COVER STORIES for 05/07/2006
COVER STORIES INSTALLMENT #52
Welcome to this 52nd edition of "Cover Stories," in which I look at a number of comics covers with a common theme!
Yep, that's right... 52 columns, one a week for the last year! Guess that means next week will be a birthday celebration, and that's a good guess.
However, that's next week... this week's theme is "I Object!" featuring a quartet of covers that Matt Murdock, Bob Ingersoll, and other fictional or real lawyers will get a kick out of, if not all of you readers!
Here's a court cover that is just completely bizarre... As if it wasn't strange enough that Superman is acting as a defense attorney (something which I don't believe he's legally qualified to do), he's defending his arch-enemy, Lex Luthor (see, it even says that on the cover), in front of a jury of robots!
And what bizarre robots, too... green and red, with radio tubes for ears and what appears to be an antenna growing out of the back of their heads (although it kinda makes you yearn for the days when robots in DC comics looked and acted like this, instead of the modern OMAC robots, doesn't it?)
Action Comics 292 was cover-penciled by Curt Swan, with inks by George Klein (at least, that's the indexers' best guess at the Grand Comics Database). The cover story, "When Superman Defended His Arch Enemy," was penciled and inked by al Plastino. This story not only features the Man of Steel and Luthor, but Supergirl and a Superman robot appear! Following a Homer and Honey in Hollywood filler by Henry Boltinoff, the issue is wrapped up with Supergirl in "The Super-Steed of Steel," introducing Comet, the Super-Horse in a tale that was reprinted in Action Comics 334. Also in this story were Streaky the Super-Cat and Krypto (well, Krypto appears in a dream sequence).
If you're not familiar with Comet... he was originally Brion, a centaur in ancient Greece, who went to Circe for a potion that would make him human. Circe got her potions mixed up, and gave him one that would transform him permanently into a horse! Since she apparently couldn't undo the change, she gave him super-powers to make up for it... and also, whenever a comet flew overhead, he'd temporary assume human form. When he did achieve human form, he took the name of Bronco Bill, a rodeo rider or something like that. Comet, like Krypto, Streaky, Beppo the Super-Monkey and Proty (the protoplasmic pet of Chameleon Boy) was a founding member of the Legion of Super-Pets!
Of course, Superman has had a long history of appearing in courtrooms, at least on the covers... and this Adventure Comics cover shows just how far back he goes! Yes, it's Superboy interfering in a so-called "junior jury"! I really wish I had this issue, so I could read this story, and find out what this kid was "charged" with, and by what rights the kids of Smallville figured they could stand in judgment of him (how the heck were they going to enforce their sentence, for that matter?).
Adventure Comics 213's cover was penciled and inked by John Sikela, who did the same chores on the cover story, "The Junior Jury of Smallville". Also in this issue was Green Arrow in The Airborne Archers with art by George Papp (alas, this GA story was before the start of the stories in Showcase Presents Green Arrow, or I'd tell ya more about it), and Aquaman in The Court-Martial of Moby Dick II with art by Ramona Fradon (wow, two court stories in one issue, eh?).
Moving away from Superman-related books, here's Adventures of the Fly 25, and it should come as no surprise that a court cover appears on this book, given that the Fly's alter ego was an attorney in real life (well, at least he was after the book's concept changed between issues from Tommy Troy being a boy to him suddenly being the adult Thomas Troy, anyway).
And is it just me, or does Fly-Girl's head appear huge here? Something's out of proportion there, anyway.
I do have to admire MLJ Comics' guts in having a cover where the title hero doesn't even appear in costume (yet his co-star actually is shown twice in costume, on the stand and in the photo), especially considering that most readers wouldn't be able to recognize Thomas Troy without the thought bubble!
Adventures of the Fly 25's cover was by John Rosenberger, who also handled the art chores in this issue, with scripts by Robert Bernstein. Along with "The Countess of Crime," the Fly was featured in "Bone-Crackers, Incorporated."
To wrap up this installment of "Cover Stories," let's look at this issue of Strange Adventures, which not only features a courtroom scene, but also a gorilla! Yeah, gorillas were all over DC Comics covers in the day (there's actually a bunch of gorilla courtroom covers, believe it or not). Here, Captain Comet acts as prosecuting attorney (when did he pass the bar exam?) in the trial of this gorilla (and since when do gorillas have the right to a trial by jury?).
Strange Adventures 39's cover was by Murphy Anderson. "The Guilty Gorilla" was written by John Broome, with art by Anderson. Also in this issue were "The Negative Invasion" by Sid Gerson, Jerry Grandenetti and Joe Giella, "Planets of Wonder" by Morris Waldinger, "The Carbon-Copy Genius" by Gerson, Carmine Infantino, and S. Barry, and "Phantom Earth" by Gerson, Gil Kane, and Bernard Sachs. And don't those titles evoke some images, especially coupled with the artists listed?
OK, that's it for this week... but remember, next week, it's the first birthday celebration for "Cover Stories," so get out your party hats and horns! Oh, you'll have to provide your own cake and ice cream, too.
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 !