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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 04/16/2006

Welcome to this 49th edition of "Cover Stories," in which I look at a number of comics covers with a common theme!

This week's theme? To quote Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy, "He's Dead, Jim!" Yes, it's a group of dead characters (okay, none of them are really dead, y'know... they get better!).

Let's begin with a Superman-related cover, just 'cause I love to use 'em so often!

Action Comics 318

Action Comics 318 features this Curt Swan cover with a dead Luthor! Personally, if I were seen wearing the mini-skirt outfit Lex is wearing here, I'd probably die of embarassment myself! George Klein supplies the inks.

"The Death of Luthor" was written by SF writer Edmund Hamilton, with art by Swan and Klein, and was reprinted in The Best of DC #27. Let's see if I can recall the story correctly, shall we? It's been a while since I read it, so I could well get the details wrong. Basically, Luthor escapes from prison and heads off to Lexor, the world where he's considered a hero by everyone, especially Ardora (who later married him). Superman goes after him, and somehow, Lex contrives to make it appear that Superman has killed him (I believe Lex really took some formula to put himself into a coma that simulated death), figuring Superman would be charged and convicted of the murder, and put to death before Lex revived. Naturally, the plan doesn't work! The story continued in Action Comics #319.

Also in this issue, Supergirl stars in "Supergirl Goes to College," and you can probably guess that in the story, Supergirl Goes to College! This was by Leo Dorfman with Jim Mooney.

Adventure Comics 331

Moving on to Adventure Comics 331... here's a cover in which the entire Legion of Super-Heroes is apparently dead and buried (but only one tombstone for the entire team, while Superboy will get one of his own?). It's all a plot by the Legion of Super-Villains, naturally! This cover is another Swan/Klein job.

"The Triumph of the Legion of Super-Villains" was by Jerry Siegel and Jim Mooney, and in the story, the LSV double-crosses Dynamo Boy, and is then defeated by the LSH... and I've no idea how the cover scene fits in this story, since I've never read the original comic or its reprints in Best of DC Digest 64 or Legion of Super-Heroes, Vol. 4.

Also in this issue: A Private Pete filler, the Legion Outpost letter column, a Casey the Cop filler (uncredited in the Grand Comics Database, but I'm willing to bet it's by Murray Boltinoff). The issue is wrapped up with "Clark Kent's Coach" with art by John Sikela, reprinted from Superboy 43, and the PSA "Are YOU A Silent Witness?"

Amazing Adventures 12

Moving on to some Marvel deaths ('cause this is an equal opportunty column, after all), here's Gil Kane's cover to Amazing Adventures, in which Hank McCoy's deluded himself into thinking that he's killed Iron Man! The story inside is by Steve Englehart and Tom Sutton, with Mike Ploog inking Sutton. The story was reprinted in part in Avengers #136.

This is another situation where I know I've read the original story... but can't recall much about it! I do have to point out, however, that Iron Man doesn't have the best track record when it comes to meeting up with X-Men operating solo... when he met the Angel, back in IM's "Tales of Suspense" days, the Angel briefly turned evil, and nearly defeated Shellhead! And in this issue, he gets his bucket kicked by the Beast!

Daredevil 54

Here's Daredevil 54, art by Gentleman Gene Colan, in which it appears that the title character has bit the big one! The story was reprinted in Essential Daredevil #3 (I really need to catch up on those Essentials one of these days). "Call Him Fear" was written by Roy Thomas, with art by Colan and George Klein. In the story, a new Mr. Fear challenges DD to a public brawn, and DD's branded a coward when he freaks out during the fight.

I believe the cover image is based on a sub-plot in which Daredevil's considering letting everyone think that Matt Murdock is dead, so he can just adapt his "Mike Murdock" identity full time - Mike was supposed to be Matt's swingin' twin brother! Matt created the new identity so that Foggy Nelson and Karen Page would think that Mike is Daredevil, not Matt... and I'd imagine it seemed like a good idea at the time!

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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