COVER STORIES for 07/02/2006
COVER STORIES INSTALLMENT #60
Welcome to the 60th edition of "Cover Stories," in which I look at a number of comics covers with a common theme!
So, it's the middle of the summer, or nearly so... and as part of your summer vacation plans, you might consider going to an amusement park... and what do you find at amusement parks?
OK, so maybe you're not planning to go on one as extreme as that one... but I'm sure that you probably wouldn't want to be on one of the four roller coasters I'm presenting this week from comics covers!
Yes, of course I found a Superman roller coaster cover! Could you have doubted it? Here we see the Man of Steel preparing to save some people from a broken set of rails... I hope he's not going to just stop it in its tracks, so to speak - I mean, super strength is one thing, but when you just catch a speeding roller coaster car all of a sudden, the inertia would still provide a shock, wouldn't it?
This cover, from Action Comics 46, was by the great Fred Ray. Inside, "The Devil's Playground" was by Jerry Siegel and Paul Cassidy, as Superman battles the Domino, who terrorizes the Gantry Amusement Park. You can read the story in Superman: The Action Comics Archives Vol. 3.
Also in this issue: The Vigilante in "Crimes in Color" by Mort Weisinger and Mort Meskin, a page of fillers (including a half-page of Clancy the Cop) by Henry Boltinoff, the Three Aces by Chad Grothkopf, Mr. America and Fatman in "Iron Giant" by Ken Fitch and Bernard Baily, the text story "Pea Shooter" by Norman Goss, Congo Bill by Fred Ray, and Zatara by Gardner Fox and Joseph Sulman.
Next up, here's Adventure Comics 130, which shows that even as a Superboy, the last son of Krypton was familiar with roller coasters... although this time around, he's taking business away from a businessman, strangely enough! Well, okay, I'm sure the three boys he's flying in that box are probably too poor to afford to go to the amusement park, and so Superboy's just being a humanitarian here, right? This cover was by Ed Dobrotka.
Inside, Superboy starred in "Around the World in 80 Minutes" by Bill Finger and Dobrokta, Green Arrow was in "Laugh, Crime, Laugh" by Otto Binder and George Papp, Aquaman was featured in "Marooned in the Deep" by Binder and John Daly, the Shining Knight starred in "For Whom the Bridge Tolls" (nice punny title, that!) by Don Cameron and Chuck Winter, and finally, Johnny Quick in "the Johnny Quick Shave" by Joe Samachson and Charles Sultan!
Here's an unusual cover... All-New Comics 15, featuring the Boy Heroes, from Harvey Comics! Yes, it's in pure black-and-white... and it's because it was a small-size black-and-white comic sent to subscribers only in the mail.
The Grand Comics Database doesn't say who did the cover... but it does appear to have come from the Simon-Kirby studio, doesn't it? I note that the Boy Heroes don't seem to concerned about safety while riding the roller coaster, do they?
So, want to know what you could find inside this comic, if you had subscribed to it? It starts off with Joe Palooka in "Jerry Puts on the Gloves" by Ham Fisher (I'm guessing it's newspaper reprints), then the Black Cat in "The League of Little Men," Sergeant 5 x 5 by Art Helfant, Rags Rabbit (a text story), and the Prince and the Catfish, a humor tale.
Yep... no Boy Heroes in the book at all!
Jumping from the Golden Age of Comics right up to the Bronze Age, here's Batman 262, a giant-sized issue, with this Ernie Chua cover featuring the Batman facing off against the Scarecrow! This wouldn't be the only time Batman dealt with an arch-foe with a roller coaster background, either... I recall at least one cover with the Joker riding a Joker-looking coaster car!
This giant lead off with a Hostess Twinkies ad featuring Batman vs. The Mummy, but you probably don't care about that. Nope, "The Scarecrow's Trail of Fear" was by Denny O'Neil, Chua and Dick Giordano! After that was two pages of activities, called, "Here it is... Bats!" by Sheldon Moldoff and Neal Adams (trivia questions), followed by Batman in "The Round Robin Death Threats" by Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino, and Sid Greene (reprinted from Detective Comics 366), the answers to the Trivia Questions, Comedy Cover Capers using covers from Batman 229, 237, 246 and 249, "Where There's a Will... There's a Slay!" concluding the "Round Robin" story by Fox, Carmine Infantino, and Greene, reprinted from Detective 367, Reprinted: from Detective Comics #366, and then the original covers used in the Comedy Cover Capers!
So, that's our roller coaster rides! Too much excitement for you? Wish you hadn't eaten that last chili dog before getting on board?
Well, next week, we'll take a break from the rides, and look at a different amusement park feature that's also used on a lot of comics covers... The Hall of Mirrors!
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 !