Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pied Piper Covers Pt. 2

I'm back with round 2 of Pied Piper covers. I've just noticed that these 4 covers were all published by DC within a relatively short period of time.

Let's start this one off with a cover that I've always found to be quite chilling. I must have first encountered the cover to Phantom Stranger #30. Although I'm a big fan of Aparo's Phantom Stranger, Luis Dominguez does a very nice job here. I think the reason it's so spooky is that it is a very 'quiet' cover - definitely not the fashion of the day in 1974. The children are in full automaton mode as the cross the bridge. There's also a nice combination of modern and medieval The flames coming out of the demon's bugle is a nice touch. Something is wrong with the Phantom Stranger himself, though. Is it the hat?

Let's move on to Our Army at War #215, featuring another classic Joe Kubert cover. While Neal Adams was producing a lot of CiP covers (Children in Peril), it appears that Joe had a preference for CwP covers (Children with Pipes). It's a nice cover, and the Nazi has a real creepiness to him, but I really prefer my Pied Piper children to form into a nice straight, single file line. I thought the Nazis were all about organization and conformity.The caption box at the bottom left really interferes with the overall impact of the cover.

I guess there were already too many Pied Pipers on Earth, so one had to move to Pluto for Mystery in Space #110. Only the most forgiving (or ironic) comic book reader has much love for Ultra, the Multi-Alien. I love a goofy story and I'm a huge Lee Elias fan, but I just can't get into Ultra. Mystery in Space was such a shining star for DC for so many years and it's a bit sad that the series ended on such flat note. Murphy Anderson produced some wonderful sci-fi covers for DC in the Silver Age. This was not one of them.

I've saved a true classic for the grand finale; Nick Cardy's wonderful cover to Superboy #190. Ok, so he's playing a pan flute, a la Zamfir, but it's still a Pied Piper Cover. Superboy, in classic Superdickery mode, is sending these kids to a watery grave. Again, we're dealing with an 'all boys' brigade, a trend dating all the way back to that Captain Marvel Jr. cover. I've never heard of Camp Bravo, I'm certainly not sending my kids there. How many crazy camps have existedin the DCU? If the cover alone wasn't enough to entice you - there's a great early Cockrum Legion story inside.

1 comment:

Johnny B said...

Dominguez (who hadn't done a lot for DC at the time, as I recall) didn't get the Stranger's cape collar right either, which I'm sure did nothing to please fans (like me) who were still mourning the loss of Len Wein and Jim Aparo five issues ago. Still, I agree, that's an effective cover.