Friday, January 08, 2010

Skiing Covers

I love to ski. I spent many years of my life racing or searching out the steep and deep. These days, I spend most of my time on the bunny hill, skiing backwards trying to keep my four year old son upright. Skiing has proven to be quite a popular theme for comic book covers over the years. Here are a few of the more unusual skiing covers that I have come across:

I love this cover from Blue Beetle #28 (December, 1943) because it shows just how much confidence is running through Dan Garrett's veins. One rifle against 3 tanks? I like those odds. I am not sure who drew this particular cover, but it is quite stylish - particularly as compared to some of the other Blue Beetle covers from this period. The bindings on his skis are much more advanced than one normally sees on superhero skis (see Batman's skiing adventures in the early 80s). Assuming there are no chair lifts in sight, this may be the first appearance of heli-skiing in comics.

Here's a pretty dramatic cover from Daredevil #23 (April, 1944) from Charles Biro. Daredevil seems to be in pretty deep trouble, but it looks as though the Little Wise Guys on are their way to rescue him. How did those guys learn to ski? I imagine working class kids did not get many opportunities to hit the slopes in the early 40s, but I could be wrong. Daredevil's bindings are far less advanced than Blue Beetle's, and to tell you the truth, I haven't a clue how someone could carve a turn with those. Sadly, I don't think DD's Marvel counterpart has ever been featured on a skiing cover.

Here is one of my absolute favourites: Lovers #31 (January, 1951). According to Nick Caputo at Atlas Tales, this cover may have been drawn by Christopher Rule, and I am not going to dispute that. I love the action! I love the drama! It is probably not a good idea to get into a lover's spat at the top of a mountain. I imagine that ski poles were seen as a fashion accessory in the early 50s, as neither of these two are gripping their poles. I also cannot believe that Sally isn't wearing goggles, or at least that welding visor that her (ex?) boyfriend is wearing. I also cannot believe that this guy chose to use the word 'precipice' in the middle of a ski chase, rather than simply 'cliff'. Probably an Ivy League stiff; Sally is better off without him.

Say goodbye to your hat, Don! The cover to Don Winslow of the Navy #31 (December, 1946) is a lot of fun. I'm no avalanche expert, but I don't think they typically come in the shape of a perfectly formed giant snowball. At least Don seems to be putting his poles to good use. I don't know who was responsible for the Don Winslow covers during this period, but they are quite stylish. I don't think it's Bud Thompson or Marc Swayze, but they certain have that polished Fawcett house look. It strikes me as odd that so many of Don Winslow's adventures take place on land.

I'll sign off with this rather funny cover from Straight Arrow #47 (July, 1955). I just can't get over the fact that Straight Arrow's plan is to jump the chasm, grab the child at the midway point and land safely on the other side. His confidence rivals that of Blue Beetle. I'm also not sure how he managed to strap on his skis, make it down the hill we see in the distance and jump the chasm in the same amount of time it took this kid to fall out of the tree. I don't know much about Fred Meagher, but he did draw some very entertaining covers. I have only just noticed how Magazine Enterprises had the comic's title running down the spine. I guess this helped readers spot in on the shelves if it was partially blocked by other books.


Cerebus said...

Gotta love the mistletoe on the Blue Beetle cover. A few color changes and the same scene could take place on a beach in the summer.

edtonner said...

Very appropriate theme. I also liked Orlando's ski cover on "Swing with Scooter" issue #11.

Jacque Nodell said...

There are a ton of romance stories that have skiing in them. I don't think I could stay as beautiful as those girls while careening down a mountain!

Dan said...

And who can forget Sgt. Fury #32? Certainly not me!

Scott M said...

Dan, unfortunately Sgt. Fury and all of the Howlers are sitting waaaay to far back on their skis. They won't have enough control to outmanoeuvre the Nazis. Dum Dum has the best form, by far.

Dan said...

Which suggests that Dick Ayers knows as much about proper skiing form as I do -- absolutely zero.