Monday, August 18, 2008

Human Target Covers

There's nothing quite as humiliating as being used for target practice. There are a ton of 'bondage cover' collectors out there, but I wondered how many focus on the 'human target' sub genre. There are many more of these covers than you might think. Let's look at a few:

Perhaps it's best to begin with the obvious. A character called Bullseye is most likely going to wind up on the wrong end of the bow and arrow from time to time. Kirby's great cover to Bullseye #3 is a real eye catcher. I've always found Bullseye's red costume to be a bit garish, but it works pretty well here. I just love the sheer variety of weaponry being tossed at the target. By my count, he's already had 9 attempts on his life. It's almost as if the bad guys are trying to miss. The fire in the foreground almost seems little putting salt on the wound.

After browsing through her cover gallery, it occurred to me that Wonder Woman has been the 'target' of more villains than just about any other hero. The cover to Wonder Woman #196 is one of my favourites because it is just sooooo over the top. Just how many times was Ms. Prince tied up in the early 70s? Although this Mike Sekowsky cover may not be as sought after as the later Russ Jones bondage covers, it may be the best human target cover I've ever encountered.

I don't own any Jerry Lewis comics, but if I did buy one, this would be it. This cover to Jerry Lewis #102 (by Neal Adams, no less) has so much going on that it makes me a bit dizzy. I may be dizzy, but Dr. Wertham is certainly spinning in his grave. Uncle Hal looks like he's auditioning for the 'Camp Cousellor from the Village People'. And with my jaded 21st century hindsight, the name 'Camp Wack a Boy' seems like a class action lawsuit waiting to happen. I'll just leave it at that.

There really is a Tomahawk cover for ever occasion, as proven by this Bob Brown cover to Tomahawk #97. It has a slightly different perspective than the other selections, but it really work here to help build the suspense. Folks, this here is pure DC Silver Age goodness - how could any kid pass up this book? I love 'target shooting' as plot device. I haven't seen it used this well since Errol Flynn was trying to impress Olivia de Havilland back in 1938.


M W Gallaher said...

My favorite is Mr. Miracle #7, which you might recall as my 2nd favorite single issue from the '05 CBR Classic Comics Christmas! Despite its awkardly close-ranged firing squad and its unlikely mechanical design, it's a winner of a cover. But then, bulls-eyes are natural eye-catchers, aren't they? The only surprise is that they weren't used just as often as DC's classic cover themes.

Benday-Dot said...

Another interesting one is Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #120.

File it under target covers, but cross refeence it under bondage. I recall reading in an issue of Alter Ego, I believe, the original pencils for this cover showed some phallic object dangling from Lois' belt, and down between her legs. Obviously it was whited out in production, but Giordano or Oksner (who may have had a hand in it) must have been feeling cheeky that day. --- Craig