Covered Beyond 365 – #425

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

So this is the sort-of sign-off, and from here on out no forced matching every day. People say “change is good” – I don’t think that’s necessarily true, but in this case I think it is. I’ve never been a fan of grinding simply to say I did it.

Luckily I can close out the day-by-day exercise with a no reservations pick, Berni Wrightson’s Detective:

detective425

Berni drew an awesome Batman (not too surprising), but this was about it for this period (and I would say for the “classic” Wrightson style). Correct me if I’m wrong, but the only other Wrightson Detective cover is Detective #1000, and that was a 1991 piece not done for the cover. This book is not rare in high grade, but I still think it is undervalued given the unusual pairing of a key character and artist.

I have two more for you today but they are certainly far behind the pick. Batman really works for me:

batman425

Mark Bright really captures the action of that stack of junk cars about to topple onto Batman. Like the Sgt. Rock from a few days ago, the white background really works here. We don’t know why Batman is about to get crushed, but we are pretty sure we will find out inside. I think this one is very reminiscent of the Infantino Detective covers of the mid-sixties.

Adventure is a kind of crazy but cool cover:

adventure425

DC throws in the towel on Supergirl and her romantic and wardrobe troubles, and takes us back to the spirit of New Adventure Comics (including the big red title box). I think Kaluta missed a bit with the horse’s scowl, but otherwise a wild and very well-rendered scene that makes a perfect comic book cover.

Adventures of Superman is not on my list, but it reminds me of covers that definitely are:

adv_superman425

fight34

thrilling38

 

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Covered Beyond 365 – #424

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.

As I wrote yesterday, this post and tomorrow’s will be the last forced by-the-numbers entries – and of course if you have any better ideas on how to go forward, let me know.

I think from today’s results you’ll understand why we need to change the approach. Only two covers worth showing today, and I think there’s no clear winner. I’ll go with my nostalgia and say Detective:

detective424

I was frustrated by Kaluta’s cover for the previous issue, but no problems with this one. Very seventies – look at the villain’s pants – and just a finely executed and action packed Batman vs. the baddie scene. I like the way Batman’s cape breaks the frame, but the big and cool title is over all of this. Also very colorful while still maintaining the subway vibe.

The other worthy candidate is Four Color:

four_color424

GCD doesn’t know the artist, so I spent a few minutes searching the web but came up with no answer. I did run across a scan  of the inside front cover, which is a paragraph of some of the most nonsensical astronomy “facts” that you will find anywhere. Hats off to Dell for educating the youth of 1952 (now known as “the base”).

Since I have the space, let’s allocated to the tie for JOWA. We have first Action:

action424

‘Nuff said on this one. Next is Archie:

archie424

Man, Archie didn’t handle the mid-nineties very well. I think Archie was the only student in the lab typing “HUBBA HUBBA” – I think he was the only student in the lab who knew what “HUBBA HUBBA” meant. I think he was the only student not using Windows for that matter. I think they needed some editors who weren’t stuck in the fifties. (They also could have used an actual letterer.)

Covered Beyond 365 – #423

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.


When I started this with #366, we had twenty-one choices per day. We are now down to thirteen, and I think the pickings are just about getting too slim. Nonetheless I still like looking at covers and writing my thoughts and reading the thoughts of others. So here’s my proposal to go forward, starting after the round number of #425:

I am going to raise my standards back to what they were early in Covered 365. Then each day I am going to look at covers forward until I come up with three that I think make it to the level of “great”. I’ll post these until I run out of steam or we make it to the end of Four Color, whichever comes first.

I would like to make this interactive, so if any of my loyal readers want to point to a cover that I missed, do so and I’ll go back and post it. Of course, this is my blog, so if I really disagree I’m reserving some veto power. Also try to keep your standards high – “great” is the word!

I will also raise my standards for JOWAs, but here and there I expect to post some of these too.


 

At least for a few days it’s business as usual, meaning working with what I’ve got, which today isn’t much. I’m going with the very flawed Adventure:

adventure423

Before you complain, remember that the key term here is “comic book cover”. While Oksner’s art is pretty crude, it hits on a lot of the comic book cover cylinders: superheroes, color, action, and story. This cover would have pulled this book into my hands as a kid. Again this scene would have been a dream for me if rendered by Adams.

Probably the more expected choice was Detective:

detective423

You can tell that Kaluta worked hard on this, but in my mind it just didn’t come together. It is just too visually confusing – you really have to study it to understand the perspective, and that Batman is sitting on top of a smokestack. (You could think that his pants are on fire.) Still, after studying it you can appreciate Kaluta’s talent and creativity, and it fits well into this run of Detectives.

The purists might give me some trouble for picking ASM for third place:

asm423

All I can say is that I dig it more than the rest of the choices, even though it is mostly a poster.

I want to mention Superman as it was the important Alan Moore “last” issue. I loved the story, but I don’t think the cover really rates. It appears to have been Swan’s homage to himself, but his original panel covers of this type were mostly better than this one.

Archie receives another JOWA:

archie423

Weird enough that Archie’s mental undressing is seen as cover material, but his creepy expression puts this one over the top.

Covered Beyond 365 – #422

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.

The choice was difficult today because there were a number of good covers but no standouts. In the end I kept coming back to Four Color:

four_color422

I have grown to love the Disney and Warner Bros. Four Colors when they have these really deep colors. This one also is interesting in how it mixes “funny” animals with what appears to be a very harrowing situation, and from a modern perspective possibly casting Donald as the villain. Is there a cultural artifact in that satchel?

As usual, but sadly for the last time, Sgt. Rock makes my list:

sgt_rock422

Really the only thing I don’t like about this cover is that it is visually confusing due to the perspective. I am sure the Kuberts knew this would be hard to pull off going in, and they weren’t totally successful, but it is still a great piece. Nice of DC to shrink the title a bit to keep the emphasis on the art. I don’t think Rock drowned, but the title did with this issue.

I think third place is a tie between Incredible Hulk and Superman, but in deference to my loyal readers I will go with Superman:

superman422

Yow that’s scary. Nice choice to just use the red touches on Brian Bolland’s art. I actually am more impressed by the background than I am by the monster Superman, and of course this is a howling around cover, so points off there.

Archie wins a JOWA today:

archie422

So Archie doesn’t chase girls because he likes girls, but because of his rivalry with Reggie? I knew Archie’s hairstyle looked familiar.

 

Covered Beyond 365 – #421

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.

Something very different today with Four Color:

four_color421

Time was I would complain that this wasn’t comic-booky enough, but I have broadened my horizons, especially with respect to Dell titles. I love this Alden McWilliams cover – so perfect for the era, so well done, and interesting as a target due to its black background. If I come across a high grade copy of this it is going to be hard to pass it up.

I really don’t think any other offering today is truly worth showing as “possibly great”, but I’ll stick with tradition and show a couple more.

Sgt. Rock is a very solid piece:

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The white background was a good choice, and the art is typical Kubert high quality, but the concept is both tired (Where Eagles Dare, etc.) and confusing (what does “Die Twice” refer to?).

Adventure is full of craziness:

adventure421

A very Conan-esq cover. I dig the color choices distinguishing Supergirl from the mob and the villainess, and I dig the comin’-at-ya firey sword. I’m just generally not a fan of Oksner’s style, which is too generic comic book/comic strip to be really interesting.

Covered Beyond 365 – #420

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.

We made it to #420. My children would want me to celebrate appropriately:

CC-1-cover

Unfortunately that title didn’t make it to the apropos issue number, but the comin’-at-ya Captain America did:

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After a pretty long run of pretty terrible covers, this straight-ahead beat-’em-up with a cool green glowing skeleton villain is a welcome sight. Mostly a poster, but at least we know who Cap will be fighting inside the covers. I am trying to overlook Cap’s impossibly thick torso.

Runner up is the equally comin’-at-ya Adventure:

adventure420

I dig this cover for the composition and Supergirl’s posture. I think deeper and more attentive colors would have helped. In keeping with today’s theme, maybe this was the Nixon era concern of the 420 “mind warp”.

In third place, Superman explains why I stay away from the wacky weed:

s420

 

Covered Beyond 365 – #419

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.

Very happy to report no problems today. The pick is the classic Action #419:

action419

This one is up there with the likes of Superman #233 and Superman #252. I think every Superman collector has to have one, but I think you can quibble with the photo background, and clearly the cover has nothing to do with the interior story (noted as an afterthought in the caption). As a bonus this is the first appearance of The Human Target, as noted in Undervalued Spotlight #259

As yesterday I think it’s about a tie between second and third, but my nod is to Four Color:

four_color419

Morris Gollub does an amazing job with the lighting here, and as usual provides a compelling adventure cover. Note how the totem pole face adds to the ominous atmosphere.

Also ominous is the baddie on Batman, who is about to carve Batman in two:

batman419

Zeck again, and this time with more story than yesterday’s cover. The baddie is the KGBeast, sent to kill the President of the United States. Thwarted by Batman, and after a nice horsie ride, he formulated a different approach to dealing with the President of the United States.

While Adams took the honors with Action, again his Detective for today was less than memorable.

Covered Beyond 365 – #418

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 great ones today. I think Batman is at least okay:

batman418

This is by Mike Zeck, who we ran into many times during Covered 365 due to his run of good Captain America covers from about five years earlier. I really like the art except for Batman’s face – no match for the expressiveness Adams could portray even with the cowl in place. But there’s no interesting story here – some bad guy is shooting at Batman again, same old same old. With a compelling story this could have made it to great.

I think it is a tie for second and third, so first I’ll go with the fan favorite, Thor:

thor418

This Frenz looks more like a Buscema homage than a Kirby homage to me. It’s got a bunch of heroes and villains, good composition, fourth wall breaking, lots of bright and attractive colors, all good. But it’s nothing special in the story department and – The Wrecker can beat Thor??? Come on.

Kubert again delivers a sort-of original composition for Sgt. Rock:

sgt_rock418

I say “sort-of” because this is reminiscent of something we saw a few weeks ago, which in publishing time was over three years:

sgt_rock386

Also I think the “I found our missing buddies-!” caption is weird and less affecting than the silence of the earlier cover.

Adams continued his Detective run with this issue, but the Batman-meets-Creeper cover was phoned in (from a relative Adams quality perspective) and not worth showing.

Adventure takes the JOWA for the Asian (?) kid (?):

adventure418

I’m arguing for this being the true second appearance of Fin Fang Foom, with the publisher crossover being a bonus.

Covered Beyond 365 – #417

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.

Not too bad today. Nothing for the ages, but some good straight-ahead comic book covers.

It might be an homage, but it’s a good one, so today it’s Thor:

thor417

In 1990 for a brief moment you entered the time door to 1968 with this one. Frenz sets it up right in line with the King’s style, and Sinnott brings it home. The uncredited colorist deserves a third of the credit as well – a poster, but can we ever get enough of posters like this?

Incredible Hulk is a joke cover, but it’s a lot of fun and very colorful:

inc_hulk417

A lot of nice touches here, and of course we want to find out what the “shocking secret” is. Again props to the uncredited colorist.

It’s pretty much a tie between the two Batman titles for third place, but I’ll give the edge to my man Neal with Detective:

d417

Batman is the more “important” cover as the first cover for the “Ten Nights of the Beast” story line, but it is a fairly bland if pleasant poster. I prefer Detective for its colors and the grieving faux Batman. I don’t care for the hunchbacked true Batman – I think Adams could have delivered something more along the lines of the Batman #245 pose – maybe he spent too much time on the foreground and had to finish up quickly.

Something about this Superman makes me think JOWA:

s417

As this concept is actually quite a retread and in earlier and later incarnations isn’t a JOWA (“Planet Hulk” comes to mind), I can’t argue too strongly for the award. I think it’s Superman’s continuing to wear his costume in this setting which is especially incongruous.

 

Covered Beyond 365 – #416

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 great covers today, and only two that I will hold up as good. I think it is close to a tie, so to break the monotony I am going with Aparo’s Batman:

batman416

There is a lot to like about this cover, but I think enough to critique to prevent calling it “great”. The Robin at the forefront is absolutely first-rate art, while Nightwing is not – his calf is as big as his head. The layout, colors, action are all excellent, but the faces are the usual Aparo faces that I grew up with – that is to say, less than exceptional. Still a cover you could be proud to have in your collection.

Of course the near-winner is Detective:

detective416

Adams tries for a different angle and I don’t think it works well. It is something of a crotch shot for Batman, and overall this cover doesn’t impress at the level of most covers from this run. If you told me that Gene Colan drew this, at first glance I could imagine it. Really the only place the Adams signature artistry comes through is Batman’s head and face. Also we are back to the boring mono-colored background.

Again Kubert tries for something different with Sgt. Rock, but this time he delivers a dark JOWA candidate:

sgt_rock416

Lucky for Joe he avoids the award as Captain America runs away with it:

ca416