COVER STORIES for 05/28/2006
COVER STORIES INSTALLMENT #55
Welcome to this 55th edition of "Cover Stories," in which I look at a number of comics covers with a common theme!
This week's topic is "Clichés". Now, there are visual clichés (as in gags used by cartoonists throughout the history of cartoons), and there are verbal clichés... let's see what kind I have for you this week!
Yeah, you knew there had to be at least one Superman cover here, didn't you? Well, this cover, Action 68, features a classic cartoon cliché, with a fish story, of sorts! As you can see from the blurb, in this issue Superman meets Susie, who would appear sporadically after this. Well, actually, Superman first met her in Action 59. Susie Tompkins, who is Lois Lane's niece, tends to tell tall tales, and this story has her supposedly cured of them... but then again, I think most of the Susie stories has her swearing off tall tales at the end - at least, those that don't have her actually telling the truth all along!
If you want to read this story, you can do so by picking up Superman: The Action Comics Archives Vol. 4. The cover was penciled and inked by Ed Dobrotka, except for the Superman figure, who was drawn by Wayne Boring. "Superman Meets Susie" was written by Don Cameron, with art by Ira Yarbrough and Stan Kaye. This was followed by a Private Pete gag page by Henry Boltinoff, the Vigilante in "The Duke Goes to the Dogs" by Mort Meskin and Joe Kubert, a Romeo the Robot gag strip by Jack Farr, Congo Bill in "The Ancient Incas" by Edwin Smalle, a Super Sleuth McFooey gag strip by Farr, Tex Thompson, the Americommando, in "Between Dishonor and Death" by Joseph Greene and Bernard Baily, a Boltinoff gag page called "Laffs," a text feature called "Double Twist" by Tom Trent, and Zatara in "The Picture that Walked" by Joseph Sulman.
Oh, and I should also admit... I have no idea if Lois had a brother or if it was a sister who was Susie's parent... this is the Earth-2 Lois, so I'd imagine someone explained it somewhere, probably in a "Mr. And Mrs. Superman" story in "Superman Family!"
One good Superman family cover deserves another... and this one features Superboy finding a needle in a haystack! Can't get much more clichéd than that, can you? Most of the early Superboy covers featured the Boy of Steel doing typical stuff for boys of his age, playing marbles, for example, or helping his parents around the house... but this was an unusual variation from that!
Adventure Comics 104 featured cover art by Stan Kaye. Inside, Superboy starred in "Toytown, U.S.A." by Don Cameron, Joe Shuster and John Sikela, Johnny Quick was featured in "Mr. Bee Goes to Town" by Joe Samachson and Meskin, Aquaman starred in "Four Fish to Fetch" by Smachson and Louis Cazenueve, the Shining Knight in "The Flying Pony Express" by Chuck Winter, and Green Arrow in "The Cat and the Mouse" by George Papp.
Here's a verbal cliché from The Adventures of Bob Hope 16... okay, it's not as much of a cliché as "follow that car," but what can you do? DC's Bob Hope comic featured a lot of very humorous covers, and many of them fit the topic... but I chose this one... maybe it was because of those outrageous natives?
Unfortunately, the Grand Comics Database doesn't have any information about this issue... but I would guess that Bob Oksner did the cover art, as well as the interior art!
And to wrap up this topic, here's Adventures Into Weird Worlds 19, with "It Happened One Knight!" Of course, you're familiar with the movie "It Happened One Night," even if it's just through references in other movies... and that's been used as the name of several comics stories (and probably even more fan-fiction stories) since... but I really dug the way this cover turned the cliché around!
Again, the GCD failed me (geez, two books in one column?) but fortunately, Greg Gatlin's excellent Atlas Tales website (http://www.atlastales.com) was able to provide the information that Bill Everett did the cover art, and the contents of the issue were "The Empty Room," written by John Forte, "It Happened One Knight" by Carl Wessler and Jack Abel, "The Doomed" by Paul Newman and Werner Roth, "Lucille's Robot," a text feature, "The Exterminator" by Chuck Winter, and "The Shriek of Araby" by Sy Barry (and that itself is a nice pun on a once-popular song and character!).
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 !