Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wrap Around Snake Covers

Snakes have been portrayed as villains ever since the Garden of Eve. These woefully misunderstood creatures have often been use on comic book covers as a cheap sales gimmick. Often they are shown trying to squeeze the life out of the title's hero. What poor, helpless serpent would ever do that? So, in an effort to raise awareness of the poor treatment of our serpentine friends, let me present some of the more exploitative examples of Wrap Around Snake Covers.

Wrap Around Snake Covers are almost as old as the comic book industry itself. The cover to Adventure Comics #36 from 1939 was once attributed to industry legend Creig Flessel, but that has since be revised and John Richard Flanagan has been credited for this fine cover. If you are planning on jumping on the bandwagon to assemble a complete collection of these cover, get ready to take out a second mortgage to buy this one. The Edgar Church copy sold in 2002 for $5,500 at Heritage Auctions. How much would that go for today? The fact that they haven't sold one since then speaks to its scarcity.

Although I had never heard of John Richard Flanagan, the folks at Victor Fox's studio were certainly big fans for this cover to Frank Buck #3. Or perhaps Mr. Buck, of Bring 'Em Back Alive fame, simply said "You know that cover from Adventure Comics #36? Well, the exact same thing happened to me once, except their was a local woman looking for my autograph in the background and a series of Wally Wood drawing below me". Considering the close range shot he's taking, I'm wondering if Frank Buck wouldn't have been better off simply cramming the gun into the snake's mouth. Obviously, he didn't bring this one back alive.

Conan and big snakes go hand in hand, but he hasn't actually been wrapped up that many times. Earl Norem produced so many gorgeous painted covers for Marvel during the Bronze Age. The cover to Savage Sword of Conan #46 has got everything you need to sell a book to a 13 year old geek. Busty Babe? Check. Skulls on posts? Check? Giant snake? Strange druidy wizard guy? Check. Incredibly muscular hunk who sends mixed messages to you loins? Check. You simply can't go wrong with an Earl Norem cover.

I've saved my favourite for last. Whenever I come up with a new comic book cover sub genre, I always check in with Kamandi because like Wonder Woman and the ACG titles, he is usually ready to represent. Kamandi #48 is from the post-Kirby era, and while many people feels that Kamandi is a ship worth abandoning after Jack's departure, I think that there is some great stuff in there. Ernie Chan was the 'go to' guy at DC for covers during this period, and while I'm not the biggest fan, I'll admit that this is a very dynamic cover. The more I think about it, the more similarities I see between Kamandi and Jack Bauer from 24. They both live in these worlds where each passing hour brings a new calamity. I haven't watch the past few seasons - has Jack taken on a big snake?

Anyone else have any favourite Wrap Around Snake Covers?

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