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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.

Current Installment >> Cover Stories Archives | General Forum

COVER STORIES for 11/27/2005
COVER STORIES INSTALLMENT #29

Welcome to this 29th edition of "Cover Stories," in which I look at a number of comics covers with a common theme!

This time around, given that we're in the midst of football season, I thought I'd present four football-themed covers! Of course, as I've noted before, you don't see sports-themed covers on comics these days, but they were all the rage back in the day!

Adventure Comics 170


One can almost always count on finding a Superboy cover for any sport, and this time around, I've got one for you from his Adventure series. Now, is it just me, or does it almost look like Superboy was added here as an afterthought?

One thing's for sure... Lana Lang demonstrates that Lois Lane wasn't the only "LL" character in the Superman family of titles who had a tendency to switch affections often, eh?

Of course, it's rare that the cover of one of these comics is an accurate representation of the contents, right? Thanks to the Earth-1 Index at http://darkmark6.tripod.com/superboyind1.htm, I can tell you that in this story, Lana is mistakenly colored as a blonde, and that her parents were married on "the 15th" of a month, and that the story is about Superboy learning why football hero Ted Hawkins has made a date with Lana Lang for the prom and then intends to dump her, while as Clark Kent, he must deal with the unexpected situation of being placed on the football team.

Kind of some interesting parallels to some Smallville episodes, eh?

This cover was penciled and inked by Win Mortimer, and the book was edited by Whitney Ellsworth (who would go on to work on the "Adventures of Superman" TV series). "Lana Lang's Big Crush" was written by William Woolfolk with art by John Sikela. Also in this issue were Aquaman in "Mutiny Under the Sea" by George Kashdan (who would go on to write many stories for Filmation's animated series based on DC characters, including Aquaman), with art by Ramona Fradon; Johnny Quick in "The Bravest Cowards in the World" by Jack Miller and Ralph Mayo, and "Green Arrow, Fugitive," with art by George Papp.

Comics Calvacade 8


And now, we go a bit further back for this fun sports cover from Comic Cavalcade, featuring the Flash, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman in a three-person football game! (Now, haven't I told you readers that there's almost always a Wonder Woman cover for any theme? Here's a prime example!). This cover was penciled and inked by Frank Harry.

Naturally, this being an anthology title, this cover has nothing to do with the contents of the book, which were: Wonder Woman in "The Amazon Bride" by William Marston and Harry G. Peter; Mutt and Jeff gags by Al Smith (as Bud Fisher), the history feature "The Twain Shall Meet" by M.C. Gaines and Dennis Neville, Green Lantern in "Is the Kid a Killer?" by Alfred Bester and Paul Reinman, "Heroes in Dungarees" featuring East-West by Dennis Neville, Hop Harrigan in "the Psalm of the K Ration" by Jon L. Blummer (reprinted in G.I. Combat #152), Picture Stories from History featuring "The Story of Prince Henry" by M.C. Gaines and Don Cameron, and finally, the Flash in "The Man Who Tilted Windmills" by Gardner Fox and Jon Chester Kozlak.

Date with Judy 20


It's not often that I have licensed comics covers for your perusal here, but this particular one fits the football theme, eh? Note the very hoary gag in use here...

Now, many of you are probably wondering, "What the heck was 'A Date With Judy,' anyway?" Well, thanks to the Wikipedia article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Date_With_Judy, I can tell you it was 1940s teenage comedy radio program that started in 1941 and ran until 1950. It actually began as a summer replacement for Bob Hope's radio show. There was even an MGM movie in 1948 featuring Jane Powell as Judy (she was played on the radio by Ann Gillis, Dellie Ellis, and Louise Erickson). I think I've heard a few episodes of the original radio show, and I found it pleasant, but not nearly as fun as, say, "The Jack Benny Show." But I may be biased, as I'm not that big a fan of teenage comedy shows on old-time radio.

The comic book version of A Date With Judy ran 79 issues, from October 1947 to November 1960 (outlasting the radio show by 10 years!). Nowhere, however, could I find any creator credits for this book, or indexes of the contents.

Fat and Slat 3


Our final football cover comes from Fat and Slat... and aren't you surprised to find the EC logo on a humor book? This title only lasted four issues, and you may know Ed Wheelan's name more from his famous "Minute Movies" than from this title! The four issues were published in 1947, with the numbering being picked up by "Gunfighter" in 1948 (back then, it was easier for publishers to pick up numbering from a cancelled title instead of starting with #1 for a new title... how things have changed, eh?).

This cover was penciled and inked by Wheelan, and the comic was filled with features... 13 separate features altogether, with one of them titled! Along with Fat and Slat, other characters appearing in this comic were Big Shot, Old Man Experience, and Comics McCormick. Most of the book was done by Ed Wheelan.

You can find a brief bio of Ed Wheelan at http://www.lambiek.net/wheelan_e.htm, and Don Markstein's Toonopedia has a nice article on Minute Movies (where Fat and Slat originated) at http://www.toonopedia.com/minute-m.htm.

Thanks, as always, are due to the Grand Comics Database (http://www.comics.org) for the cover scans and index information!

Join me next time for another installment of "Cover Stories," and in the meantime, you can check out my blog at http://waffyjon.blogspot.com for other musings and ramblings by me, or email me with comments about this column at !

Jon B. Knutson

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Recent Installments:
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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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08/19/2007Installment 119: 1-10 - Captain Marvel Adventures!
08/12/2007Installment 118: Comics Never Made - Five comics that never were!
08/05/2007Installment 117: Carnival
07/22/2007Installment 116: A G-g-g-g-g-ghost!
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