Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sphinx Covers Pt. 3

Here's a third and final look at some fun Sphinx covers. I find it interesting just how many of these turned out to be DC covers:

The cover to Mystery in Space is one of those real head scratchers that DC produced in the 50s. At least they acknowledge the overall weirdness to Mystery in Space #26 (February March, 1957) by challenging the reader to solve the 'Secret of the Space Sphinx'. It is a well designed Gil Kane cover, given a light wash treatment by Jack Adler. The spacesuits are very reminiscent of Space Ranger's costume. There a lot of black here, so I imagine that this one is tough to track down in nice shape. This one does not quite fit into the category of 'Iconic DC Sci-Fi Covers of the 50s', but it sure is close.

The second Wonder Woman related entry is a real stunner. Wonder Woman #113 (April, 1960) is a great example of Ross Andru's masterful design. Even though it features a Sphinx shooting lasers out of its eyes, this one is actually fairly subtle as compared to other Wonder Woman covers from the 60s. I really like the shade of grey chosen for the Sphinx, as well as Wonder Woman's posture as she flees. This particular Sphinx is lucky to have its nose still intact. All of this lunacy and 'Wonder Girl's Birthday Party'? Who could ask for more in a comic book?

It's Joe Kubert turn at the plate, with the cover to Tarzan #237 (May, 1975). I'm no ERB expert, but my understand is that Tarzan's main domain was the jungles off the west coast of Africa. I have travelled through a handful of West African countries and don't recall seeing any Sphinxes or anything with an Egyptian vibe. I have not read this one, so let's assume the story (which is a cobbling together of Russ Manning newspaper strips) takes place in Egypt. This 'Stone Sphinx' looks like some sort of Golem-type creature, much smaller in stature than most of the Sphinxes we've seen on most of these covers. Something here just doesn't work for me. I think that it's the coloring job, as the Sphinx gets a bit lost in the blue-green background.

Recognize this cover to Strange Adventures #230 (May-June, 1971)? You should, because it is a reworking of the cover to Mystery in Space #36. Fans of DC sci-fi will be very familiar will the 're-imagining' of classic covers in this series, as well as From Beyond the Unknown. The great Murphy Anderson was handed this assignment more often than not, and he succeeded with flying colours here. The basic design is a xerox, but there are some nice tweaks. The rocket itself has been updated, and the spacesuits are much more in line with what NASA was issuing to the crew of the Apollo missions. The downside to many of these covers is that the art is squeezed out by the titles and side captions, but that was life in the early Bronze Age.

1 comment:

Thelonious_Nick said...

Sphinxes shooting beams or lasers out of their eyes seems to be a sub-genre unto itself....