Wednesday, 22 November 2017

YOU CAN'T JUDGE A (COMIC) BOOK BY ITS COVER - OR CAN YOU...?


Image copyright DC COMICS

That's a great cover image above, isn't it?  So here's a question for all you cavortin' Criv-ites out there.  Have you ever bought a comic mainly for the cover, only to be disappointed with the contents?  Or found that, however brilliant you thought the cover was, astonishingly, it didn't do justice to the story within?  In fact, you can comment on any permutations of those two questions you can come up with.  And here's another - what were the covers, and what was it about them that appealed to you?  (Okay, that's another two questions, but who's counting - apart from me?)

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I've just realised that the above cover is from 1988 - a kick in the pants off 30 years ago.  I'm flabbergasted - it seems so much more recent than that.  Where on earth does the time go?  

18 comments:

-3- said...

My expectation on covers was usually based on a simple rule - was the cover artist part of the book team, or the guy assigned to the cover? So it varied heavily by title and time.
Fortunately, comics didn't come in bags, so it was fairly easy to check the inner contents. There were times when even 12 or 15 cents was a tough spending decision. Of course, after living through Silver Age covers and stealth reprints over here, all covers were suspect. Though some covers were worth buying no matter what was inside.

Kid said...

And some insides were worth buying no matter what was on the cover, eh? Sometimes, of course, both these elements were evenly matched.

Colin Jones said...

This isn't what you mean but I've mentioned before that my first ever Marvel comic was POTA No.5 - when I saw it on sale I had to have it as I was a huge fan of the POTA TV series. But I was totally baffled by the story within - where were the characters off the telly? What was going on? But I was intrigued enough to want the next issue.

Kid said...

And funnily enough, although I'd never seen the TV series and didn't know about it 'til I saw it mentioned in the comic, I bought POTA from the very first issue. I don't think I bought it because of the cover though - I just got it because it was a new comic.

Marcus said...

That is a great cover! Jerry Ordway is very underrated.

Kid said...

Though not by you or me, eh, M? He should be getting a lot more work than he is, that's for sure.

TC said...

The covers of Flash #163, World's Finest #171, and Jimmy Olsen #139 and #141 all piqued my curiousity and got me to buy the comics. I don't remember being disappointed by them, but I don't remember them exceeding my expectations, either.

DC and Marvel would both do a bait-and-switch, having a popular artist like Neal Adams or Jack Kirby do the cover, and then another artist drawing the interior art. But, as 3 points out, you could look at the interior before buying it, if the artist made a difference for you.

Kid said...

Now I'll have to go and look up those covers, TC, especially the WF & Flash ones. I think I prefer it when the interior artist does the cover as well, because Jack Kirby usually drew the covers to Thor and FF (he did all his FF ones, though a couple or so of his Thor ones were by a different artist), so that's what I'm used to from when I was a kid.

Philip Crawley said...

The DC House of Mystery / Secrets / etc by either Neal Adams or Bernie Wrightson always caught my eye, though they rarely drew the associated tales inside the comics were still worth having anyway - but those covers were outstanding!

Kid said...

Yeah, they were usually great covers, PC. Now that I think about, my question was probably a daft one, because I'm not sure that I could give an example off the top of my head. I'd have to evaluate a comic as I read it to see whether it lived up to the cover (or the cover lived up to it) or not.

Joe S. Walker said...

I'm sure some people who bought the Wonder Woman "Womens' Lib Issue" were very disappointed.

Kid said...

Don't think I saw that one, JSW, but WW was always a bit of a disappointment to me until Denny O'Neil started writing it.

Phil S said...

Of Course! Invaders ? Kirby covers, Frank Robbins interior?

Kid said...

I dunno, PS, I think Kirby was letting down Robbins in a few instances there. I quite liked Frank Robbins on Batman.

Dave S said...

Something I've occasionally pondered is some of the comic purchases of my childhood- I used to get most of mine from a second-hand bookshop and would search through the piles of comics til I found something I wanted. Off the top of my head, a few comics I chose were The Inhumans 5, Astonishing Tales 34 and Rom 68.

Why did I choose these? The Inhumans issue has a nice enough cover but not one I'd say was especially captivating - even a quick flick through would reveal it was part of a continuing story without a huge amount of action. The other two had great covers but neither really seems like the sort of thing I was interested in at the time.

The only thing I can think of is that I was trying to read as many different titles and styles of comic as I could, so I could dive deeper into this amazing world I'd discovered, although in some ways I didn't dig deep enough - I remember dismissing Howard the Duck comics as funny animal stories and not worth reading although I later saw the error of my ways there.

Kid said...

Talking of Howard The Duck, I bought the first 5 issues, then don't remember seeing it again until a few issues later. Because I missed a few, I didn't bother getting any more. Years later I acquired #s 6-12 to complete the first dozen, then years later again, I got the first two volumes of The Complete HTD, which contained all the monthly colour issues. Number 3 is a classic. On covers, in the '70s I used to buy any comic whenever Jack Kirby drew the cover, even if it wasn't a title I usually bought.

Dave S said...

One title that had really good covers for a few years was the Marvel GI Joe series - I'd say from approximately issues 30-70 was the high point, a lot of them were drawn by Mike Zeck and were exactly the sort of covers that would just demand attention as they sat on the shelf. I was a GI Joe reader, so I tended to buy them anyway, but some of those covers are still big favourites of mine - especially 31, 43 and 66.

Kid said...

Didn't pay too much attention to the G.I. Joe covers, but I like Mike Zeck's art when he has the right inker. I think I lettered a few of the Marvel UK issues, though can't remember if the 'Action force' title was being used then.

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