As expected, and noted in DC Comics’s updated solicitations, Francesco Mattina’s controversial variant covers have been pulled and replaced with new coves by different artists. 

Mattina’s covers for September’s Action Comics #1069, Superman #18 and Batman: The Brave & the Bold #17 have all been cancelled, along with two more Brave and the Bold covers, and two for Dark Knights of Steel Allwinter #1. Most of the new cover artists are TBA, with Khary Randolph,  Tirso Cons and Homare filling in on others.


Mattina’s covers – revealed in DC’s September solicitations –  came under fire last week from artist Adi Granov, who noted suspected use of AI (most obviously in Superman’s S-shield, which has two tails) and called out the artist for previous accusations of theft. Many other artists and the Internet Comics Community joined in on the criticism.

It wasn’t the first time as DC variant covers were cancelled over the suspected use of AI. Variants by artist Daxiong were previously criticized and pulled. 

Granov return to Facebook with one more comment on the matter. He wrote, in part:

I think there have to be higher standards from all corners. As I’ve said before, trashing other people’s art goes against everything I stand for, but when said art isn’t art at all and is actual thievery and deception, and is damaging to creative industries and artists, to not say anything is much worse.
As for the “redemption” of Francesco Mattina, that is completely up to him, but this isn’t a first time offender. He first stole my work (as well as from many others) in 2008 and was caught and called out many times over the following decade, until it finally blew up in 2019, when he was blacklisted by some publishers and stopped posting on his social media. However he still kept getting high level work and still using the same means to do it. Another 5 years later he has finally crossed a line so blatant that there is no ambiguity. That is 16 years of a top level career in comics built on plagiarism. He certainly has had a lot of time to choose any path but the one he’s chosen.


While cancelling Mattina’s current batch of covers was expected after the outcry, what can be done to avoid such future embarrassments has yet to be addressed by DC or anybody, really. It’s notable that DC is the only company to have been publicly called out, although there nave been passing mentions of AI art at other companies….especially in variant covers, which are numerous and perhaps assigned speedily in some cases.

As for Mattina’s future… Granov suggests, it’s not the first or even the second time he’s been removed by various publishers. He may have a much bigger hole to dig himself out of this time.


  1. It doesn’t matter if it’s AI art or not. All AI art looks like kitsch crap. Pollished kitsch crap, true, but I will not be fooled into liking or buying it. I see NO difference in aesthetic quality of these AI covers, and many DC variants of the last couple of years before the AI hooha. So let’s just regard whatever AI spews out as a bar that’s to low to be proud of clearing. If it looks suspiciously like AI art, it’s crap, it’s ugly, don’t buy it, and the real AI will drop off and die. If DC customers are stupid enough to like something that looks like AI, then they are welcome to the shite DC has been serving them.

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