Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Top 150 DC Covers of All Time: #120-111

Welcome back to the Top 150 DC Covers of All Time countdown. If you have any questions about what criteria was used to select the covers, you can read the ground rules here in the countdown Prologue. For a complete listing of selections, check out the Top 150 DC Covers Master List. And as always, I strongly recommend clicking on the covers to see larger, better and more detailed versions of these classic covers.


120) The Sinister House of Secret Love #1
November, 1971 -- Victor Kalin

And the award for best title goes to...

DC really jumped head first into the gothic horror / gothic romance craze in the very early 70's, putting out a bunch of gothic themed comics and covers. This is the first but not nearly the last of these you'll be seeing. But one thing this has going for it beyond the great painting from Kalin and the awesomely weird title of the comic is the design; I love how they made the comic look just like a romance novel from the time period. Later issues of this short lived series would look even more like romance novels, with the art appearing in little ovals and the font choices emulating paperbacks of the day, but this first issue puts everything together perfectly.

119) Rex the Wonder Dog #11
October, 1953 -- Gil Kane and Sy Barry

Kane strikes again, but this time with something you probably weren't expecting: a hyper intelligent dog attacking a giant purple T-Rex in front of a nuclear explosion. By all rights this should be number one on every list regardless of topic. This is what comics are all about.

118) Showcase #17
December, 1958 -- Gil Kane

Back to back efforts from Gil Kane (with plenty more to come), this time featuring Adam Strange instead of Rex the Wonder Dog. Hey, you can't win them all. Considering that Adam Strange has never been more than a second tier character at best, it's really amazing how many awesome, iconic covers he had during his brief run as a series lead. In fact, there were too many to fit onto the list, but you'll be seeing more than one in the days to come.

117) Showcase #4
October, 1956 -- Carmine Infantino and Joe Kubert

The unofficial start of the Silver Age and one of the most famous and iconic covers ever. So why isn't it higher on my list? Honestly, it's just never really worked for me; something about the reel of film and the color palette just are kind of boring. Frankly, the cover to Showcase #3, featuring the Frogmen, is much more interesting visually. Still, this is one of the most recognizable images in comics and certainly needs to be included on any countdown of top DC covers.

116) Aquaman #42
December, 1968 -- Nick Cardy

Nick Cardy returns to the list with this great Aquaman cover. Mock Aquaman if you must -- and let's face it, you must -- but his original series back in the 60's had a lot of really cool covers. This is the best of them, thanks to the dramatic angle of the action and the awesome use of the logo as a sea-floor pedestal for Black Manta to stand on for his triumphant moment. So cool.

115) Super DC Giant #21
February 1971 -- Charlie Armentano

Better known as Love, 1971 -- among the, you know, eight people who know about this comic at all -- this cover was done by Charlie Armentano. But if you haven't heard of him, don't worry, there's a good reason for that: other than one page in DC 100-Page Super Spectacular #5, this cover is the only comics work Armentano ever did. Judging by this one cover, that's a huge shame.

114) All-American Men of War #110
August, 1965 -- Russ Heath

Russ Heath returns with another classic war cover, this time from All-American Men of War. Like the Our Army at War cover we spotlighted two days ago, this cover uses dramatic lighting to create a contrast between the black background and a bomber -- this time from the outside instead of from the inside. I do think the streak of fire from the crashing fighter could have been executed a little better, but that's a small quibble with what is otherwise a great cover.

113) The Witching Hour #13
March, 1971 -- Neal Adams

I'm not entirely sure who the inker is here -- the comics database suggests it might be Dick Giordano, though based on the cool coloring effects it might be jack Adler -- but whatevs. The point is, this cover is frikkin creepy as all hell. I don't think anything more really needs to be said. You'll want to click on this one to get an up close look at that weird skull-headed spider-thing.

112) Phantom Stranger #10
December, 1970 -- Neal Adams

Another horror cover, another forgotten Neal Adams classic. Adams really seemed to dig the whole gothic girl on a staircase / in front of a mansion thing; this is just the first of multiple Adams covers with this motif to make our list and there were several more than I had to leave out. Two things I particularly like about this one are the way they archway forms both a frame for the art and a natural place for the logo to reside as well as how the beckoning hand in the foreground is echoed by the tiny figure of Phantom Stranger in the logo box.

111) Green Lantern #52
April, 1967 -- Gil Kane and Murphy Anderson

Holy smokes, it's our third Kane cover today alone. But that's why Kane was renowned as a great cover artist. There's nothing he can do about the unfortunate go-go checks, but this mirror image confrontation between Hal Jordan and his archenemy Sinestro is a classic of color and design.

Tomorrow: #110-101 presents... Mike Grell! Frank Miller! Gene Colan! And more! Don't miss it!

Bookmark and Share