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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 04/23/2006

Welcome to this 50th edition of "Cover Stories," in which I look at a number of comics covers with a common theme!

This week's theme is "Histeria!" What the heck does that mean? Well, it means comics covers guest-starring a figure from history! (More often than not, it's Cleopatra... guess that movie in the 60s was very influential, eh?)

Adventure 183

Wow, I'm actually starting a column without an Action Comics cover... instead, it's Adventure Comics 183, featuring "Superboy and Cleopatra!" And here's Superboy, acting as Cleopatra's slave (that could be a theme in and of itself... Superman acting as someone's slave!). The movie (which was released about 12 years after this comic) obviously didn't inspire this story, cover-featured with Win Mortimer art!

"Superboy and Cleopatra" was illustrated by John Sikela. This wouldn't be the last time that Superboy met Cleopatra... in Adventure Comics #291 (still predating the movie) he met her again... and in his self-titled series, #151 I believe, he met her yet again - and I'm sure there are other meetings I'm unaware of!

Also in this issue: A Varsity Vic filler by Henry Boltinoff, a UNICEF PSA featuring Superman, by Jack Schiff and Win Mortimer, Aquaman in "the First Undersea Jail" by Ramona Fradon, a Little Pete filler by Boltinoff, a Jerry Jitterbug filler by Boltinoff, Johnny Quick in "The Whirlwind Vote-Getter" by Paul Norris, a text feature, "Notes About The Navy," and Green Arrow in "The Polka Dot Bandit Goes Straight," by George Papp!

Rip Hunter 13

Naturally, a time-travelling series like Rip Hunter... Time Master (issue 13 on display here) should've featured a lot of historical characters... this time around, it's Kublai Khan! No mention of Xanadu on this cover, though... either the poem or the Olivia Newton-John movie! This cover was by Bill Ely.

The story within was by Jack Miller, with art by Ely. The chapters of this story were titled, "The Menace of the Mongol Magician," "The Hijacked Time Sphere" (geez, didn't that happen in about half of these stories?), and "The Mongul Ambush."

Too bad there's no "Showcase Presents: Rip Hunter" volume I can refer to in order to tell you more about this issue! And of course, this is not one of the two or three issues of this series I've read, either.

Strange Adventures 60

I told you Cleopatra was on a lot of these covers! Here, on Strange Adventures 60's cover, she co-stars with Columbus and Napoleon - and I'm amazed that the artist didn't put Napoleon's hand in his coat, as we're accustomed to seeing him! This cover was by Gil Kane with inks by Bernard Sachs.

"Across the Ages" was by John Broome, Jerry Grandenetti, and Joe Giella, and was reprinted in Beyond the Unknown #8. Also in this issue, "The Man Who Remembered 100,000 Years Ago" by Otto Binder, Kane and Sachs, "Orphan of the Stars" by France Herron, Sid Greene and Sachs, and "World at the Edge of the Universe" by Otto Binder and Sy Barry, which was reprinted in "From Beyond the Unknown" #7.

Superman 70

And finally... here's a cover with a different historical figure, Annie Oakley, featured on Superman 70's cover! Since "Annie Get Your Gun" had been released to the movie theatres the previous year, it's pretty likely that it was an influence on this issue. This cover was by Wayne Boring with inks by Sam Kaye.

"Lois Lane Meets Annie Oakley" was the lead-off tale, by Alvin Schwartz, Boring and Kane... and it's a bit of a cheat! "Annie Oakley" is a woman really named Annie Nichols... presumably "Annie Oakley" is a stage name, or perhaps she impersonates her as part of a Wild West show.

Also in this issue, "The Life of Superman" by Edmund Hamilton, Bornng and Kaye, which I may have read before (they've done a story by that name several times, this may not have been the one I read in reprint form, since the Grand Comics Database doesn't mention any reprinting), a Jerry the Jitterbug filler by Henry Boltinoff, and "The Pied Piper Prankster," by Hamilton, Boring and Kaye.

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

<< 04/16/2006 | 04/23/2006 | 04/30/2006 >>

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