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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 05/14/2006

Welcome to this 53rd edition of "Cover Stories," in which I look at a number of comics covers with a common theme!

Since this week marks the one-year anniversary of this column, as promised, I'm presenting a quartet of Birthday Covers!

Batman 321

I'd like to thank buddy Jim Smith from the DC History Yahoo Group for pointing out to me three of the four covers I'm using this week... especially for this one, which I'd never seen before, from Batman 321!

The Joker's birthday? Batman, Robin, Commissioner Gordon and Alfred tied to giant candles on a birthday cake designed to look like the Joker himself? How could I have never seen this one before? It's an excellent cover by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, whom I've long considered one of my favorite comics artists.

"Dreadful Birthday, Dear Joker...!" was written by Len Wein, with art by Walt Simonson and Dick Giordano, so you know it was good! Also in this issue were Hawkman in "Makes a Safe Landing" with art by Curt Swan and Vince Colletta, a Hostess Twinkies ad, Bob Rozakis' Answer Man column, and a Fred Hembeck strip featuring Man-Bat!

New Adventures of Superboy 1

For our next birthday cover, here's The New Adventures of Superboy #1, the last series starring the adventures of Superman when he was a boy (and, as of the time I'm writing this, it doesn't look like there'll be any future series starring any Superboy, but I digress). Jim Smith gets the credit for finding this one for me, too! I have seen this cover before, in a house ad, but I don't think I've ever read the issue, so I can't tell you why he needed an extra candle!

The New Adventures of Superboy #1 featured a cover by Kurt Schaffenberger and Dick Giordano. "The Most Important Year of Superboy's Life" was written by Cary Bates, with art by Schaffenberger and Dave Hunt. Also in this issue was a text article, "35 Years of Superboy," recapping the history of the Superboy feature.

Superman 207

Here's Superman 207, an 80-Page Giant, which buddy Craig Shutt, Mr. Silver Age, pointed out to me! Great cover, isn't it? All the classic Superman family members of the time are there on this classic Neal Adams cover (which, you know, DC should really consider using for a greeting card, you know?).

As with all the 80-Page Giants, this one was chock-full of reprints: "The Superman from Outer Space" was reprinted from Action Comics 265, and was by Otto Binder, Curt Swan and John Forte; a 30th Anniversary Superman Quiz, "The Trio of Steel" from Superman 135 by Jerry Siegel and Al Plastino; "The Captive of the Amazons" from Action 266, by Siegel and Wayne Boring; "Superman's New Uniform!" from Action 236 by Otto Binder, Boring, and Stan Kaye; "The Super-Family of Steel!" from Lois Lane 15, by Binder and Kurt Schaffenberger, and Cap's Hobby Hints by Henry Boltinoff!

Superman 411

And last, but certainly not least, here's Superman 411, another Jim Smith find! This issue was put together entirely in secret, without the knowledge of Julie Schwartz, who was editing the book by this time, as a birthday surprise! It's got a very cool story, too... one which reminds me of some of the "DC Comics Presents" Julie Schwartz tribute books from a few years back, save that this tribute could be enjoyed by the master when he was still alive!

This issue's cover is uncredited in the Grand Comics Database, but it looks to me that Dick Giordano at least inked the cover! "The Last Earth-Prime Story" was written by Elliott S! Maggin, with art by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson, and featured the Julie Schwartz of Earth-Prime AND Earth-1!

Oh, this issue also had an insert starring MASK, Matchbox's toy line (and short-lived cartoon series) by Michael Fleischer, Mike Chen, and Joe Delbeato.

So, that's it for this birthday celebration! Hard to believe it's been one year since this started... and I haven't run out of columns yet! I'd like to thank webmaster Justin for deciding to include "Cover Stories" in the regular offerings here at WF Comics, my good buddy Tony Isabella who encouraged me to work up this column and propose it to Justin, all my friends at the DC History List for getting me started on collecting covers with a common theme, and, of course, the Grand Comics Database for providing credits for all these comics!

Join me next time for another installment of "Cover Stories," as we go further into the second year of this column, 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

<< 05/07/2006 | 05/14/2006 | 05/21/2006 >>

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Recent Installments:
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10/14/2007Installment 127: Comics Never Made - Drive-In Movie Classics and Fantastic Film Classics
10/07/2007Installment 126: Circus Time
09/30/2007Installment 125: 1-10 - Challengers of the Unknown!
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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!
09/02/2007Installment 121: Cartoon Stuff
08/26/2007Installment 120: Sports
08/19/2007Installment 119: 1-10 - Captain Marvel Adventures!
08/12/2007Installment 118: Comics Never Made - Five comics that never were!
08/05/2007Installment 117: Carnival
07/22/2007Installment 116: A G-g-g-g-g-ghost!
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