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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 10/02/2005

Welcome to this 21nd edition of "Cover Stories," in which I look at a number of comics covers with a common theme!

Since October is Halloween month, I'm taking advantage of that to do all-Halloween related columns between now and the big day!

This week's entry is entitled, "A G-g-g-g-g-ghost!" Ghosts have been staples of comics covers almost since they began... and I find it fascinating how ghosts and ghost-like images have been used.

Action Comics 433

Here's a relatively recent "ghost" cover... but honestly, it's a cheat for me to use, because the people pulling Superman aren't ghosts at all! They're merely invisible (as well as super-powered).

And guess what? This could be a first... I actually have this book handy to tell you about (gee, could that be one of the reasons I chose this one to lead off the column? Hmmm... it's a possibility!).

This cover is a Nick Cardy work, which should come as no surprise... Nick Cardy's masterful work graced many a DC cover in the early 70s, thanks to his ability to come up with a compelling image. "The Man Who Was Buried on Page 64!" was written by Cary Bates, with art by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson, with Julie Schwartz editing. This story is about Noam Sythe, a man who accomplishes amazing scientific feats, but every time he does, the newspaper story about it gets buried, because he had the bad luck to make his announcements during major historical events, such as Orson Welles' "War of the Worlds" hoax, the first atomic bomb dropping, or the JFK assassination. His latest invention is a "Mento-Extractor" device, which he first powered up when he was guest speaker at a graduation at Metropolis U, the very one Clark Kent graduated at... and Clark was a target for his device, absorbing vast unused brain-power! Three other classmates of Clark's were hit by this as well, and the stored mento-power is used to make the other three classmates become invisible and abduct Superman, taking the man of steel to Sythe, who proceeds to use a larger version of his device to cause the moon to develop an atmosphere! However, the moon can't handle the mento-power, and Superman puts a stop to his plans... but Sythe ends up taking his own life as a result, and his obituary ends up on... Page 64!

The Atom also appears in this issue, in "Affair of the Bouncing Chair!" a fun little story by Elliot S! Maggin, Dick Dillin, and Dick Giordano.

Okay, okay... enough cheating, right? Time for some real ghost covers! I hear you!

Adventures into the Unknown 30

How's this for a ghost cover? I believe I've commented before how ACG's comics covers tend to be a bit out there... and this one is no different, with a ghostly werewolf, colored green as most of ACG's ghosts tend to be!

As with most ACG comics, info about them is somewhat spotty, but let's see what the GCG has to say about this issue, eh? The cover is by Ken Bald, and this issue features "The Haunt of the Hyena" with art by Lou Cameron and Rocco Mastroserio, "Werewolf Valley" (the source of the cover image, perhaps?) with art by Art Gates, "Ghosts of History" with pencils by Napoleon and inks by King Ward, "The Ghouls Behind the Glass" with art by Al Camy, "The Demon of the Deep" with art by King Ward, and finally, "The Thing Without a Face," with art by Gates!

Next, I feature a more famous ghost from the comics... nope, it's not Casper, it's Jim Corrigan's ultra-powerful alter ego, The Spectre!

More Fun 52

Created by Jerry Siegel, the Ghostly Guardian was, of course, a charter member of the JSA, and probably the least likely feature for a book called "More Fun Comics", eh? This was the first appearance of the Spectre, with a cover by Bernard Baily, probably the artist most associated with his Golden Age appearances. It's interesting to note how dark the green was on Spec's cape, gloves and trunks, hmmm?

Given it's the first Spectre story, naturally it leads off with his origin, by Siegel and Baily, which was reprinted in Secret Origins #5 (first series), as well as in the Golden Age Spectre Archives Vol. 1! The Spectre only appears in this mufti on this cover and in the last panel of the story in this issue, strangely enough! (I won't go into the debate as to whether or not all the white on the Spectre's outfit is costume, or just his dead-white skin!).

Also in this issue were Wing Brady (who?) in The Tuareg Siege, with art by Tom Hickey, Biff Bronson (who?) in "The Marching Mechanical Men" by Al Sulman and Joe Sulman, Radio Squad (whom I've barely heard of) in "The Bank Robbery" by Siegel and Martin Wheeler, Lt. Bob Neal in "Return to the Canal Zone" by Robert Hirsch and Russ Lehman, King Carter in "Peril on the Ice Plains" with art by Paul Lauretta, Detective Sergeant Casey in "The Studio Mystery" by Joe Donohoe, Red Coat Patrol in "The Terror of Beaver Run" by John Lehti, and Bulldog Martin in "The Invisible Pills" by Bart Tumey.

Yep... aside from the Spectre, doesn't seem much to recommend in this issue, is there? But he must've done the trick for DC, eh?

Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane 33

To wrap up this edition of Cover Stories, here's a Phantom Zone ghost... and of Lois Lane herself! Lois Lane issues are always worth a giggle to look at, and this one is no different, as Lana Lang has sent Lois into the Zone so she could have Superman to herself! Or at least, that's the way it seems, eh?

So, is it just me, or does it seem like most SA artists drew Lana sexier than Lois? Curt Swan does the honors for this cover, and I've always thought he had a Lana preference! Swan also did the honors for "The Phantom Lois Lane!", which also featured Lori Lemaris, Mon-El, and Supergirl! The issue is rounded up with a Homer filler by Henry Boltinoff, Lois in "The Candid Camera Kid!" with art by Kurt Schaffenberger, another Boltinoff filler featuring Jerry Jitterbug, "Lois Lane, Slave Girl!" with art by Schaffenberger (reprinted in Lois Lane #95), and a PSA, "Time-Out for Talk!" by Jack Schiff and Sheldon Moldoff.

Join me next time for another monstrous installment of "Cover Stories," and in the meantime, you can check out my blog at for other musings and ramblings by me, or email me with comments about this column at !

Jon B. Knutson

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