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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 01/01/2006

Welcome to this 34th edition of "Cover Stories," in which I look at a number of comics covers with a common theme!

Guess what? It's a second week of holiday-themed covers! That's right, this week is New Year's Eve, and so I'm presenting a trio of appropriate covers for you, from comics' Golden Age!

Action 81

Here's a fun cover, from Action Comics 81 (wow, two columns in a row leading off with an Action cover, eh?), featuring Superman flying the old year and Baby New Year at the same time, with colorful balloons flying in the background (and a moon so huge, one half expects to see the Dynamic Duo here somewhere!).

This cover was penciled by Wayne Boring, with Stan Kaye inks. The Schuster style seems to be very strong here, however! This issue was apparently popular enough to be reprinted as Special Edition Comics #2 for the U.S. Navy - with simplified text (odd, isn't it? Thanks to the Grand Comics Database and their devoted indexers for coming up with that nugget!).

Naturally, the Man of Steel leads off the issue in the story, "Fairyland Isle" with art by Ira Yaborough, a Christmas tale. This is followed by Hayfoot Harry in "The Man Who Stole Time" by Al Schwartz and a penciler only identified as "T H". This is followed by Congo Bill in "Nemesis of the Northland" with art by John Daly, the text story "Ticket to Death" by Fred Whitby, the Vigilante in "The Chinatown Kid, Magician" (Stuff, the Chinatown Kid, was Vig's sidekick) by Joe Samachson and Mort Meskin. Wrapping up the issue was Zatara in "Sea-Going Sparklers," with art tentatively identified as being by W.F. White.

More Fun 17

So if you've ever wondered how a comic could be named "More Fun Comics" when it's probably best known for being the original home of the Spectre... this cover is an excellent example! This pre-Spectre issue featured a lot of fun strips, and certainly earned its name (and, it fits the theme this week, too!). This cover is from issue 17, in case you can't read it on the scan. The cover was by Vince Sullivan, and apparently the kid painting "Happy New Year" was not one of the characters in the book.

OK, now for the contents... and boy, were there a lot of them! First was a one-page humor filler, "Alger's Variety Show" by Russell Cole, then Sandra of the Secret Service in "The Resbian Affair: Part 4" by W.C. Brigham, Spike Spalding in "Prince of Morania: Ch. 17" by Vincent Sullivan, Don Drake in "Blinded By The Light" by Ken Fitch and Clem Gretter (Drake's last appearance), The Three Musketeers, episode 5 by Sven Elven, Dr. occult in "Koth and the Seven: Part 4" by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Ivanhoe Part 17 by Raymond Perry (I should note both this and The Three Musketeers were adapted from the original novels), Pep Morgan in "Fox and Hounds" by Creig Flessel, Wing Brady in "The Bedouin Adventure: Part 17" by Tom Hickey, Buckskin Jim in "The Menace of Little Wolf: Part 2" by Tom Cooper, Barry O'Neill in "Fang Gow of China: Part 17" by Leo O'Mealia, Mark Marson in "People of the Red Planet: Part 3" by Tom Hickey, Woozy Watts in "Island Adventure: Part 8" by Russell Cole, Bradley Boys in "In The Wilderness: Part 4" by Creig Flessel, "Just Jokes" by Vincent Sullivan, Thrilling True Stories featuring "Duck Hunting disaster" by Richard B. Speed and Creig Flessel, Just Suppose featuring "Disraeli/Benedict Arnold" by A.D.Keifer and Henry Kiefer, Along the Main Line in "The Holdup: Part 9" by Tom Cooper, Bob Merritt in "Alaskan Adventure: Part 3" by Leo O'Mealia, Midshipman Dewey in "Captain Hale, Gun-Runner: Ch. 4" by Tom Cooper, Brad Hardy in "Invading the Palace" by Tom Hickey, Little Linda in "Kidnapped: Part 2" by Whitney Ellsworth, Captain Grim in "Sea Gold: Part 2" by Tom Cooper, Sam the Porter by Russell Cole, Pelion and Ossa in "Gold Gulch: Part 4" by Al Stahl, Jack Woods in "Damsel in Distress: Part 14" by W.C. Brigham, Magic Crystal of History featuring "Julius Caesar" by Homer Fleming, Pirate Gold episode 6 by Sven Elven, Hubert by Bill Patrick, and finally, Calling All Cars in "The Dan Bowers Case: Part 1" by Siegel and Shuster.

Whew! That's a lot of features, isn't it? And most of them were only two pages each!

More Fun 28

And here's another More Fun cover from the following year, and by the same artist, too! I believe that one of the features from the book is standing in for Baby New Year here, but I'm not sure which one. And this cover is from More Fun 28, with art by Vince Sullivan.

"Only" 21 features in this issue... and here they are! The issue leads off with Wing Brady by Tom Hickey, then Magic Crystal of History by Homer Fleming, Jack Woods by W.C. Brigham, Sandra of the Secret Service by Monroe Eisenberg, Barry O'Neill by Leo O'Mealia, Little Linda by Whitney Ellsworth, Brad Hardy by Tom Hickey, Spike Spalding by Vince Sullivan, Bob Merritt by Leo O'Mealia, Dr. Occult by Siegel and Shuster, Woozy Watts by Russell Cole, Radio Squad by Siegel and Shuster, Three Musketeers by Sven Elven, Pirate Gold by Sven Elven, Pep Morgan by Creig Flessel, Mark Marson by Tom Hickey, Hanko the Cowhand by Creig Flessel, Johnny Law by Will Ely, and Marty McCann by Ed Cronin.

Both of these issues of More Fun had features that were obviously inspired by the newspaper strips of the era, many of which were still being reprinted in comic books, but I'll leave it to you readers to guess which feature was inspired by what strip!

Alas, I've only got three New Year's covers for you this week, but I hope by next year, I'll be able to dig up a few others (or else I'll skip the theme entirely)!

So, Happy New Year, everyone... and if you feel you must make a resolution, might I offer up a few for you (don't worry, this will be it for my sentimental wrap-up for quite some time)?

1. Take care of your own health - You only have one life! 2. Never miss an opportunity to tell the people you care for that you love them - you never know when it'll be the last time! 3. Give the gift of reading to children - it doesn't matter if it's comics, or books, or any other reading material, so long as it's appropriate to their age! 4. Pursue your dreams!

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, or email me with comments about this column at !

Jon B. Knutson

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