Covered Beyond 365 – #386

A possibly great comic book cover matching each day of the second year, 366 until the pickings get too slim. Please chime in with your favourite corresponding cover, from any era.

A tough choice today, so I will take the safe route with Four Color:

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Would this be the choice if it wasn’t an ultra-classic? Still quite possibly, but at some point you have to give up feigning objectivity. As an uber-classic that hits on all cylinders, it has to be the pick.

I want to keep to three choices most days, but today the four possibilities were so close that I’m going to show them all. As runner-up, Sgt. Rock is really grim, but the composition and coloring make this another late-day Kubert keeper:

sgt_rock386

The “Legacy”  numbering Doctor Stranges from 2018 might be questionable (are they really these issue numbers?), but many of them are really good. I missed some of these because they aren’t getting picked up in the GCD search – looking back via MyComicShop.com’s search, I really like the #384 Young Avengers variant, really clean and distinctive art. I don’t like #386 quite as much, but it still rates as a pick:

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Does that count as a giant hand?

Finally I will bookend with the Uncle Scrooge variant, which isn’t a classic but for content can go toe-to-toe with the Four Color:

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I can’t not show the JOWA, Action. Worth picking up one of these just for Electroman’s comment:

action386

Covered Beyond 365 – #385

A possibly great comic book cover matching each day of the second year, 366 until the pickings get too slim. Please chime in with your favourite corresponding cover, from any era.

No classics today but I think we’ll make it through, with a colorful but basic pick for the day:

superman385c

Similar to yesterday’s Superman but better, not visually confusing, a classic match-up with great action, and a cool colour scheme (Canadian spelling for a Canadian edition). Of course being by one of my new favourites (!) Gil Kane certainly helps. My main complaint is Luthor’s (or shoulposture – try standing up in this position. (Maybe the point is that with the recoil he isn’t going to stay standing.)

I almost went with Detective as I have been waiting for the Adams run, but this isn’t really the start, and objectively I think the Superman is better:

detective385

Adams manages to imbue a lot of action into what is basically a standing around cover. As usual his art is off the charts from a skill perspective, and I would have snapped this one up from the newsstand if I hadn’t still been reading Casper at this point.

There are some faults with the third place FF, but I still really like it:

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I think this is an incredible piece by Paul Ryan with lovely coloring, but the idea of The Torch wearing some kind of deep sea diver suit WHILE HE IS ON FIRE is really bizarre. Also points off for Marvel marring the cover with that stupid “Starblast Crossover” stamp, especially after going to the trouble of putting Tiger Shark in front of the logo.

I think Walt would have liked me to pick the legacy numbering Doctor Strange, but I think this one is just too visually confusing – I hope one of the future ones makes the cut because the style is cool.

 

 

Covered Beyond 365 – #384

A possibly great comic book cover matching each day of the second year, 366 until the pickings get too slim. Please chime in with your favourite corresponding cover, from any era.

If life gives you lemons, make lemonade. If a day gives you all JOWAs, make JOWAde. Or something.

Probably the worst day since Day 1. The pick is the only decent cover, Four Color, another tribute to Our Founding Father:

four_color384

Even this cover leaves me with qualms – what’s with the gun? Is he going to shoot the guy in front of him on the trail? Is he just prepared? Whatever, at least it’s got good comic book art, nice colors, and some action.

Now let’s get to the JOWA countdown. In third place, Jane Foster as Thor:

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I had heard about this concept – absolutely crazy but innovative. Jane’s certainly been working on the arms since I last checked in. Wait – you say it’s not Jane Foster?

In second place, Joe Kubert’s conceptual piece goes completely off the rails:

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This looks like The Illustrated Man on acid.

Taking top honors is Superman’s way ahead-of-its-time Tinder:

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Wow, Curt Swan really went south when Murphy Anderson took Neal Adams’s place on this one. Supergirl looks like Zsa Zsa Gabor after sharing some of Sgt. Rock’s acid. But that ultra-creepy Superman making the ultra-creepy comment is what wins it for this one. I have the feeling he and Volar have a history.

Covered Beyond 365 – #383

A possibly great comic book cover matching each day of the second year, 366 until the pickings get too slim. Please chime in with your favourite corresponding cover, from any era.

Another very tough day. I really can’t get behind any of the choices, so I will just show what I think is the best of the lot, which is Adventure:

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It’s hard for a Swan/Adams cover to be truly bad, or even average for that matter. I see a lot to like in this cover – this team always delivered top quality art, the composition is interesting, the coloring is really attractive and emphasizes Supergirl, and of course we have a story. The main problem is that it’s just too sedate for a superhero book.

Like I said a few days ago, I could just leave it at that, but as the runners up are similarly not really bad, I’ll show them:

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Incredible Hulk has a lot going for it, especially if like me you like Keown. The art is beautifully detailed, and while the Hulk’s outfit is certainly worthy of a JOWA, it fits in well with this Incredible Hulk homage to something like Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love. So ha ha fun concept, but not making it as a great cover.

It would be unpatriotic to not note Captain America, but it is b-o-o-ring and too derivative to even get credit for being an homage:

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At least we have a nice JOWA:

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I ended up with a ratty reader copy of this a couple of years ago and that cover is in line with the story – not only do Batman and Robin decide to have dinner at the Chinese restaurant in full costume after a hard night on the town fighting crime, it turns out it is their “usual” and the servers seem nonplussed.

Covered Beyond 365 – #382

A possibly great comic book cover matching each day of the second year, 366 until the pickings get too slim. Please chime in with your favourite corresponding cover, from any era.

Some pretty good ones today. My pick is Sgt. Rock:

sgt_rock382

Kubert’s Rocks from this period are not consistent, but there are a lot of good ones. This one is one of my favorites, with a very sixties feel, especially the 3D title. The composition and execution are great, it’s full of action, and I really want to find out why the German soldier wants Rock to drop him. If I have any complaint it’s the bland background colors. I think that choice was made to make the title and two characters stand out, but covers from the sixties and before show how you can still use richer colors and get the desired effect.

Speaking of richer colors, Adventure is my runner-up:

adventure382

This could have had a chance of being the pick, but the floating Superman ruined it. Superman can fly, but float?

That purple and other factors conspire to make this a really hard book in high grade. There is only one CGC 9.8 and one CGC 9.6.

Third place to Superman:

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This is a bit confusing, but I’ll let it slide because:

  • It’s Gil Kane!
  • The composition is really cool
  • I like what Kane tried with Superman’s cape, although it’s not quite right
  • It’s a different kind of homage to “The Witch of Metropolis”:

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Pep gets the JOWA for Archie’s creepy bowling lesson:

pep382

Covered Beyond 365 – #381

A possibly great comic book cover matching each day of the second year, 366 until the pickings get too slim. Please chime in with your favourite corresponding cover, from any era.

Just having some decent covers to pick from is a relief, even if nothing is great. No clear-cut winner but I’ll argue for Adventure:

adventure381

This is a fan favorite as a minor key, but of course I say that is irrelevant here. What is relevant here is that it is a solid Swan/Adams cover. While those are the credits, this doesn’t look very Swan-like to me – maybe it was more of a collaboration with Neal involved in the layout? It has that usual Adams slant, action, a story, and an all-girl gang of hoodlums, all positives in my book. The matrix-like background seems like another clue that this might have been put together quickly, so points off for that.

Batman and Detective were almost a tie, but after consideration I’m calling Detective as the true runner-up:

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Both have action, good perspectives, and solid art (Irv Novick gets a pass from me this time). I am giving it to Detective for stronger colors and more nostalgia value.

I’ll just mention two others:

  • Incredible Hulk is probably not everybody’s cup of tea, but as I said before, I liked Keown’s Byrne-like approach. Credits say Keown inked as well as penciled this cover, The detail is amazing but I can understand that some might not go for his cartoony style.
  • Thor is another weird but cool Simonson subject, with Destroyer as Thor – I haven’t read this story – one of these days I will have to crack open my Simonson Thor Omnibus that I’ve had for so long that it has gone from retail, to premium collector’s item, to below retail…

Covered Beyond 365 – #380

A possibly great comic book cover matching each day of the second year, 366 until the pickings get too slim. Please chime in with your favourite corresponding cover, from any era.

Still at a very low ebb today, and probably from here on, so you’ll notice I changed the first sentence above.

The best of the day is Daredevil, which would have been better if it didn’t have such stupid text:

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At least it’s a well drawn/colored explosion and DD, with extra points for the impact on the title.

As a few days ago I’d like to pretty much leave it at that, but in case you were wondering what my second and third places would be, here they are so you will understand why I’d just as soon not show them:

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Covered Beyond 365 – #379

A great comic book cover matching each day of the second year, 366 until the pickings get too slim. Please chime in with your favourite corresponding cover, from any era.

For this late in the game I was pretty happy with today, I think there are a number of covers you could pick, so in this case I’m not making any strong argument for my picks or rankings.

Following on yesterday, again I’m going with Incredible Hulk:

inc_hulk379

This is a poster with no story immediately evident, but it is actually there in the logo. We finally get the green Hulk back, but “new and improved”. I think Keown gets the face just right – this isn’t the brutish green monster, not the gray gangster, but a more dangerous amalgam.

Let’s have a mini-theme and make Sgt. Rock the runner-up:

sgt_rock379

Giant faces are more unusual, but here we get another plus a giant hand. Very cool composition and expert and distinctive Kubert art. I think Kubert was hit or miss with this later run of Sgt. Rocks, with this one a hit.

Third place to Thor for many reasons:

thor379

Just about any full frontal Fin Fang Foom is going to elevate a cover to award status. This one goes the extra mile by it being Simonson’s homage to Strange Tales #89, albeit with the “new and improved” Fin Fang Foom anatomy. Maybe his coloring was the giveaway that this in fact wasn’t really Fin Fang Foom (sorry if I spoiled it for you).

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You have to understand that I really dig Fin Fang Foom:

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Swan/Adams and Adams alone turned in two decent covers for #379 for Action and Adventure, but they really don’t stand up to the competition above. A better competitor is Fantastic Four, but it is a pretty standard composition.

Finally an anachronistic JOWA to Four Color:

four_color379

 

Covered Beyond 365 – #378

A great comic book cover matching each day of the second year, 366 until the pickings get too slim. Please chime in with your favourite corresponding cover, from any era.

After a couple of brutal days we get a respite. I came up with seven covers that were worth looking at, and after many reviews I say the Incredible Hulk is the pick:

inc_hulk378

The art is just killer, the figures are big, the colors are beautiful – note all of the green even though we are still living with the gray Hulk – the rumble is smashing up the logo, and – it’s the Hulk fighting Santa! I am going to track down a copy of this one.

It turns out “the most requested villain of all” is not Santa – the hints are that he has about the same build as the Hulk and the same coloring of the Hulk of that time.

The cover is by Bill Jaaska. I wasn’t familiar with the name, but after looking him up his art rang a bell – he did the early Sable covers in the late eighties, then moved over to do some Marvel covers in the early nineties. I was not fond of those Sable covers, and looking at the Marvel work I am not too fond of that either, so it seems likely that to my eyes this cover would be my favorite of his by far. Sad to say Bill died at a fairly young age in 2009.

My runner-up is a personal favorite and admittedly self-serving, but still defensible, one of the monumental Swan/Adams collaborations:

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Like the “greedy Superman” theme, there is also a running “Superman meets The Devil” theme that I love. The Superman/Christ similarity naturally calls for these kinds of confrontations. I love this cover for the cool Devil, the action and Superman’s reaction, the colors, and the font effect in “The Devil’s Partner”. There does seem to be a bit of a problem with Superman’s anatomy (similar to the problem of Superman #233), but I think worse is Superman saying “Oww!” Maybe “Argh!” wouldn’t be much better, but The Man of Steel shouldn’t whine.

My third place choice is Batman:

batman378

The goofy Mad Hatter is a downer, but otherwise this is a really cleanly drawn and inked cover with a great story component, even if it’s the same old story. (Nocturna seems to be taking a lot of wardrobe malfunction risk.)

The other covers that I think could be considered:

  • Adventure – the usual beautiful Adams art, but another dumb premise drags it down (for some reason really important for Superboy to carve the Legionnaires’ last will and testament into steel before an hourglass runs out and they all die)
  • Daredevil has a cool style about it, but I really don’t like how Hamner draws DD
  • Detective is strong and reminiscent of the period, but the lack of color hurts it, and the concept is not clear (what is the point of a front page photo on the Gotham News of Batman and Robin fighting, and why is the newspaper wet?)
  • Four Color’s Tom Corbett Space Cadet is a pretty poster, but too sterile for me – also by the time it was published, Weird Fantasy had done this before (and better in my opinion)

Covered Beyond 365 – #377

A great comic book cover matching each day of the second year, 366 until the pickings get too slim. Please chime in with your favourite corresponding cover, from any era.

Just as five percent is more than two percent, so I think we can say #377 is an improvement over #376. Like I said yesterday, I am going to stick with this at least through the early four hundreds, then all bets are off.

So no great covers today, but at least this Detective by Novick is striking:

detective377

Lots not to like about this creepy and too muscular Riddler, but I like the composition and colors, and it maintains the strong period feel of this run of Detectives.

Maybe the Adams Adventure would be more to people’s liking, although it is not great:

adventure377

At this point Adams has overused the slanted perspective in this Adventure run, so I can’t give him any credit for jazzing it up this time. I do have a personal predilection for the various “greedy Superman” covers out there that play against his good guy image. Action #176 is my favorite:

action176

Incredible Hulk #377 is a favorite, and a very cool fluorescent Hulk poster, but it doesn’t make it as a great cover in my book:

inc_hulk377