COVER STORIES for 03/04/2007
COVER STORIES INSTALLMENT #95
Welcome, faithful readers (and those of you joining us for the first time) to the 95th installment of Cover Stories, the weekly column in which I, Jon B. Knutson, present a group of covers with a common theme (unless I'm doing an installment of one of the sub-series of Cover Stories)!
And speaking of the sub-series, it's time for...
Yes, it's 1-10 time again, and this time around, I'm looking at the first 10 issues of Superboy, the adventures of Superman when he was a boy!
Here's the covers for Superboy 1 and 2... let's begin with the first issue... on which Superboy himself barely appears - just in the fold-over on the bottom! Kind of strange, isn't it? But then, the cover does indeed tell the tale. It may surprise some of you to learn that Superboy began publishing in 1949, which sort of makes it a tail-end Golden Age book! This cover has been identified as being by Wayne Boring and Stan Kaye.
This first issue featured "The Man Who Could See Tomorrow" by Ed Herron, John Sikela and Ed Dobrotka, and given that it features appearances by Superman and Lois Lane, Superboy was presented in flashback (you can check the reprint in Millennium Edition: Superboy #1, which I must've bought, but don't recall reading). Next up is "Superboy's Workshop," a one-page filler featuring a different creative activity in each issue (this issue had instructions on how to make a "rocket plane"). This is followed by a Shorty filler by Henry Boltinoff, then we've got "The Boy Vandals!" by Ed Hamilton and Dobrotka, a Daffy & Doodle filler by Lit-win, the text article "The Language of the Sea" by Cliff Rhodes, a Sagebrush Sam filler by Boltinoff, another Shorty filler, "Superboy Meets Mighty Boy" by William Woolfolk and George Roussos, and a Homer filler by Boltinoff.
Too bad the Mighty Boy story wasn't on the cover... I could've used it for the "Other Super-People" theme!
Superboy #2 features a cover that has nothing to do with the insides (which is fairly common for this series), and it's by Sikela and Dobrotka. That Superboy balloon is really something, isn't it? Although how appropriate is it that Superboy would be pulling his own balloon effigy in a parade honoring him?
Inside this issue: "The Stunts of Superboy" with art by Sikela and Dobrotka features the first appearance of Smallville in the comics (issue 1 had him in Metropolis). This is followed by a Little Pete filler by Boltinoff, a Varsity Vic filler by the same gentleman, "George Washington's Drum" by Sieka and Dobrotka, "Superboy's Workshop" with instructions how to make a Bat Kite, the text article "Black Magic" by Fred David, "Superboy ... John Doe!" by Sikela and Dobrotka, and a Shorty filler by Boltinoff.
One of the fun things about checking out titles like Superboy is noticing how often certain cover ideas are used... take issue 3's cover, with Superboy trimming the hedges with his hand, and the Kent's comments; this same basic idea would be used at least one more time (I recall seeing a cover with him painting a fence at super-speed). This cover is all Dobrotka!
Inside, we have "Superboy's Hall of Fame!" by Sikela and Dobrotka (just assume the rest of the Superboy stories are by that team, unless I tell you different), a Captain Tootsie ad by C.C. Beck, Superboy's Workshop tells you how to make a Weather Guide, "Superboy, Bodyguard!" by Dobrotka, a Casey the Cop filler by Boltinoff, the text article "Question Box," a Bebe filler by Boltinoff, and "Superboy's Great Amateur Hour!".
I really enjoy issue 4's cover, just for the very concept of it! Presumably, the contest winners would be drawn into a comic book! This cover was by Boring and Stan Kaye. Inside, we have "The Oracle of Smallville," "Super Safety Boy!", a Peg filler by Boltinoff, "The Backwoods Boy" about Daniel Boone, the text article "A Day in the Life of Dennis," about Dennis Day (best known as one of the singers on the Jack Benny radio show), Superboy's Workshop tells you how to make a Superboy Acrobat, "The Submarine Superboy!", and the PSA "Smokey the Fire-Preventing Bear Comes to the Rescue of Peter Porkchops!" by Jack Schiff and Rube Grossman. Peter Porkchops, of course, was the star of one of DC's funny animal books (Funny Stuff, perhaps?) and was later featured in Captain Carrot and the Amazing Zoo Crew as Pig-Iron - and with Smokey here, this could well be the first character crossover featuring characters owned by different organizations!
Check out the cover of Superboy 5... especially the blonde girl in the cape and miniskirt! That's Supergirl! This cover was by John Sikela, and actually has something to do with the story inside! "Superboy Meets Supergirl!" was written by William Woolfolk, and in this tale, Lucy of Borgonia disguises herself as a Smallville schoolgirl and is proclaimed a Supergirl because of her athletic abilities. If you want to check out this tale, it's a lot less expensive in the reprint book "Superman in the Forties," which no doubt features lots of other great tales!
Next up: a Captain Tootsie ad by Beck, "A Zoo For Sale!" by Bill Finger, Curt Swan and John Fischetti, Superboy's Workshop tells you how to make a Comics Television Viewer, the text article "Lightning Hunters," a Varsity Vic filler by Boltinoff (who also did the Peg filler after it), and "The Isle of Menace!"
OK, I'm just a smidge creeped out by the cover of Superboy 6 here... the girls are obviously high-school age... but wasn't Superboy portrayed as pre-high school age at this point? Maybe he was moved to high school by now, and I'm being slightly creeped out by nothing. This cover, by the way, was by Al Plastino and inked by Bob Oksner (who no doubt made sure the girls were very attractive).
The issue leads off with "The Hobby Robber," written by Don Cameron, which introduced Superboy's first regular foe, Humpty Dumpty, the Hobby Robber (who appears to be a younger Toyman), "Superboy Storekeeper!", Superboy's Workshop tells you how to make a Razor Blade Radio (geez, how dangerous was that?), "The Man Who Captured Geronimo," a biography of John Clum; a Little Pete filler by Boltinoff, "Give Your Town a Present" (a PSA featuring Superboy by Jack Schiff and Win Mortimer), the text story "The Man from Menlo Park" (about Thomas Edison, natch), and "The Hercules of Smallville!"
Superboy #7 features Humpty Dumpty, the Hobby Robber, right there on the cover, thanks to the Siekela/Dobrotka art team. The issue leads off with "Around the World With Superboy" which I presume featured the winners of the contest from a few issues back by Wayne Boring and Stan Kaye, a Ton O' Fun filler by Harry Lampert, "Dolls of Danger" (featuring Humpty Dumpty), Wonder Woman in the PSA "It's Fun to be Healthy!" by Jack Schiff and Irwin Hasen, a Varsity Vic filler by Boltinoff, the text article "Unusual Occupations, Canine Version" by Tom Farley (foreshadowing the eventual appearance of Krypto the Superdog in this title? Nah, probably not), a Peg filler by Boltinoff, Superboy's Workshop teaches you how to make a Flashlight Projector, and finally, "The Man Who Knew Superboy's Secret Identity!" written by Woolfolk.
Issue 8's cover is another one which features a gag that was used at least one more time, this edition by Al Plastino. The issue leads off with "When Superboy was a Superbaby," the first Superbaby story (this was in 1950, folks!) by Finger, Swan and Fischetti, a Little Pete filler by Boltinoff, "The Flags of Crime" by Finger, Sikela and Dobrotka (and with Humpty Dumpty returning again), Binky in the PSA "Home, Sweet Home!" by Schiff and Oksner, the filler "Shutter Bugs," the ext article "Ready to Go," a Daffy & Doddle filler by Lit-win, a Shorty filler by Boltinoff, "The Boy Without a World!" written by Hamilton, and finally, Superboy's Workshop tells you how to make a Whistling Lariat!
Humpty Dumpty appears on another cover here, by Sikela and Dobrotka. Inside, we have "Superboy's Man of Steel" written by Hamilton (featuring Sir Percy the Robot - the first Superboy robot???), "The Boy Who Stole a Brain!" written by Finger, Buzzy in the PSA "Balance Your Fun Diet" by Schiff and Oksner, a Casey the Cop filler by Boltinoff, the Text Article "Winner Take All No. 3", a Little Morton filler by Phil Berube, a Little Pete filler by Boltinoff, "Ship Ahoy, Superboy!" with Humpty Dumpty, and finally "Superboy's Workshop" teaches you how to make a Code Machine!
And finally, here's issue #10... where the Boy of Steel demonstrates just how much better he is at doing stuff than normal Smallville kids... sheesh. This cover was by Plastino. Inside, we have "The Girl in Superboy's Life" written by Finger, "The Toughest School in the World" written by Alvin Schwartz, a Little Pete filler by Boltinoff, a Ton O' Fun filler by Harry Lampert, a Bebe filler by Boltinoff, the text article "Science Question Box No. 9," a Peg filler by Boltinoff, Dodo and the Frog in the PSA "How Are Your Manners Out-of-Doors?" by Schiff and Rube Grossman, "Superboy Meets Centuryman!" by Swan and Fischetti (Centuryman's a comic strip character), a Shorty filler by Boltinoff, and Superboy's Workshop tells you how to make a Pin-Hole Camera!
And with that, this will be the last 1-10 segment for a while... maybe even forever, unless you, the readers of this column, deluge me with email demanding its return to the monthly rotation! Of course, Cover Stories will continue with the various themed covers and Comics They Never Made!
Join me next time for another installment of "Cover Stories," in which you'll be treated to some covers with some Super Kids, 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 !