Monday, May 27, 2013

An Evening at the Improv Covers

Take a brick wall, throw a spotlight against an you're left with either mullet-based comedy (I'm looking at both of you, Jeff Foxworthy and Rosie O'Donnell) or a dramatic comic book cover. Let's take a look at a few examples of the latter.

Crime Must Pay the Penalty #5 (December, 1948) is a perfect example of this type of cover. It looks straight out of a film noir, and I can envisions someone like Robert Ryan or Robert Mitchum striking this pose. I am not sure who drew this particular cover. I know that Rudy Palais did many of the early covers for this series, but if this is his work, someone else came in to do the inking. Good stuff.

The fantastic team of John Buscema and Ernie Chan visit the pages of Marvel's non-canon sandbox with the cover to What If? #13 (February, 1979). I love this one as it has a good pre-Giuliani NYC vibe to it and is date stamped by the Star Wars poster on the wall. I was a big What If? fan as a kid, but I don't think I have ever read this particular issue. I will keep an eye out for a copy.

I have discussed Marvel Treasury Edition #18 (1978) on here before, but I would be remiss if I did not include it in this group of covers. It is an exceptionally awesome image by Bob Budiansky, inked by Mr. Chan. I think that Budiansky is unheralded, or at least under heralded, in terms of cover designs. This one is simply fantastic. The back cover is just as cool, with the issues bad guys caught in a Spidey spotlight.

Metal Men covers have always been a little 'out there', but everything was kicked up a notch during their 'disguised as humans' era. Mike Sekowsky handled the pencilling chores for the final year or two of Metal Men covers, and this is among his best.  Metal Men #39 (August-September, 1969) has a whole lot going on, but the reader still get the Phantom/Hunchback vibe that is at the heart of the story inside.

I will leave off with this brilliant cover to Blackhawk #272 (September, 1984) by the always underappreciated Dan Spiegle. The use of colour,  or lack thereof, is key to this one as it almost comes across like a Jack Adler grey tone cover. I have sung the praises of this run by Mark Evanier and Dan Spiegle before, but if you have not given this series a chance I encourage you to head to your nearest back issue bin as soon as possible. Looking at this cover, I see its beauty but I can understand how it got lost on the spinner racks back in '84.


Anonymous said...

This comic came to mind whilst reading today's blog entry.

Scott Lovrine aka Cherokee Jack

Scott M said...

Great choice! There are some other good ones out there - let's find them!

diana green said...

The Evanier/Speigle Blackhawk series is so overlooked! The run bought humanity and depth to the characters, while respecting the high adventure tone of the original stories. Some great backup stories too- the service diaries and such. Thanks for posting it!

David Morefield said...

That Marvel Treasury Edition cover is almost certainly an homage to the "Band on the Run" album cover:

Four-Color Kid said...

I second the motion on the Evanier/Spiegle awesomeness that is their BLACKHAWK run.

Plus, they were so many interesting guest artists, among the best of the old timer adventure veterans: John Severin, Doug Wildey, and Alex Toth!

Scott M said...

Agreed re. Blackhawk

The first ever 'Reprint This' I wrote on here 5 years ago was about Blackhawk.

Dan S. said...

Great theme! Here's one I remembered: