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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 06/11/2006

Welcome to the 57th edition of "Cover Stories," in which I look at a number of comics covers with a common theme!

Once again, I'm revisiting a theme from way back... way, way back to the first installment! Yep, this week I return to "Abracadabra!" featuring characters performing "magic" - but not real magic... no Dr. Fate or Dr. Strange here!

Action Comics 382

When I first decided to collect some covers fitting this theme, this was the cover that inspired it all... Yes, it's Action 382, "The Great Kento!" featuring Clark Kent in a purple tux and tails (like you'd only find in a comic book). The cover pretty much says the basic plot of the cover feature, except that it's one of those wonderful elaborate hoaxes Superman would pull to catch a criminal (because, you know, just using one's super-senses would be too easy, I guess).

This cover was by the wonderful Curt Swan/Murphy Anderson team... or "Swanderson" as they'd sometimes be signed. Inside, "Clark Kent, Magician" was by Leo Dorfman, Swan and George Roussos. Also in this issue were the Legion of Super-Heroes in "Kill a Friend, Save a World" by Jim Shooter, Win Mortimer and Jack Abel!

Surprised to see the Legion in Action Comics? When Supergirl took over Adventure Comics, the Legion moved to her old spot, and would stay there for a while (although there was a period when they disappeared from Action, and only appeared in a few reprints until DC did two issues of an all-reprint LSH book, after which they went to Superboy, and eventually took over the title entirely).

Adventure Comics 122

As you can see here on Adventure Comics 122's cover, Superman began his dalliance with magician status way back! I'm particularly amused by the candy canes in the gun barrels (would even the hardest candy cane jam them up badly enough they couldn't shoot? For that matter, why would Superboy even worry about mere bullets?).

This cover was by Stan Kaye and George Roussos. Unusually enough for a Golden Age comic, the cover actually had something to do with the contents, as the book leads off with "Superboy - Super-Magician" by Bill Finger with art by Roussos and Kaye. Also appearing in this issue were Shining Knight in "The Crooked Fireman" by Joe Samachson and Chuck Winter, Green Arrow in "King of Danger Channel" by George Kashdan and George Papp (by the way, did you know that Kashdan was the chief writer of Filmation's DC cartoons of the late 1960s?), Aquaman in "Operation Justice" by John Daly, and Johnny Quick in "The Speed Collector" by Mort Meskin and Roussos.

And to wrap up this installment... here's Detective Comics 207, featuring "Batman, the Magician!" Yes, friends... Batman the Magician!

Detective Comics 207

Years before the Caped Crusader would become "The Genie Batman," he put on a turban for this issue, with cover art by Win Mortimer. The issue leads off with a Binky PSA, "Welcome, Amigo" by Jack Schiff and Bob Oksner, but then we get into Batman and Robin in "Batman the Magician" by Bill Finger and Sheldon Moldoff, which was reprinted in Batman Annual #2. The issue also featured a Casey the Cop filler by Henry Boltinoff, Roy Raymond TV Detective in "The Secret of the Flying Saucers!" by Ruben Moreira, a Jerry the Jitterbug filler by Boltinoff, Captain Compass in "Beware the Sea Serpent" by Otto Binder and Joe Certa, an Annie Gram activity page by Martin Naydel, the text article "Meet a Killer" by Jack Miller, Quick Quiz by H.T. Elmo, and Mysto Magician Detective in "Conquerors of Crime" by Leonard Starr.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your viewpoint), I only had three covers left to fit this theme... but next week, it'll be back to four covers, as I present the theme "Cartoon Stuff"!

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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Recent Installments:
NEWESTInstallment 129: 1 - 10 - Cracked! (10/28/2007)
10/21/2007Installment 128: Clichés
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!
09/23/2007Installment 124: Ch-ch-ch-changes - And it's all Superman family titles!
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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