Hey, kiddie-winkies! Filed under "careful what you ask for"... Back when we did our last comic book covers post ("Carry On..."), I remarked early in the comments section that it should fall on Martinex1 to shoot us another $1 Challenge as a follow-up to the characters-carrying-characters idea. Wait until you look below and see what the poor guy put himself through! I know you'll stand with me in saying "Great job, partner!"
Mike S: In February, Doug had hosted a post about comic covers and the frequency in which a hero carries another character, toting them along like a sack of potatoes. As he indicated, a subset of those types of covers is the “dead hero” motif. At some point along the way and picked up on the Internet, this cover layout capturing a moment of grief has come to be known as the “Pieta Cover” because of its similarity and reference to Michelangelo’s great work. The most famous examples of the bunch may be X-Men #136 (John Byrne art; cover dated August 1980) and Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 (George Perez art; cover dated October 1985). The first Marvel Graphic Novel, The Death of Captain Marvel, (Jim Starlin; April 1982) also employed the theme and mirrored the classic sculpture more closely with a seated and robed Death holding Mar-Vell whereas other examples have a central character standing and holding the injured, unconscious, or dying victim.
Following Doug’s post, I had set out to create an “If I Had a Buck” post based on covers with the Pieta design. Little did I know how daunting a task that would be. As I explored examples, I was quickly overwhelmed and astounded by how frequently and often the pose occurs. I decided to drop the $1 Challenge this time because I didn’t think it could do justice to the magnitude of the repetitious covers and I wanted to share the findings.
There are many spots on the internet that cover the topic, but I have yet to find an all-inclusive list. A special acknowledgement goes to the great Mike’s Amazing World of Comics site where I was able to dig deep on my archival hunt. My catalog grew so quickly, that I decided to focus just on DC covers (and I am absolutely sure I have not found all of the occurrences yet). My favorites are the two Lois Lane issues which went to the racks only about 30 months apart. I have no idea when the trend started; my earliest example is Batman # 156 (June 1963). It is up to you to find the countless examples from Marvel and other publishers (a coveted BAB no-prize for other DC covers and for the earliest cover date). So without further ado, with a tip of the hat to Michelangelo, enjoy the DC procession of pietas.
Adventures of Superman #567 (Tom Grummett; May 1999)
Batman #156 (Sheldon Moldoff; June 1963)
Brave and the Bold #84 (Neal Adams; June 1969)
Captain Action #3 (Gil Kane; February 1969)
Captain Atom #8 (Pat Broderick; October 1987)
Captain Atom #44 (Pat Broderick; August 1990)
Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 (George Perez; October 1985)
DC Comics Presents #56 (Gil Kane; April 1983)
Detective Comics #574 (Alan Davis; May 1987)
Firestorm #21 (Jamal Igle; March 2006)
Flash #305 (Carmine Infantino; January 1982)
Freedom Fighters #5 (Rich Buckler; November 1976)
Legion of Super-Heroes #296 (Keith Giffen; February 1983)
Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane #102 (Curt Swan; July 1970)
Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane #128 (Robert Oksner; December 1972)
Major Bummer #12 (Doug Mahnke; July 1998)
Our Army At War #167 (Joe Kubert; May 1966)
Supergirl #79 (Ed Benes; April 2003)
Superman: The Man of Steel #10 (Jon Bogdanove; April 1992)
Tales of the Teen Titans #45 (George Perez; August 1984)
Tomahawk #121 (Neal Adams; March 1969)
Valor #18 (Stuart Immonen; April 1994)