Monday, March 21, 2022

DC Comics Cove Art: 350 Of The Greatest Covers In DC's History

I am always a big fan of coffee table books that discuss comic history and DC comics in particular.

A recent gift I was given was DC Comics Cover Art: 350 of the Greatest Covers in DC's History.

There were several things that I really liked about this book.

For one, it breaks up the book into time periods as opposed to characters. We start with the Golden Age and then move to Silver and Bronze. What I found interesting was that the next era, post-Crisis to New 52, they called the Steel Age. I guess I have called it the Chromium Age in my head but maybe that was a joke I heard along the way that I subsumed into fact. And then 2011 to present is the modern age. But it was a nice way to break it up with some pages giving brief bios of prominent artists from each era.

I also liked that this book really gave a hard look at the covers and picked a very interesting mix. This isn't the 350 'most iconic' covers. You can probably guess some of the most famous covers that are in this book. But it also gives pages towards horror comics, war comics, and other nooks and crannies. There are pages dedicated to Nick Cardy's Aquaman covers and to the Levitz/Giffen Legion books. And some of these are true deep cuts. 

Lastly, it was fun to see how many of the covers in this book I have in my collection. No Golden Age, of course. But I have a decent number of the others.

Since this is a Supergirl site, I'll showcase the issues where she is featured. There are 5 of them. Make your guesses and then click. I know you are going to get at least 2 right.

And apologies for pics. This is a big book, not amenable to scanning.

I am sure you all guessed Action Comics #252

It introduces Supergirl to the DCU. 

It seems they knew she was going to be an ongoing thing given she was the backup starting in #253. But I wonder if DC was concerned she wouldn't be accepted and she would simply fade away like Superman's ability to shoot tiny Supermen from his hands.

I don't think I would have picked Action Comics #277 but it is a fun cover showcasing the growing super-family in the Silver Age. And Streaky and Krypto in a tug-of-war while the cousins cheer. That is sterling Silver Age.

This is one of those pages where I have all three issues in my collection.

But smack in the middle is Action Comics #500 with Supergirl helping her cousin celebrate. This isn't a true Supergirl cover but I like that her Bronze Age shorts costume is somewhere in the book.

Again, this is a good cross-section of the Bronze Age showing the wedding of the Earth-2 Superman, the celebratory first comic to reach #500, and the last Bronze Age tale written by Alan Moore. (I probably would have picked the cover of the first part of 'Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?' but that's me.)

I am going to assume that everyone knew Crisis On Infinite Earths #7 was going to be in the book.

It certainly is one of the most iconic covers in DC's history and became the shorthand symbol for the Crisis era and series. 

Crisis gets 2 pages in the book with the wraparound cover of #1 and also the Flash's death in #8 showcased.

And then this surprising pick from the modern age. 

Supergirl #65, from the James Peaty/Bernard Chang arc. The cover is by Amy Reeder who did a bunch of Kara's covers during this part of Kara's series.

The writer denotes how this has a manga influence on action and sound effects. I found it an intriguing pic as some of Reeder's other covers are breath-taking. 

But this is a good example of why I really liked this book. Someone looked at the thousands of covers from 2011 up to now and thought this was one of the best of the era. I certainly gave it some extra thought.

Keep this book in mind for a birthday or holiday gift for the DC obsessed person.


Anonymous said...

Nice present!

Some iconic images there. Not necessarily the "best" but many classic or important.

I suppose Flash #123 - Flash of Two Worlds - has to be in there. Without that story, DC would be a very different publisher today!

Amy Reeder only drew 6 or 7 covers from that run of Supergirl, and I think several are better than the one the author selected.

From that era I like Joshua Middleton's the best - they are all stunning and I couldn't quite choose a favorite.

I was wondering if Supergirl #1 by Gary Frank 2003, the skateboard cover, would make the cut. It's very memorable. It may not be Kara Zor-El, but it was the longest running book called "Supergirl."


Martin Gray said...

The Gary Frank cover is a great selection. I’d have had something from Kara’s Adventure Comics cover star period, say, 386, 397, 408, 411 or 418.

Hmm, wonder if I’ll find myself buying this book…

Anonymous said...

I think the cover on pic1 bottom left was from
Superman#199, 'The race between Superman and Flash',
which I have and liked very much?

Anj said...

Surprising that the Gary Frank Supergirl #1 wasn't there as it has been homaged ... even over at Marvel.

I thought for sure Action 285 would be in there but nope. And no Supergirl Adventure covers although the Black Orchid intro issue is prominently displayed.

Yes, Flash 123 is in there.

Anonymous said...

TDNAOS # 13 would be a great cover to include in this context...Maybe Adventure Comics #419 as well. But these days those are considered ancient texts the powers that be at DC.


Professor Feetlebaum said...

Sounds like a fun book. Yes, Action #285 should have been in there.

Superman's ability to shoot a miniature double from his fingertips was just for one story ("Superman's New Power!", Superman #125, November 1958). It was never intended to be a permanent thing.

Mort Weisinger must have been fairly confident of Supergirl's acceptance, because he gave her her own feature right from the git-go. She could have been introduced in a Superman story the way Lori Lemaris was. In fact, Supergirl's 8 page debut story could have easily fit into an issue of Superman, with a Superman logo. That it was drawn by Al Plastino, one of the regular Superman artists (with Wayne Boring and Curt Swan), and not Jim Mooney makes me wonder if Weisinger might have initially been keeping his options open as to where the story would appear.