A new mobster enters Gotham City looking to make it big. But when Batman tracks this fugitive from Chicago underground, he encounters something else lurking in the depths: Killer Croc!
So Suicide Squad came out yesterday.
I haven’t seen it yet, but I know one thing… It’s got Killer Croc!
Poor Croc. Is he a super human freak? A regular fellow with an unfortunate skin condition? A cannibal? A pretty nice guy who happens to live in the sewers? “Throw a rock at him [Batman] once”? In the comics and cartoons he’s been variations on lots of those things; but what crime did Croc commit to make it into Amanda Waller’s eponymous ‘Squad?
I don’t know either.
But they sure made him bumpy for the movie.
Anyway, in honor of the movie opening (featuring Croc) I decided to peel back the veils of years to a 1993 cover by Kelsey Shannon. 1993! I was in high school! Taylor Swift was four! Killer Croc was strangling the World’s Greatest Detective on the cover of The Batman Adventures #7!
I love this cover.
It is so g-d unpretentious.
Has Croc got scales? Not on the cover of The Batman Adventures #7 he doesn’t (explicitly). Shannon kind of lets you use your imagination on this one. Croc certainly has bumps on the top of his head; and the name “Croc” probably signals you that he is kind of lizard-y, skin-wise. Certainly his coloration is unusual.
The “acting” on this cover is also great.
I am so So SO a fan of form over detail. Shannon used minimal lines on this image. There are probably fewer lines on the entirety of The Batman Adventures #7’s cover than are contained in one square inch of the average Rob Liefeld pinup. But it doesn’t matter! With minimal lines Shannon is able to deliver so much drama.
We know Croc is strong. How can we know without infinitely rendered pectoral-deltoid-rectuses? Because of the pose, the angle on Batman, the implied bulge of tendons across Croc’s forearm.
We know Batman is desperate. How can we know without a bunch of narrating first-person word balloons? Because his teeth are grinding together, and his face is being compressed, and he is futilely trying to pry that left Croc-arm from around his esophagus.
The color is mostly flat. It’s not exactly flat; there are some gradations and implied shadows… But it’s pretty flat. I am a fan of flat color over “computer coloring” (or at least the look of what was called computer coloring in the early 1990s)… I point it out here because in 1993 it would have been really easy to fall into the garish trend coming out of Image and the X-Men books; but Shannon didn’t.
We thank you.
Batman thanks you.
And 23 years later, so does an immortal Killer Croc.