COVER STORIES for 05/06/2007
COVER STORIES INSTALLMENT #104
Welcome, faithful readers (and those of you joining us for the first time) to the 104th installment of Cover Stories, the weekly column in which I, Jon B. Knutson, present a group of covers with a common theme!
Now, since this is a weekly column (or at least, it's supposed to be, last week's edition showing up a day late notwithstanding), this means this column celebrates two full years of Cover Stories appearing at World Famous Comics!
So, what kind of theme do I have for this anniversary? How does "104" sound? That's right, here's a whole bunch of covers that are issue 104 of these titles!
To spare you a LOT of reading, rather than go into detail on the innards of these, I'll just identify the cover artists... you can always check out the listings for each of these books at http://www.comics.org, AKA the Grand Comics Database, which is an invaluable resource for getting info about who did what!
I'll be hitting comics from the golden age through the 1970s here, and a number of different publishers, so hopefully, there'll be something for everyone! Let's see what the first three are, shall we?
Oh, yes, of course I had to have at least one Superman title in this week's column, didn't I? This January, 1947 cover-dated issue features art by Wayne Boring and Stan Kaye. This cover is a great example of just how fun comics used to be, isn't it? Superman actually looks stymied by the candy cane barrier he's "trapped" in by the Prankster! And dig the ball-shaped bod the Prankster has here... you just don't see that in comics these days, do you?
For a completely different looking cover... check out Amazing Spider-Man 104, with art by the amazing Gil Kane! You've got Kraven, Spidey, plus Ka-Zar and Zabu! Too bad that Gwen wasn't along on this cover, as Kane did a very sexy Gwen Stacy!
Next up is Batman 104, where Batman and Robin face off against the Beast from 20,000 Fathoms! Wasn't that the name of a movie? This cover was by Sheldon Moldoff, and one can't overlook the superb coloring, either - too bad we don't know who did it!
Now, a few cartoon covers...
Bugs Bunny 104 features a cover I should've saved in my football covers files, eh? Don't know how I could've missed it. I'd love to tell you who did this cover, but the GCD is empty on that data!
Now, how about that Donald Duck cover? Speaking of covers I should've had in my files under various themes, this should've been in the Cowboys files! And that's not a Beagle Boy in disguise there... that must be Black Pete, formerly known as Pegleg Pete, before he got his leg back! No art credit on this one, either.
Speaking of lack of credits... that's the case for Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies Comics 104! I didn't think that Bugs' tail was long enough to be caught in a door like that, though... the ears, yes, but his tail? No way!
Back to the superheroes now...
Fantastic Four 104 was one of the issues published right around the time that Kirby was leaving Marvel, to put it in historical context. This cover was by John Romita and John Verpoorten, and was reprinted in Marvel's Greatest Comics 84. I believe some panels of this were featured in "How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way"!
Flash Comics brings us back to the golden age with issue 104, and as you can see, the original Hawkman had his turn at bat here (remember Flash and Hawkman rotated cover position from one issue to the next). I like the color holds used on this cover... pretty cool stuff! This cover was by Joe Kubert, and was the last issue of this title (although it did get picked up when Barry Allen got his own title).
Just four issues into the Hulk gaining his own series again (taking up the numbering from Tales to Astonish), we have issue 104, featuring Greenskin facing off against the Rhino! This was by Marie Severin and Frank Giacoia... and Marie did a great Hulk, didn't she?
Justice League of America 104's cover features the League battling the Shaggy Man, who for some reason has long been one of my favorite JLA foes. On the face of it, "Shaggy Man" is a pretty stupid name... but then again, without 60+ years of comics history behind them, we'd probably think "Superman," "Batman," and "Hawkman" were stupid names, too, wouldn't we? The great Nick Cardy did this cover.
Little Archie 104 (and how's that for something different?) has a pretty freaky cover for an Archie book... you don't normally see something this moody in Archie books, especially with that skull, the rats, and the vampire there! This cover was by Dexter Taylor.
Next up is this great painted cover for Lone Ranger 104! This was painted by Hank Hartman, and I presume the boy is Dan Reid, the nephew of the Lone Ranger (and ancestor of the Green Hornet).
I like the gag on Little Lulu 104... it works well as a double gag... or is it triple? Tubby's torn his pants, Lulu's fixing them with a piece of the curtain he's covering himself with, PLUS she's using glue! No credits available on this one.
March of Comics 104, cover-featuring Gene Autry, was one of those giveaway comics.
And another no-credits cover is Popular Comics 104, with a line-up of characters from the newspaper comics (and presumably, the contents were reprints of the same). These pieces of art may well be blow-ups from the original strips, as they look like those artists' styles to my eye.
Speaking of newspaper comic reprints, here's Super Comics 104, featuring Dick Tracy, as well as a bunch of other characters (although I'm guessing most of you would only recognize Little Orphan Annie from the additional lineup). Like Popular, I don't have art credits on this one, either.
On the other hand, while there's no art credit on the cover of Tarzan 104, it being a photo, I can tell you that Tarzan's portrayed here by Gordon Scott, who portrayed Tarzan in six Tarzan movies in the 1950s!
Of course, there's no art credits on Tom and Jerry Comics 104, either... and that's a pretty odd image there, with Jerry and Tuffy being used as bookends by Tom... when does Tom get the best of those mice?
Fortunately, Uncle Scrooge 104 does have a credit with it... it's by the immortal Carl Barks, referred to by many as "The Good Duck Artist"! A pretty funny gag there, but what else would one expect?
And it's a double-Barks treat here, because he also did the cover of Walt Disney's Comics and Stories 104, too! Hmm... so we see that Duckburg is on the state line, and there's a river running along the state line... where would that put Duckburg? (you do know Duckburg is where Donald and his nephews lived, right?)
Here's another classic character, even if this isn't a great scan... Whiz Comics 104, featuring, naturally, Captain Marvel, and done by his classic artist, C.C. Beck! And check out that bomb that evades the good Captain... it actually flexes as it dodges him!
A nice gag on Woody Woodpecker 104... but the unknown artist really softened up Woody, didn't he?
OK, on to something more familiar to you guys... World's Finest 104! What a cover we have here... not only Superman, Batman and Robin, but also Lex Luthor and Batwoman! I have no idea what part of his plot involved capturing Batwoman, but we can presume it makes some sort of sense! This one was by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye.
Next up, Wonder Woman 104, by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito! You don't often see the Amazing Amazon rescuing someone other than Steve Trevor, do you... especially a woman? I think this was the issue where Diana had to perform three impossible tasks because either she promised Steve Trevor she'd do them or she'd marry him... or it was one of those bizarre Amazon customs that only happened once and then never again.
Last, but not least... here's X-Men 104 by Dave Cockrum... hmm, one almost wonders if I'm finishing this off with an X-Men cover in some attempt to bring more readers to the column? I mean, there's Wolverine there, right?
Nah, that'd never work.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this different kind of column... rest assured, I'll come up with something completely different for the third anniversary column!
Join me next time for another installment of "Cover Stories," in which I'll bring back Joe Lenius' least favorite topic here, "Comics They Never Made!" And in the meantime, you can check out my blog at http://waffyjon.blogspot.com for other musings and ramblings by me (including postings of comic book ads, classic toy photos, and much more), or email me with comments about this column at !