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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 04/30/2006

Welcome to this 51st edition of "Cover Stories," in which I look at a number of comics covers with a common theme!

We're only two weeks away from the first anniversary of this column, friends!

This week's theme is taken from a popular filler feature of DC's Silver Age books, "Cap's Hobby Hints!" So let's take a look at some comics covers featuring hobbies!

Hopefully, you're not sick of seeing "Action Comics" covers in this column, because I have three of them for you this week... plus a cover from a non-DC book!

Action Comics 96

While not as popular as it used to be, playing checkers is a hobby many enjoy... although few enjoy it like Superman does here on the cover of Action Comics 96! I certainly get a kick out of the one deep sea diver trying to give Superman an idea for his next move!

Naturally, the cover has nothing to do with the contents... which were Superman in "Haircut - and a Close Shave" pencilled by Sam Citron, Congo Bill in "Adventure in Hollywood" by Alvin Schwartz and Edwin Smalle, The Vigilante in "Danger's Midgets" by Mort Meskin (featuring the villainy of the Dummy), a Scuffy the Tramp filler by Lit Win, the text story "Killer's Refuge" by Stan Carter, a Hayfood Henry filler by Alvin Schwartz and Stan Kaye, and Zatara in "Wonders of Worlds" by W.F. White!

Action Comics 112

From checkers, we move on to chess... with this cover from Action Comics 112, featuring Mr. Mxyztplk! I'm guessing that the Superman piece is a knight, or maybe a rook... while Mxy is obviously a pawn! This cover is by Wayne Boring and Stan Kaye.

The cover story, "The Cross-Country Chess Crimes," featured art by John Sikela. Also in this issue: A Little Moe filler by Phil Berube, Congo Bill in "The Knife Thrower" by Ed Smalle, Zatara in "Photo of a Phoney" by Joe Samachson and W.F. White, a Casey the Cop filler by Henry Boltinoff, Hayfoot Henry in "The Practical jokers" by Schwartz and Kaye, and the Vigilante in "The Vigilante's Double" by George Roussos!

Action Comics 207

OK, here's a smidge of a cheat, if you will... Sure, there are people who collect military medals, but when I saw this cover, I was reminded more of the medallion/coins released in the 1970s featuring Marvel characters like Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk! This cover, for Action 207, was by Win Mortimer.

"The Four Superman Medals" featured art by Wayne Boring and Stan Kaye. Also in this issue: A Varsity Vic filler by Henry Boltinoff, Binky in the PSA "Never Underestimate a New Idea" by Jack Schiff and Mortimer, Tommy Tomorrow in "Mystery of the Space Mutiny" by Otto Binder and Jim Mooney, and Congo Bill in "Janu, the Human Chimp" by Ed Smalle!

America's Best 21

And finally... a double-treat! It's an infinity cover that also features comics reading... and if that isn't a hobby we can all relate to, I don't know what is! This was issue 21 of this title, and was by Alex Schomburg, better known for his Marvel covers of the period! The heroes on this cover, from left to right, were Doc Strange, the Black Terror, and Fighting Yank.

Within this issue: The Black Terror in "Timber!", "The Silent Alarm," a test story by Charles S. Strong, "The Jokes on You!" by Al Hartley (who later went on to do the Spire Christian comics), Pyroman in "The Conflict of Past and Present," the text story "Pearl Divers" by Kerry McRoberts, Tony in "Apples," a filler, "Cat Tales", Fighting Yank in "The Tormenter," the fillers "Homeless Homer" and "Wagon Train Raid" by Donald Wayne Hobart (believe it or not, that's a third text feature), and Doc Strange in "The Conquering Knights!"

If you want to find out more about those super-heroes, Doc Strange, the Black Terror, and Fighting Yank, I recommend Wikipedia! Their entries on these characters are at, and

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

<< 04/23/2006 | 04/30/2006 | 05/07/2006 >>

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Recent Installments:
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09/16/2007Installment 123: Comics Never Made - Drive-In Movie Classics and Fantastic Film Classics
09/09/2007Installment 122: Reader Challenge - a reader gave me four comic book covers, and challenged me to come up with the theme!
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08/19/2007Installment 119: 1-10 - Captain Marvel Adventures!
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