It’s that time of year when we should look to the season for an all-time favorite comic book cover. At the same time, what were they thinking?
On November 14th 1964, after spending a budget of approximately $200,000, Embassy Pictures Corporation released one of the worst movies of all-time “Santa Claus Conquers The Martians“. The film has achieved cult status in the category “It’s so bad, it’s good”.
To add a further seasonal faux-pas, Western Publishing in March of 1966 released a comic book adaptation under the Dell Comics imprint as part of their “Movie Classics” line of comics. I guess they assumed that any adaptation other than the movie might be an improvement. What were they thinking?
So, in the spirit of Christmas everywhere and in celebrating one of the worst films of all-time, I present a Christmas version of favorite all-time comic book covers!
March 1966 Santa Claus Conquers the Martians from Western Publishing (Dell)
We’ve seen some of our favorite cartoon characters in many forms. Sometimes a Disney duck or dog becomes a superhero and sometimes a hulking comic book superhero becomes a whaling baby.
So, what were they thinking when they came up with this? Skeletons of Cartoon Characters:
See if you can guess. Here we go!
DC Comics (studios?) has announced a slew of movies they will make up to 2019. One of their superheroes that will be getting the celluloid treatment is…wait for it…
Ok, now that you’ve wheezed all that excess salt water out of your lungs, yes, Aquaman swan dives from comic books to the big screen in July of 2018!
Whenever I hear “Aquaman”, I just can’t help it, I think immediately about the Big Bang Theory’s Rajesh Koothrappali whining, “Aquaman sucks!”
“Aquaman Sucks” in the Big Ban Theory!
Well, apparently The Big Bang Theory doesn’t have quite the same influence as Sideways star Paul Giamatti playing Miles Raymond when he stated “I’m not drinking any f&%$#%g Merlot”! Merlot hasn’t fully recovered in 10 years!
So despite “Aquaman sucks” on the Big Bang Theory, the Aquaman movie is a go!
Which Aquaman will we see in this movie?
Aquaman from 1964!
Or this one?
Aquaman from 1986!
Or maybe this one?
Aquaman from 1994!
Ok, maybe this one a little more like a pirate?
Aquaman from 1998!
Or finally how about this version?
Hey why not Kevin Costner as Aquaman? After all, Waterworld was such a box office hit….
If he doesn’t make the final grade, how about a Waterworld – Aquaman crossover? It’s a match made in Sea World!
Now I have your attention, considering the comic cover we are going to see shortly, maybe the better question should be: Have you ever been squeezed so hard, you thought your head would pop off? Apparently, at DC Comics in 1976, the answer was yes!
This World’s Finest Comics #235 cover by Ernie Chan is actually pretty hilarious. Not only does some mysterious giant hand surge out of nowhere, it actually grabs the man of steel and squeezes so hard, his head comes clean off. And I do mean “clean off”. Nice and even all the way round, it even ejects with some force winds drawn by Mr Chan. A scene like this in the late 1940s or even now would have…let’s say…a lot more “red” in it.
So how does Superman get out of this? Sorry to disappoint you but it’s actually an imaginary teaser that repeats itself on the opening page, then is never referred to again.
I don’t know what they were thinking! Anyway, check out the hilarity in the cover below.
Kind of like squeezing a tube of toothpaste too hard!
One of the defining events that marked the beginning of the Bronze Age of Comics was when Jack Kirby moved from Marvel Comics to DC Comics. Jack Kirby was responsible for the creation and co-creation of some of the most significant superheroes in all of comic book history!
When hiring Jack Kirby, senior management of DC Comics asked him to take their line of superheroes in a new direction. They didn’t exactly hand him Superman or Batman, nor did they give him the reigns to Green Lantern or the Flash. Instead, they gave him a bullpen book “Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen”. So in effect, he could show his take on Superman in a minor title. What he did with that title was so shocking to the DC Editors of the day, that they asked an artist that hadn’t drawn Superman for years, Murphy Anderson, to redraw the faces of Superman and Jimmy Olsen, not only for the cover, but for every page in the title. Their excuse was, they wanted to maintain the same “look” that Superman had carried for the past 30+ years. So much for a new direction.
So here we had one of the most beloved comic book artists of the day, and I dare say of all time, having the facial features redrawn by someone that DC Editors didn’t want on anymore on the main franchise! Jack Kirby who gave emotion to so many characters over the years was too much for the DC editors of the day. The alterations in Mr Kirby’s style were obvious to any who knew his style.
You can see here the redrawn faces on the cover of Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #144. The “new” (old) face of Superman seems to be completely disconnected from the rest of the cover theme! I mean, what were they thinking?
Jack Kirby’s masterful work with the facial features of Superman and Jimmy Olsen, redrawn by Murphy Anderson.
I have been searching around for any unaltered cover images to compare them to the original, but I have not been successful to-date. This minor title went on to claim great fan interest, increased sales and a real shake-up of this corner of the DC Universe. After Darkseid, it would never be the same at DC Comics. Of Course Jack Kirby went on to create a whole new universe of characters for DC, many who still exist today.
So, in the end the Comics Code Authority faded out of existence.
The stamp of the Comics Code Authority which ensure for almost 20 years that comic books were…not to go there…
What began in 1954, left without a whimper in 2011. Marvel Comics, DC Comics and Archie Comics were the last three to administer the code. In the end, Archie Comics was left as the last to turn out the lights. Of the three, Archie Comics never took liberties with the code:
What are those guys looking at anyway? Josie and her what?!?
Now, I’d never be one to suggest that Archie Comics took liberties with the code, especially not in 1970…hmmm? What were they thinking?
After the death of Superman series of events, he of course came back. This major comic event brought renewed interest in the Superman franchise and the editorial group and creative team were scratching their heads trying to figure out some way of making Superman well…cool. While the new guys in the room were jumping up and down with, “I know, I know…how about some interesting stories?”, the decision was made to give him…long hair! I mean…what were they thinking?
This was the solution to coolness, lets have Superman come back literally sprouting long hair. He will fit in with all the other cool long hair types. So in the fall of 1993, we had Superman all of a sudden with long hair. Here is an example! Continue reading
It was a toss-up for this cover. It is definitely one of my all-time favorites, but it could also fits into the “What Were They Thinking” category. Let’s go back to 1947, before the Comics Code Authority (CCA) was established to censor just about everything interesting in comic books. Horror, sex and violence were more commonplace on comic covers in the late 1940’s than what we see today. Ok, well you got me there, we’ll just say what were considered sexual images back in 1947.
Most North Americans didn’t have a television and had never witnessed a figure skating competition. From newsreel photos I’ve seen of the day, nobody wore skimpy outfits that might show a piece of skin beyond face, neck and hands. Enter Al Feldstein, always one to draw futuristic scenes on comic covers, which he became famous for. Well, Mr Feldstein must also have had an idea about figure skaters 50 years in the future! He gave us this cover:
Check out her male suitor, he is even embarrassed by the…view!
Ok, not to be crude, but just who is propositioning who in this comic book cover? Some pre-code comic book collectors tell us that this comic cover has two points of interest…
I mean; What were they thinking? Ok, so it’s back in 1959 and nobody in 1959 has a boner…right? Well maybe they didn’t call it that or…maybe they did…
Western Publishing had a great tun of Four Color Comics from 1942 to 1962 with a total of 1,354 issues. No way this could happen today, especially at Marvel Comics where their them of this decade is “relaunch every year”!!! But, I digress…
In Four Color Comics #1054, published in 1959 has a one pager (inside front cover) starring Huckleberry Hound in “Huckleberry Hound’s Snow Boner“. Yikes! Pete Alvarado is credited with the pencils but what I really want to know is, who was in charge of the script, lettering and editing! The gag wasn’t too funny in 1959, but it’s pretty hilarious now!
Here is the one-page gag in all it’s hilarity:
Ok kids, you shouldn’t be reading any more Huckleberry Hound stories!
Lucky that belt buckle was drawn strategically!
Back in 1966 we were shifting into the twilight of the Silver Age of Comics. Maybe the creative ideas are running a bit thin with the Comics Code Authority ready to censor just about anything that might be interesting to read. But, this one title “Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane” can provide a history lesson in silly story lines of the silver age of comic books! Here is a fine example published by DC Comics in May of 1966. I mean, what were they thinking? Continue reading