COVER STORIES for 01/15/2006
COVER STORIES INSTALLMENT #36
Welcome to this 36th edition of "Cover Stories," in which I look at a number of comics covers with a common theme!
So, here we are, third column of 2006, and what do I have for you? It's a theme I call, "Catching a Ride!" Now, there are two different ways to look at the phrase, when you're talking comic book covers; there's the sense that most of us think of in our own lives, as in employing some sort of mechanical locomotion, such as a car or motorcycle or whatever; but of course, in the four-color world of comics, a character could literally catch a ride!
So let's start with a cover where a character literally catches a ride... and why not start with a Wonder Woman cover?
Yep, if you've been following this column for a while, you know of the truism that's often mentioned on the DC History mailing list (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dchistory) -- and believe me, my buddies on that list have chided me for not exploiting this enough in this column - "For any possible cover theme, there'll be a comic book cover fitting that theme with Wonder Woman on it." So here's Sensation #26, where the Amazing Amazon is catching a train!
Yeah, you knew I was going to make that joke as soon as you saw the cover, didn't you? Speaking of the cover, I didn't even have to look at the Grand Comics Database to recognize it as being drawn and inked by Harry G. Peter, the classic Golden Age Wonder Woman artist!
If you had this issue, you could open it up and find Wonder Woman starring in "The Masquerader," by creator William Moulton Marston and Harry G. Peter, a story that was reprinted in Wonder Woman Archives Vol. 4 and in Princess Diana's self-titled comic, #214! But of course, this is an anthology title, so you know there's loads more features, right?
Right! The book continues with the Black Pirate in "The Sword of Genghis Khan" by Sheldon Moldoff (in which the Black Pirate helps the Cossacks conquer Siberia), Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys in "The Beggar Boy" with art by Frank Harry (a Christmas tale), the Gay Ghost in "The Tale of the Television Set" with art by Howard Purcell, Hal Mason in the text story "Camouflaged Cargo" by Evelyn Gaines, Mr. Terrific in "The Puzzling Portraits" by Stan Aschmeier, and the issue is wrapped up with Wildcat in "The Rise of Bigfist Conlon" by Paul Reinman.
Staying on the DC golden age anthology kick, here's Adventure Comics 33!
So, had you thought it was only the super-heroes who literally caught a ride? Well, okay, this isn't literally catching a ride... but I wouldn't recommend it as a standard way of changing planes... would you? This cover was penciled and inked by Creig Flessel.
Within this issue, you'd find Anchors Aweigh! In "El Diablo: Part 6" by Fred Guardineer (best known for his work on Zatara, no?), Salty Sam in a gag filler by Fred Schwab as Stockton (apparently this was Salty Sam's only appearance), Tom Brent in "The Y-Kim" by Jim Chambers, Federal Men in "On the Wrong Side of the Law" by Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Dale Daring in "The Plantation Uprising: Part 2" by Will Ely, Sam The Porter in a filler by Russell Cole, Captain Desmo in "The Masked Man: Part 2" by Ed Winiarski, Don Coyote in "In Arabia: Part 1" by Stockton, Professor Doolittle in a humor filler by Batman co-creator Bob Kane, Cal 'n' Alec in "The Lost Gold Mine: Part 5" by Stockton, the text story "Hot Money: Part 2" by Whitney Ellsworth, Tod Hunter in "The God of the Ruby Eye: Part 6" by Jim Chambers, Golden Dragon Episode 28 by Tom Hickey, Rusty and His Pals in "The Pirate Ship: Part 8" by Bob Kane, "The Lucky Ring" by Spencer Trent, and a Billy the Kid filler by Whitney Ellsworth.
Of all those features... I've heard of Federal Men and Rusty and His Pals... and those only because of the people who worked on 'em!
OK, this is more of a literal "catching a ride" than the Adventure cover... this is Adventures Into the Unknown #99, from American Comics Group (always a good source for funky covers that fit a theme!). After all, what other comic book company would feature a cover with a motorcycle driving around on its own (and in the air, to boot?) with two men unsuccessfully trying to corral it with a rope?
This cover was penciled and inked by Ogden Whitney, and some of the faces on these characters on the cover look vaguely familiar enough that it makes me wonder if they were based on real people! The cover feature, "Missing-One Scientist" featured art by Ogden Whitney, as well. Next in this issue was "Strange Race" by Harry Lazarus, "Forgotten Forest" also by Lazarus, "Muscle-Man Melvin," and "Journey Into Antiquity," the latter two missing any creator credits that I could find.
And, to wrap up this particular theme... let's take a look at this cover, where the characters are catching a ride in a more conventional sense! Here's All-Winners Comics #8, featuring the as-yet unnamed All-Winners Squad riding a jeep - well, most of them are riding the jeep, anyway. The Grand Comics Database confirms my suspicion that this cover was by Alex Schomburg, one of the classic Marvel Golden Age artists!
If you were lucky enough to have a copy of this issue, you could open it up and be treated to the Human Torch in "Invasion of Ice" by Harry Sahl, Captain America in "The Plot to Kill MacArthur" (an unofficial title, it seems) by Al Avison, Sub-Mariner in "Sub-Mariner Changes the Face of the Earth" by Carl Pfeufer, the Destroyer in "To Hitler, From Hell" (another unofficial title, no doubt - yeah, I don't have this comic in my collection, either, darn it!) by Bob Powell and Al Gabrielle, and the issue is wrapped up with the Whizzer in "Holdup! Robbery! Murder!" by George Klein!
And that's all for "Catching a Ride" - at least for now, anyway! I'm sure this theme will be revisited in the near future.
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 !