Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sphinx Covers Pt. 2

Here's another batch of Sphinx themed covers:

Let's start off with this rather dynamic cover to Action Comics #240 (May, 1958) . I love the fact that this Sphinx shoots krytonite lasers out of his eyes. The real downside to eradicating kryptonite from the Earth is eliminating stories such as this from Superman's repertoire. The real riddle here is how exactly did this Sphinx get Superman's face? Did Curt Swan travel back in time with chisel in hand? I assume this story was in the first Showcase Presents volume, but I don't remember it at all. I should track down my copy.

Here's a fantastic cover to Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery #44 (December, 1972). We've got a flesh and blood Sphinx here, rather than a mere statue, and it seems to be carrying this rather unfortunate fellow to his doom. After reading the cover blurb, I must admit that committing a murder and blaming it all on the Curse of Bashava does not actually seem all that easy, at least to me. I'll assume that this one is by Gold Key mainstay George Wilson. As a bonus, this issue has one of those toy catalog inserts. I love those!

I've always been a bit of a Larry Lieber apologist, so I point to this cover to Crypt of Shadows #14 (November, 1974) as evidence that the man could really draw. I'm actually not in love with the Sphinx itself, as it's merely so-so. What I really dig are the characters in the foreground, particular the guy on the ground. From his posture, you know with certainty that the dude is dead. This issue reprints a 1950 story from Marvel Tales #96, which sadly did not feature a sphinx on its cover. I also really love the pyramid and palm tree in the background.

The last one for today is this rather atmospheric (and yet still quite ridiculous) cover from Detective Comics #508 (November, 1981). It is a beautifully designed cover by Jim Aparo, that would also qualify as a Wolf Pack cover. These are some particularly menancing looking wolves. The face that he has drawn for the Sphinx is remarkable. I was buying a ton of Batman related books in 1981, but I have absolutely no memory of this particular book. The Pharaoh brings to mind the Aparo-drawn Phantom story from his Charlton days.

Next Up: More Wonder Woman, the Lord of the Apes, an


Hugo Sleestak said...

This is a really interesting theme. Another theme that might be interesting to look at is that of "giant statue comes to life." I know that Marvel used the idea in "It, the Living Colossus," which I think Tony Isabella wrote back in 1973. One of the horror anthologies (wonder if it was Gold Key) featured two giant statues, one black and one gold, which came to life and destroyed each other. I have fond memories of that from when I was a kid (1970?) but I don't know what publication it was in.

Scott M said...

That one does sound vaguely familiar, but nothing springs to mind.

I don't know about statues coming to life, but I will do a 'Toppling Statues' theme in the near future.

Hugo Sleestak said...

Thanks for responding Scott. Just as another "giant statue comes to life" nudge, it seems as if Jack Kirby was always bringing the Easter Island statues to life back in the pre-Marvel Monster era.

Chris Gumprich said...

Ah yes... Detective #508, I remember it well. Bought (for me, not by me) at a convenience store as a treat for being good, along with Marvel's FOR YOUR EYES ONLY #2. Probably one of the first six comics I ever owned.

Well, I remember the circumstances better than the story. Some nut who thought he was a reincarnated pharaoh and Selina Kyle was his reincarnated bride... or something like that.

Scott M said...

Hugo - I've got a whole bunch of Easter Island covers sitting in a folder on my computer. Maybe that's what I should do next - right around Easter time.

That's for the synopsis Chris - doesn't sound like one I'll be tracking down soon.

Guido Rosas said...

Unfortunately, that Superman story is not in the showcase volume. I read it not long ago, and I would definitely remember it. Looks like tons of fun... man, I love weisinger era superman!

Hugo Sleestak said...

Weisinger's Superman is such a dense, poingnant mythology, Guido ... and it was all doled out to kids at 10 and 12 cents a pop. Amazing.

Anonymous said...


Lieber could do nice work at times, although he is very deviriative of Kirby. This is a nice cover, and it doesn't hurt having (uncredited) inking by Tom Palmer.

Nick Caputo