Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Pied Piper Covers Pt. 1

I'm back with another look at theme covers that don't seem to warrant a mention in the Overstreet Guide. This time around, I'm featuring Pied Piper covers, which take a cue from the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin.

I'm going to skip over the Classic Illustrated Junior version and begin with the most famous piper in comics, the on again off again enemy of the Flash. Ok, so this is actually the Golden Age villain who fought Hawkman in the pages of Flash Comics, but I thought this cover to Flash Comics #59 was more of a treat for folks, as it's a rarely seen book. I don't actually know much about this particular villain, but it's obvious that he was an inspiration for the Broome/Infantino creation.

The cover to Captain Marvel Jr. #3 by Mac Raboy shows a theme that we'll see a lot in Pied Piper comics. In these, a hero or villain is playing the pipes and is leading a group of children, rather than rats (although sometimes when my kids are up too early in the morning, I fail to notice the difference). There a nice touch thrown in here, as the boys (I don't actually see any girls in the parade) are clutching copies of Captain Marvel Jr. and Master Comics. This is a truly iconic Fawcett cover.

Let's take a 'trip' down memory lane with Gilbert Shelton's cover to Adventures of Fat Freddy's Cat #7. While FF's Cat (and by that, I don't mean to imply that it lives in the Baxter Building) doesn't seem to think much of the music, the kids are absolutely nuts for it. Perhaps they've discovered a special field of mushrooms in the forest. In any event, this Piper is definitely leading this kids down the path to temptation nowhere. This is really fun stuff, and it's nice to include some underground comix here every now and then.

Replace rats with warships and you've got the cover to House of Mystery #32. This Bill Ely cover from 1954 is a bit ACGish, and maybe that's why I still like it. Green really seems to be the colour of choice for so many of these villains/creatures (especially at ACG). I probably don't need to tell you that this was an Otto Binder concept. It upsets me that the DC Showcase Presents series doesn't reprint some of these series from the very beginning as there are plenty of kooky stories that I'd like to read without spending the big bucks.

This is just the beginning folks, as I've got another handful of Pied Piper Covers lined up for tomorrow.

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