Friday, November 27, 2009

Marionette Covers

Bob Marley once begged his lover not to treat him 'like a puppet on a string', but that shouldn't be the case for comic book covers, as they make for an awesome design. Let's take a look at a few nice examples.

An earlier version of a Marionette cover is All-Star Comics #42 (Winter 1944-45). I know next to nothing about cover artist Joe Gallagher, but I do like his cover design, if not the final execution. There is a real air of mystery to this cover, and those giant hands appear to be something out of the Twilight Zone, or from the "Who Mourns for Adonais?" episode of Star Trek. I dig the figure work, but the faces are a bit sloppy for my tastes, and I think the cover would do with about half the question marks. The story, 'Plunder of the Psycho-Pirate' is one of my favourite JSA tales from this era.

Another early Marionette Cover is Bomber Comics #3 (fall, 1944), starring Kismet, Man of Fate and Wonder Boy (who?). I know absolutely nothing about Elliot Publishing, but I will say that this is a very attractive cover, although I can't quite place the artist. Does anyone have any ideas. There's a lot of other weird stuff going on here, including a ghost and an 'Ebony-type' character, named Sunshine. I believe this title reprinted a lot of Quality Comics stories, so maybe there is a connection to Busy Arnold. Apparently, these have also got Classic Comics ads in them. A true Golden Age oddity.

Much more mainstream is the cover to Star Spangled Comics #94 (July, 1949) from the Batman and Robin era of the title. It is drawn with great panache by the always under appreciated Jim Mooney. I love the fact that the puppeteer thug is so into his work that he has not noticed the approaching Dynamic Duo. I'm actually not sure what these guys are doing wrong - perhaps puppet shows were illegal in 1940s Gotham City. I also find it interesting that DC used the phrase 'Danger Trail' in reference to the Tomahawk strip. I wonder when that term was first used. I seem to recall DC having a Danger Trail ashcan predating the actual series. Does that ring a bell with anyone?

Here's my favourite of the bunch, Gene Colan's cover to Heart Throbs #96 (June-July, 1965). I like romance covers that play around with the power balance (or imbalance) of relationships, and this one is a great example. Many covers from this period in DC Romance history were taken from interior splashes. I have the next issue (#97) and the Colan cover is simply a reprint of a Colan splash page. My guess is that the interior story may be misattributed to Mike Sekowsky at the GCD. I certainly would love to get my hands on a copy of this book and see how to turn a man into an 'Obedient Puppet'.


Jacque Nodell said...

That is a fantastic romance cover! Rather unexpected!!!

Sam Henderson said...

My new thing is the 'dying victim with a friend crying' cover which I just put on my own blog. If anyone collects 'about to fall in a manhole' covers, they should contact me too.

Ed said...

It would have been interesting if thta had been the title of the Tomahawk story, but according to the GCD, the Tomahawk story wss "The Twentieth Century Tomahawk." Still, that's a bit ironic in light of the 1950 Danger Trail series.

That's the only one I've ever heard of, LR,...hadn' even realized they'd updated it in 1993.

Maybe someone was leafing through old comics for inspiration when looking for a title for the King Faraday book.