of the Apes, the return to the past by spaceship for the apes in Escape from the Planet of the Apes, to the militant world and apes under arrest in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, culminating with the eagerly-awaited first appearance of The Lawgiver in Battle for the Planet of the Apes.  The familiar image of Roddy McDowall behind John Chambers’ Oscar-worthy make-up takes center stage–McDowall connects all of the films alternately as Cornelius and Caesar (and later as Galen in the TV series), and here he cleverly blocks the identity of the planet.

You can only purchase this edition of the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide in comic book stores, so put in a call to Elite Comics to make sure you get a copy when this new edition arrives in July.

Sook had this to say in a Gemstone news release about the coming edition of Overstreet:

“When I was about 11, I began my foray into collecting comics.  I collected because of who drew the covers.  Plain and simple.  The first ‘new’ book I bought off the shelves (something for cover price and not 10¢ at the flea market) was Arthur Adams’ Classic X-Men #1.  Because the cover made my jaw drop. Still does!  It was and still is what grabs me and draws me to a comic.  I saw my first copy of The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide, #6 with the Will Eisner cover, at a convention in Oakland around the same time, and again, my jaw dropped.  It makes sense to me now, that the cover of the Guide should have a cover as amazing as any great book you might find inside.  Overstreet has always had great covers by great creators.  And to be honest, the offer to contribute a cover alongside such a history of greats was shocking if nothing else.  But I had to do it!  What a pleasure to be involved in something that has contributed so much to the history of the medium, it’s collectors and fans.  More than my 11-year-old self could have ever imagined.  Or maybe, it’s exactly what my 11-year-old self was hoping for, and I can be happy that I made his dream come true.” 

We’re always fans of tracking down great comic book artist work in and out of the comic book realm.  One of our all-time favorite covers from Brazilian artist Mauro Cascioli was this superb piece for the cover of the once-popular Wizard magazine:


One of the challenges for any cover artist is making sure the title gets the appropriate spotlight while still featuring the key imagery of the artwork.  We haven’t seen a the full underlying Planet of the Apes cover before logo and text yet, but his cover prelims–sketches by artists during the planning stages–all demonstrate his eye for both detail and simplicity, here focusing in on the arrival of Taylor and his crew seen in the top left corner of the final:

Here soldiers arrest the apes (the building and apes get cut away for the final piece):

And Ursus remains centerpiece in the final as in Sook’s preliminary drawing, inspired by a key scene from the film saga:

Know of other comic book creators making art featured outside of comic books?  Let us know in the comments.

Again, you can only purchase this edition of the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide in comic book stores, so contact Elite Comics or your local comic book shop to order a copy now, available in July.

C.J. Bunce

One comment

  1. A really superlative piece of Ape art! Definitely reminds me (perhaps by design) of those wonderfully stylized POTA covers that the late, great Ken Barr produced back in the day.

Leave a Reply to michaelprestage Cancel reply