Friday, January 04, 2008

Hockey Covers

Although part of the national identity up here in Canada, hockey has traditionally had a relatively small audience in the U.S. This may partially explain why there are so few comic book covers dedicated to the sport. Or so I thought… Once I actually started tracking down hockey covers, I was pleasantly surprised by the wide variety of hockey covers out there in funnybook land.

Anyone who has ever been scheduled to play a game at 11:30 PM knows full well that ice time is scarce at many of the nation’s arenas. This great cover from House of Secrets #113 by Nick Cardy brings to mind the battle for ice time. It gives the reader a an idea of what a figure skater finishing up her rehearsal feels like with a bunch of beer leaguers breathing down her neck. I'm not sure who's coming up through the ice, and that bit of the cover seems a little unecessary. Horror and hockey is like a natural fit, but it’s a combination that has only been used a few times.

If you’ve purchased a copy of Heroic Comics, you know that it’s one of the most affordable Golden Age comics on the market. You also know that it’s one of the lamest titles out there. The saving grace is the painted cover (as well as some bit and pieces of artwork by some of the biggest names in comics). This cover from Heroic #57 is absolutely stunning and shows the perils of hitting the pond too early in the season. I can’t figure out who drew this cover. The initials ‘AT’ are at the bottom right. Alex Toth did draw some stories for Heroic and I’ve certainly seen him sign his work ‘AT’ before but I’ve never seen him paint a cover. I don’t have my Toth checklist handy (it’s in storage) so I can’t check. I was trying to think of other artists with similar names who had worked on Heroic, but all I came up with were Al Ulmer, Arthur Simon and Al Williamson. Anyone know if this is Toth?

I had to include this Charlie Biro cover from Boy Comics #50 as it’s about the craziest hockey scene I’ve ever witnessed. I didn’t know the Hanson Brothers played hockey during the Golden Age. I don’t own this book, but I’d love to read the story ‘The Most Hated Coach in hockey’, but I’ve always wondered how Biro would portray Mike Keenan. It's not exactly the safest rink for spectator either, as someone needs to install glass along the boards. As for the play on the ice, try to make sense of CB’s shot on goal. That puck has a mind of it’s own. “CB’s Miracle” indeed.

And now for the inevitable Toronto Maple Leafs cover. Babe Ruth Sports was one of only a handful of comics to deal with real life sports, kind of a four color Sports Illustrated. The cover to Babe Ruth Sports #7 features Hockey Hall of Famer Turk Broda. Not only was he one of the finest goalies of his generation, he definitely has one of the coolest names of all time – probably better suited to a Scorcese gangster film than between the pipes. Does anyone know who drew this cover. Not Harvey stalwart Lee Elias, that’s for sure. Perhaps Bob Powell & Co?

1 comment:

Graeme said...

One thing's for sure, they never saw a picture of Turk Broda. Or the Toronto Maple Leafs logo...