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Cover Stories by Jon B. Knutson
Jon Knutson presents comic book covers with a common theme
and relates any information and comments about them.

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COVER STORIES for 07/24/2005

Welcome to this eleventh edition of "Cover Stories," in which I look at a number of comics covers with a common theme!

Today's theme is called "A G-G-G-Ghost!" (with apologies to decades of Casper cartoons)... and I'd imagine you can guess what I'm featuring! Of course, ghosts on comic book covers could be any of a number of things... they could be actual ghosts, they could be phony ghosts, they could even be there in a purely symbolic role!

Action Comics 379

This cover features a symbolic ghost, depicting "The Eliminator." Now, my memory could be faulty, and it's been some years since I read this story, but I believe the story involved the Eliminator making a threat against Superman's life, and the subsequent measures taken to save the Man of Steel's life. Kind of a bizarre story, as Superman doesn't usually hide from his foes, eh?

Of course, I could be completely misremembering.

This cover featured Curt Swan pencils and Neal Adams inks. The story inside, "The Eliminator!" was written by Leo Dorfman, with art by Curt Swan and Jack Abel. Also appearing in this issue were the Legion of Super-Heroes in "One of Us is an Imposter!" by E. Nelson Bridwell, Win Mortimer and Murphy Anderson.

Adventure Comics 283

OK, so this isn't technically a "ghost" in the sense most of us think of it... rather, it's a Phantom, but darn it, one can't have enough Phantom Zone covers to look at, right? This was actually milestone issue of Adventure Comics, as this story featured the first appearance of the Phantom Zone! Basically, the story is spelled out on the cover... save for how Superboy gets himself out of this mess!

This cover was by Curt Swan with Stan Kaye inks. The feature story, "The Phantom Superboy," was written by Robert Bernstein with art by George Papp. This story was reprinted in Superboy 165.

Also in this issue were a Shorty filler by Henry Boltinoff, Congorilla in "Lion with the Double Identity" by Howard Sherman, and a Little Pete filler by Henry Boltinoff.

Adventures into the Unknown 25

OK, before I get into talking about this cover... when I began collecting covers in a theme long ago (long story... I started collecting these themes before I even approached webmeister Justin about doing this column), I was absolutely floored by the incredible variety of themes that I could fit covers into from comics published by the American Comics Group. While they're probably best known for the classic Herbie stories, they produced some very interesting horror comics, too!

Take Adventures Into the Unknown here... now, is this a ghost or what??? Not only is he obviously spectral, but he looks like some bizarre combination of the Frankenstein monster (the pose is even reminiscent of a publicity photo I recall seeing of Boris Karloff as the monster), but there's also the zombie-like features, plus the clawed fingernails!

I tell you, if I saw something like this creeping up behind me, I don't think I would even try to use the gun the cover's hero is pointing! Unfortunately, I have no idea which story in the book this cover was based on (if any of them).

This cover was by Ken Bald. Stories in this issue were "The Were-Tiger of Assam" by Charles Sultan, "The Zombie's Eyes" by Lin Streeter, "The Spectral Pirate" by Al Camy, "Assault From the Unknown" by Ed Moritz, "Physician for Phantoms," "Queen's Cadaver," and "True Ghosts" (no credits available for the latter three stories).

Mary Marvel 14

And, finally, for the lighter side of ghosts, here's Mary Marvel and Freckles taking part in the then-current census, and meeting up with a couple of unusual house occupants!

Is it just me, or does the parent ghost there remind anyone else of Mister Keeper from the old Kid Eternity stories? Maybe it's just me.

This cover was by Jack Binder. Stories in this issue were all drawn by Binder unless otherwise noted, and included "Mary Marvel Fights a Family Skeleton," "The Wrong Story," "Mascot Mission," "Census Antics," (which was the cover story) and "The Magic Flute." "The Wrong Story" was a text piece by Lawrence Steinfeldt, and "Mascot Mission" featured Freddie the Freshman. The Mary Marvel stories were all written by Otto Binder.

Join me next time for another installment of "Cover Stories," and in the meantime, you can check out my blog at for other musings and ramblings by me!

Jon B. Knutson

<< 07/17/2005 | 07/24/2005 | 07/31/2005 >>

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Recent Installments:
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09/30/2007Installment 125: 1-10 - Challengers of the Unknown!
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09/16/2007Installment 123: Comics Never Made - Drive-In Movie Classics and Fantastic Film Classics
09/09/2007Installment 122: Reader Challenge - a reader gave me four comic book covers, and challenged me to come up with the theme!
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08/26/2007Installment 120: Sports
08/19/2007Installment 119: 1-10 - Captain Marvel Adventures!
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07/22/2007Installment 116: A G-g-g-g-g-ghost!
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