Comic Book Cats, number 189: Nightcat #1 cover painted by Joe Jusko and lettered by Todd Klein, published by Marvel Comics in April 1991, and Batman #50 cover painted by Joe Jusko, and DC Comics in September 2018.
Joe Jusko is an incredible artist who has painted numerous stunning, beautiful, dynamic covers, trading cards and posters. Having made his first professional sale in 1977 at the age of 17 to Heavy Metal Magazine, Jusko’s impressive career has spanned four and a half decades. He is very well-regarded for his depictions of strong, sexy women.
And, yes, he’s even painted cats from time to time! In real life Joe and his wife Linda have a tabby cat they named Zabu after Ka-Zar’s saber-toothed tiger.
First up is one of the more, well, unusual comic books from the early 1990s. Nightcat was an attempt to launch the singing career of model and aspiring actress Jacqueline Tavarez by casting her as a real-life superhero. Long story short: it didn’t work. For the full details please check out Zedric Dimalanta’s informative write-up “The Curious Case of Marvel’s Nightcat” as well as Marvel editor Tom Brevoort’s memories of working on this bizarre project.
However ridiculous the Nightcat concept was, Jusko did his usual high-quality work on the cover of this special. He certainly did a lovely job painting the trio of kitty cats accompanying Ms. Tavarez on her moonlight stroll along Manhattan’s rooftops.
Second is a more recent Jusko offering, one of the absolute best of the innumerable variant covers to Batman #50, which featured the wedding-that-wasn’t, as Bruce Wayne & Selina Kyle failed to tie the knot. Jusko painted this striking image for the Midtown Comics exclusive variant, depicting Catwoman luxuriously splayed out on the floor in her black lace wedding dress. A pair of her black cats are prowling about, no doubt wondering when Selina is going to finish posing and give them some treats.
(For those who are interested, copies are still available for purchase from Midtown Comics through their website.)
Having met Joe on more than one occasion, I can also tell you that he’s not just an incredible artist but also a genuinely good person. I hope he has more opportunities to draw cats in the near future.