Thursday, November 25, 2010

Chrysler Building Covers

The Chrysler Building is my favourite building in the world or, at the very least, my favourite 20th century building. In NYC, it is often overshadowed (literally and figuratively) by the Empire State Building. While the Empire State Building has King Kong and An Affair To Remember, the Chrysler Building has to settle for Q: The Winged Serpent. Comic book covers with Chrysler Building Covers are much less common than those with Empire State Building Covers, but they are out there. Here are some examples:

Probably the most famous Chrysler Building Cover wasn't even in the original run of covers. The cover to the initial Watchmen TPB featured the Chrysler Building, as seen through the Comedian's broken window. This cover was used for a while, but I think it was replaced by the Have a Nice Day cover at some point. I'll leave it to some Watchmen scholar to fill in the details as to which edition have what cover. I know we've got one of each in the SOTI household.

Keeping with the 'End Is Nigh' theme, check out this cover to Atomic War #1. What a warm and fuzzy book to bring home to your kids. Ace Periodicals had some pretty intense covers during the early 50s, but this one likely takes the cake. If you wanted to give your kids nightmares, just package this book together with a copy of Ace's World War III #1. I have no idea who drew this one, but the message was certainly delivered. As I understand the story revolves around the US military seeking vengeance for the destruction of New York, Chicago and Detroit. Fun.

The thing about Chrysler Building covers, is that many of them also qualify as Empire State Building Covers. Much like the Atomic War cover, Murphy Anderson's cover to Strange Adventures #13 also includes the Empire State Building. In fact, it has most of Manhattan's skyline is on display here including Yankee Stadium, the UN Building and the Statue of Liberty. You know, comic books were certainly New York-centric back in the day (still are, I guess), but can you blame them?

Here's my favourite Chrysler Building cover. There are quite a few reasons that I love the cover to Mighty Samson #18 it. First of all, the Chrysler Building is front and centre and not confined to a supporting role like on so many other covers. Secondly, I love painted covers and this one is gorgeous. I assume that it was painted by George Wilson, and he did a wonderful job here, especially with the vibrant covers. Finally, I love the use of the Chrysler Building in a post-apocalyptic world, the next logic step after the mid-apocalypse themes in the previous three covers. The vegetation climbing up the side is a very nice touch.

Finally, we come to Detective Comics #558. What? You ask. How can the Chrysler Building exist in Gotham City? Well, it's the DCU version of the art deco masterpiece known as the Ardeco Building (clever, huh?). In this tale, Julian Marsh plays the King Kong role, and the Ardeco Building fills in for the Empire State Building. I guess that makes Nocturna (or lack thereof) Fay Wray. Anyhow, none of these 'top of the building' stories ever end well as gravity always wins (Oops! Spoiler Alert). There are more Chrysler Buidling Covers out there folks, so keep you eyes peeled.


Matthew Johnson said...

Don't forget the covers featuring Scott McCloud's Dekko, from Zot!

GarBut said...

Good thing Robin's got Batman's cape, and not his briefs. That would be the ultimate wedgie.

diana green said...

Was that a Chrysler building pastiche on that infamous early Dark Knight Returns poster?
Cool topic!

Anonymous said...

2nd vote for Dekko, the Walking Chrystler Building!