Celebrating the Unpopular Arts

It was the summer of ’65. Here are some comics covers

No particular theme here other than picking covers I like, or that I at least find interesting.

This Curt Swan cover is an excellent example of the drawbacks of Cover Image first stories.

It’s gripping, but given Starfinger’s powers, I don’t see any way he can turn Matter-Eater Lad to metal or shrink Colossal Boy (the Phantom Girl and Superboy attacks are legit). That said, Edmond Hamilton told a good story — Starfinger relies on brains and strategy more than raw power and that’s always fun.

Insects more powerful than Superman? Holy crap! I think this may be the first of several stories pitting Superman against a more powerful but non-Kryptonian alien foe. The villains behind this Swan cover are a twisted mirror of Kal-El, out to destroy other worlds because they’re PO’d at the loss of their own, but the Otto Binder story doesn’t make much of the comparison.Secret Identity In Danger was always a reliable story hook for DC (I can’t recall Marvel using it much). Gardner Fox’s story is competent, but not memorable, the kind where unmasking Mr. Incognito produces a shrug — the payoff isn’t interesting. The Carmine Infantino cover’s okay.By contrast, it’s a great twist when the Crime Master turns out to be nobody we’ve ever heard of. And the Steve Ditko cover — Spidey chained, surrounded by hoods and the Green Goblin — is a good one. The title makes no sense, but it’s catchy.This Kirby cover doesn’t do a thing for me. The Swordsman’s not visually interesting enough to be the central figure. The Kirby cover for Part Two, however—Yeah, that works. And while the Swordsman’s plot is stark raving bonkers (make me Avengers leader or I throw Captain America to his doom!), I love having Cap jump first in the absolute confidence his team is good enough to save him. Covers for twin features were a Marvel thing; DC stuck with a single cover image with maybe text about the backup feature. The Kirby cover above works (though the Namor story is ruined by Lady Dorma). His work below, not so much.Here’s a cover by Murphy Anderson that I love. I wanted this issue for years before I had a chance to buy it.In case you’re wondering, the story inside is fun too.I don’t think much of Bob Brown’s cover here.  If you don’t already know who the Challenger Haters are, it’s just a rather uninteresting fight scene. Arnold Drake’s story is good, though, anticipating Mission: Impossible‘s “apocalypse con” stories by more than a year.This Carmine Infantino cover is another one that intrigued me for years. Unlike the Hawkman, Gardner Fox’s story isn’t terribly interesting and there’s no particular clue to the real Robin in that cover scene (I tried for years to find one). It’s unusual for its time, however, in showing that pro wrestling is a staged event — most Silver Age comics that mentioned wrestling assumed it was legit (e.g., “Hate of the Hooded Hangman” in Detective Comics #355).Ben Grimm’s monstrous shape and the ominous staging make me feel it’s more than the usual “Marvel superheroes fight each other” cover. The story, involving the Wizard brainwashing the Thing, is an excellent one, part of a multi-issue arc that started in #38 and ran another two issues after this one.No, I haven’t been reading Patsy Walker as part of my Silver Age Reread but this Al Hartley cover is an eye-catching one. I’ll go out on a limb and guess Patsy and Buzz get back together by the end of the story.

And that’s some of the covers from July and August 1965.



  1. conrad1970

    Yeah they were definitely the lead runners.
    It also helped that Marvel heroes were based in real cities with real life problems. people could relate to them far better than they ever could with DC.
    I think DC just took far longer to adapt and have always been playing catch up.

  2. I found DC more relatable as a kid. Normal people living normal, relatively mundane lives — the kind of sturm and angst that swarmed around Marvel heroes just baffled me.
    But then I’m not sure “relatable” is really that big an issue. The Lee/Ditko Dr. Strange is probably my favorite Silver Age Marvel strip and it’s not because I connect with Dr. Strange at all.

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