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Cover Stories by Jon B. Knutson
Jon Knutson presents comic book covers with a common theme
and relates any information and comments about them.

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COVER STORIES for 08/21/2005

Welcome to this 15th edition of "Cover Stories," in which I look at a number of comics covers with a common theme!

Today, we're looking at four comics covers in which someone is unmasked!

Adventure 102

When it comes to great comics covers, it's hard to beat Jack Kirby, especially when he was teamed with Joe Simon! This Sandman cover is a great example of today's theme... and look at the detail in this guy's face!

Obviously, this story was after the redesign of the Sandman, who originally appeared wearing a green double-breasted suit, hat and gas mask. The Simon-Kirby Sandman adventures certainly lived up to the dynamic standards one comes to expect from Golden Age S-K stuff!

This cover featured the lead story, "The Dream of Peter Greene," with pencils by Kirby, and inks by Gil Kane (which must've been really something!). Sadly, this was the final Golden Age Sandman story.

Also in this issue of Adventure: Starman in his last GA adventure, "The Meteor Mob" by Joe Samachson and Emil Gerswin, The Shining Knight in "King 'Artie's' Crime Court" by Joe Samachson and Chuck Winter, Genius Jones in "The Eighth Day of the Week" by Stan Kaye (that series, strangely, did last beyond this issue, continuing in More Fun Comics), and Mike Gibbs, Guerilla in "Honorable Mention, Please" by Joe Samachson and Maurice Del Bourgo. As was typical for this issue of Adventure, this was the last Mike Gibbs story.

I've never heard of Joe Samachson prior to researching this issue... anyone out there know more about him?

Batman 160

This Shelly Boldoff cover tells us which era of Batman this is from, right? For those of you who may not know it, around the 1950s or so, Batman's world went totally wacky... yes, there was Batwoman and the original Bat-Girl, as well as Ace the Bat-Hound (appearing these days, as I write this, on Cartoon Network's "Krypto the Super-Dog" series)... but also, there were aliens around every corner! And it wasn't just in Batman's own title, but also in Detective Comics and World's Finest, too!

But this wasn't the lead story of this issue, friends! No, the lead story was "The Mystery of Madcap Island," written by Bill Finger, pencilled by Sheldon Moldoff, and inks by Charles Paris. This was followed by a Henry Boltinoff "Casey the Cop" filler, and then... we get "The Alien Boss of Gotham City" written by Dave Wood, pencilled by Moldoff, and inked by Paris. I may not have this issue in my collection, but I can definitely tell you that the stories were probably signed by Bob Kane! The book is finished up with a one-page PSA called "Your Free Trip Around the World!" by Ira Schnapp and Sheldon Moldoff, in which a sea captain tells some boys some tales, and then takes them to the library where he explains they can travel anywhere just by reading!

Captain America 143

Let's jump ahead a few decades here to Captain America 143... where a much more dramatic unmasking is taking place. Hmmm... major unmasking of a villain plaguing Captain America... could it be... the Red Skull?

This cover was pencilled and inked by John Romita. The story, "Power to the People" was written by Gary Friedrich, and pencilled and inked by Romita.

Sensation 32

Finally, here's a Wonder Woman cover that fits the theme... as I mentioned in a previous column, on the DC History Yahoo Group, we've noticed that for nearly any theme, there's a Wonder Woman cover that fits it... and this Harry G. Peter-illustrated cover proves it for this theme!

Unfortunately, I don't own this issue, nor do I have the Wonder Woman Archives Vol. 4, in which the WW stories from this issue were reprinted, so I can't tell you anything about the story... so what can I tell you? Well, thanks to a diligent Grand Comics Database indexer, I can tell you the story, "The Crime Combine" (by William Moulton Marston and Harry G. Peter) involves Paula Von Gunther infiltrating the Crime Combine to help Diana out!

Also in this issue of Sensation: Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys, by Frank Harry, the Gay Ghost by Howard Purcel, a text story by Evelyn Gaines, Mr. Terrific by Stan Aschmeier, and Wildcat in "A Dinner with Skinner" by Joe Gallagher (Stretch Skinner was Wildcat's comedic sidekick - they were all the rage at DC back then).

Join me next time for another installment of "Cover Stories," and in the meantime, you can check out my blog at for other musings and ramblings by me!

Jon B. Knutson

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