Friday, March 27, 2015

Thank You for Being a Friend (Sort of)... Comic Book Cover Love



Doug: See, I told you I'd get back to the guest-star covers! It just took a little while. And why, you might ask? If you'll recall, the Groovy Agent himself took a shine to our little drill that day. Offline, we got together and started plotting a follow-up. Today's the fruit of that planning and labor. So, if you're landing here from Ol' Groove's blog, then we say "Welcome!" If, however, we happen to be your first stop on this Friday, then please exit these premises once finished and get yourself over to Diversions of the Groovy Kind for our companion piece.

Doug: Groove suggested that we split up all of the suggestions that our readers on the BAB had made back on February 25th, and then add to them. We drew lots, and your hosts landed on DC. No sweat -- we're going to look at some classic characters. You'll get your Marvel fix once you visit our partner's production.

Doug: I'll be honest -- I really thought there'd be a line, a definite demarcation between the sorts of covers we'd get featuring guest-stars in Marvel mags versus what we'll see today from the Distinguished Competition. But you know what? Those kids from National can't get along any better than the upstarts from the House of Ideas! So to tip this thing off, let's go ahead and examine some very Marvel-centric covers:



 

Doug: Next up we have covers where the superheroes actually seem to be collaborating. This is what I thought I'd find in abundance. Obviously I didn't do any sort of comprehensive search, but I did spend an hour or so looking through the files at Cover Browser. The main problem with DCs in the Silver and Bronze Ages is that so many of their big name heroes were relegated to the anthology books, or to back-up status in their main titles (like Detective Comics and Adventure Comics). It was tough to find anything in today's genre with Green Lantern, Hawkman, and so on. But again -- this isn't any sort of exhaustive display today.

Doug: Lastly, we have two covers that were nominated the first time we featured this genre. I guess I'd say that the affected characters are just together -- not really collaborating or really even interacting. But they're occupying the same space for sales purposes (one might assume).



Doug: So there you have it -- 23 covers that show the gamut of guest-starring at DC Comics in the Silver and Bronze Ages. While I don't know that any of these covers are as dynamic as what you'll find on Groove's blog today, there's no doubt that any youngster pulling one of these babies from the spinner racks would have felt like he or she was definitely going to get a bit more bang for the buck. Or quarter...

17 comments:

Redartz said...

Wow, that's a lot of cool covers! Interesting how many of them featured Wonder Woman. Perhaps she was a popular companion at the time ,or she had trouble getting along with others...

The Groovy Agent said...

Love the title of this post, Doug! You picked some fabuloso covers. Flash/Superman, Titans/JLA, Batman/Shadow, and Superman/Batgirl I especially dug! I love the way you grouped your covers, too. I think there are still plenty "team-up" covers where we can revisit this topic at least a few more times.

Loved working with you on these posts. We'll have to team-up again!

Edo Bosnar said...

Yes, definitely a wonderful collection of covers, and I agree with Groove (as I also commented on his site) about the team-up idea.

My personal favorite here is that Batman/Ragman cover for Batman Family #20 - really nice work by Starlin (who did a lot of really nice covers for DC around that time). Also, I really like Wonder Woman #300, but then I've always been a sucker for those lovely wrap-around covers that DC put on its anniversary issues in the early '80s.

Humanbelly said...

Detective 404, Batman 253, Wonder Woman 4, and the Challengers of the Unknown covers all would have had me plunking down my meager allowance. Geeze, I kind of covet them even from this glance. Beautiful covers.

I don't think I ever noticed how inconsistently the pointy ears on Batman's cowl have been depicted-! Geeze, Jim Starlin was really going for the full "auditory navigational organs" effect, wasn't he? Heh--

And there's still a little bit of DC Dumbness on display, even here. The ladies apparently "fighting" over the presumed affections of the abominable snowman (which I'm sure wasn't exactly the whole story inside)? The "Oh, what a pickle of a predicament" of Flash/Supes switching bodies tease? Superman literally stomped into the ground by a grade-Z mechanism from the Junk Man? Ha-- god bless ya, ol' DC-!

HB

Doug said...

Thanks, Groove! I find the Batgirl cover intriguing as well.

My least favorite cover in the display is Action #455. Not because the action (pun intended) in the center of the cover is poorly executed, but because the guest stars are shown while they are still two city blocks away from being able to help Supes!

Doug

Anonymous said...

What, HB, you mean to say you've never read Supergirl 7?
If I recall correctly, that cover combines two story elements so, yeah, its fair to say its not entirely accurate. But that was common back then, no? Particularly when a comic had a guest star, so its probably true of a fair few shown here (more so with Marvel maybe?)

Misleading covers - that's a whole post in itself.

-sean

Garett said...

Supergirl had some pretty nice covers by Bob Oksner. Wonder Woman also had some good covers around this time of her new look, by Giordano with a couple by Jeff Jones. I like that Batman Family cover by Starlin, especially when you see the full wraparound cover:
Batman Family 20

I've never liked the look of Hawk and Dove. Seems too obvious of a contrast, with each costume being weak. Creeper's furry cape thing is more appealing than Hawk's pointy cape.

Teen Titans vs JLA--yes!! Buckler had some nice covers, and this Challengers one is good, also sparks curiosity for the unusual cast here. Kaluta on Batman/Shadow--great. Kaluta was a great cover artist, but I'm trying to think of actual series I've read of his.

Detective with Manhunter and Batman, by Aparo--yes!! A Brave + Bold teamup with these characters would've been great, or even a solo Manhunter series by Aparo.

Humanbelly said...

That is an excellent idea for a post, Sean-! Doug, Karen-- you guys jottin' this down on the whiteboard next to the metaphorical water-cooler?

Sean, sean, sean-- I was going to give you grief about outing yourself as a Supergirl reader. . . and then I realized that I know NOTHING about her old book, so who the heck am I to judge? It may indeed be the holy grail of forgotten comic gems. . . ! Why, I may don a Supergirl t-shirt myself. . . uhm, if I can find one anywhere. . .

HB

Doug said...

I was actually really thinking about Sean's idea, and then realized that it's the perfect reader-participation idea. All of us would come to such a prompt with our own levels of disappointment.

So maybe someday we'll open it up, and then do a follow-up where we actually show the covers. We shall see!

Doug

J.A. Morris said...

That Wonder Woman cover is my favorite of the bunch. Ed Hannigan truly was a master of cover art.

Anonymous said...

HB, HB, HB-- What, don't you like girls?
Yes, out and... well, lets just say out - I wouldn't want to give the impression that Supergirl is some sort of holy grail of forgotten classics, but yeah, I have a soft spot for the maid of might.
Put it down to being the sort of kid who really liked reading comics but had to deal with distribution as it was in the 70s... my theory is that across the Atlantic we got all the comics that didn't sell well in the 70s.

-sean

Anonymous said...

Don't know what I did there - to be clear, that comment should have ended as "didn't sell well in the US"

-sean

Humanbelly said...

A bit of an "it's all we had" situation, then, sean? Sort of like how we used to have to make do w/ some pretty questionable superhero tv & movie fare back in the 60's and 70's.

But hey, I am going to stand SHOULDER-TO-SHOULDER with you and bravely proclaim that I have the entire run of She-Hulk's first series. And that, yes, the art wasn't stellar and the story arcs were hokey & inconsistent, and yet. . . I was still undeniably fond of it.

There. There. . . I feel better. . . as if a great had been lifted. . .

HB

Martinex1 said...

I like both covers with the Creeper. I have a couple of Creeper comics, but don't know much about him. I like the crazy look though.

I also like the Wonder Woman with the Gray Mouser even if Wonder Woman is in her other costume.

I have to say I don't think I ever knew there was a time that Detective Comics was subtitled "Batman and Batgirl".

Anonymous said...

Yes, HB... except I don't want that to sound like a complaint. At the time it was annoying to see ads in comics for stuff that looked great while knowing the chances of finding a copy were zero. .
But besides Supergirl, it meant that I read things like OMAC (the only first issue I ever found on sale - and what a comic that was!!) and Killraven that otherwise I might not have picked up. So, in retrospect, not so bad.

As for superheroes on film and tv back then... Lynda Carter forever!

I'll also out myself as having a bit of a soft spot for WW's other costume.

-sean

Forbush said...

You know, I never thought about it before but DC sure had a diverse range of covers way back when.

benjaminherman said...

Detective Comics #443... now THAT is a classic team-up! Archie Goodwin & Walter Simonson conclude their epic Manhunter saga with an appearance by the Dark Knight! And regular Batman artist Jim Aparo contributes a dynamic cover to top it off. Great stuff!

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