COVER STORIES for 09/17/2006
COVER STORIES INSTALLMENT #71
All right, faithful readers (and also those of you reading this column for the first time), welcome to another edition of "Cover Stories!"
This week's theme? Dreams! Specifically, covers featuring characters dreaming!
And, since it's been a few weeks since I featured a Superman cover in this column, let's start with Action Comics #79!
The sleeping guy in the purple suit is J. Wilbur Wolfingham, who was a recurring character in the golden age of Superman comics. J. Wilbur, who was a con man who experienced bad luck in his cons, was obviously inspired by W.C. Fields, although given his name, it would seem that there's a bit of J. Wellington Wimpy in there, too (meaning that Cap'n Strong wasn't the first Popeye-derived character to appear in a Superman story!).
I like this cover, by Jack Burnley (best known for his work on Starman) and Stan Kaye... J. Wilbur's counting sheep to fall asleep, but there's the Man of Steel in the midst of them, spoiling his relaxation!
Inside the book, Wilbur's the "villain" of the lead story, "The Golden Fleece," by Don Cameron and Ira Yarbrough - and I'm guessing that's "fleece" in the sense of "fleecing a mark," and not referring to the mythological Golden Fleece from "Jason and the Argonauts"! Also in this issue, Hayfoot Henry in "the Taming of the Tiger" by Al Schwartz and Stan Kaye, the Vigilante in "Birds of Ill Omen" by Joe Samachson and Mort Meskin, a Chief Hot Foot filler by Henry Boltinoff, the text story "Kid Brother" by Joseph Greene, Congo Bill in "High in the Andes" with art by Edwin Smalle, and Zatara in "When Magic Fails," by Gardner Fox and W.F. White!
Thanks, as always, go to the Grand Comics Database for providing credits and contents for these issues!
So, from Action Comics, let's look at an ACG title (yeah, I use as many of those as I do Superman covers, don't I?), Adventures Into the Unknown 16!
This is a bizarre dream this babe is having, isn't it? To look at her sleeping face, you wouldn't think it was that bad a nightmare - slight arching of the eyebrows, but that's about it! And dig the creature of her nightmare... big orange scales, a green face... and white and green striped boxer shorts???
Of course, one should note the scaly hand grasping the windowsill, too! This was another cover by ACG mainstay Ogden Whitney. Inside the issue, we have "Vigil Among the Vampires" with art by Ken Bald, "Adventure Into the Future" with art by Lin Streeter, "Demon in the Dark" with art by Emil Gershwin (which may be the cover feature), "Lincoln's Strange Vision" with art by Pete Gattuso, "Ghost Tiger" with art by Richard Case, "The Spirit of Frankenstein, Part 7" with art by Charlie Sultan, and finally, "Mrs. It" with art by Chase.
OK, I hope this won't be too jarring, as we switch from Adventures Into the Unknown to... The Beagle Boys! (wow, I'm hitting all the regulars this week, aren't I?)
Yep, here's a much cheerier dream than the previous two (although as whimsical as the Action Comics one), as one of the Beagles counts escapees to sleep! This cover was by Pete Alvarardo, and inside were the two stories "Plot and Counterplot" and "With a Little Bit of Luck," both with art by Dick Hall... and the entire issue was reprinted in Beagle Boys #42!
By the way, in case you're unaware of who the Beagle Boys are... they were created by Carl Barks as nemeses for Uncle Scrooge... and you can read all about them in their Wikipedia entry at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beagle_Boys -- including the Beagle Boys on the animated series DuckTales!
Well, as long as I'm hitting all the standards, let's see if I'm missing anything... Superman cover? Check. ACG cover? Check. Beagle Boys? Check. Hmmm... is there any other comic book title or character who almost always seems to fit a theme, no matter what that theme is?
Yes, yes, I know... I've said here many times that on the DC History Yahoo Group (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DCHistory), where most of the covers I've posted were first posted, that our truism is that for any theme that's not specifically character-related, there's at least one Wonder Woman cover that fits it!
And here's this one! Sensation Comics #25! You'll note that Diana's come up with a super-camera that can take pictures of people's dreams! Geez, those Amazons come up with the most wacky inventions, don't they? Invisible robot planes, telepathic radios, purple healing rays... and now this!
Presumably the lens of the camera was treated so that Wonder Woman would know where to point it... but I'll bet it wasn't digital, no matter how advanced Amazonian science was!
This cover was by original Wonder Woman artist Harry G. Peter (as if you couldn't guess... his style is pretty distinctive, after all!). This cover, plus the Wonder Woman story in this issue, have all been reprinted in Wonder Woman Archives Vol. 4.
Speaking of the WW stories, she leads off the issue with "Adventure of the Kidnapper of the Astral Spirits" by William Moulton Marston, with art by Peter, in which someone is kidnapping the Wrights' astral selves and forcing them to commit murder (almost sounds like this tale could've inspired some of Marvel's Dr. Strange stories featuring Nightmare, eh?).
Also in this issue, a Black Pirate and Son story with art by Sheldon Moldoff, Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys by Evelyn Gaines and Frank Harry, the Gay Ghost by Howard Purcell, a text feature by Evelyn Gaines, Mr. Terrific in "Seeing Is Not Believing" with art by Stan Aschmeier, and finally, Wildcat in "Return of the Yellow Wasp" with art by Paul Reinman!
Join me next time for another installment of "Cover Stories," at which time I'll introduce a new semi-regular feature, called "1-10"! 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 !