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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 08/13/2006

Welcome to the 66th edition of "Cover Stories," in which I look at a number of comics covers with a common theme!

Boy, one of these days I've got to come up with a new opening, don't I?

OK, this week's theme returns to the circus, with a quartet of Big Cats covers! And let's begin with the standard Superman cover!

Action Comics 27

Yep, it didn't take Superman long to deal with a lion, did he? Obviously, from this cover, he had to save Lois Lane from this King of the Beasts.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this cover, however, isn't the circus theme, but rather the latest in the evolution of Superman's insignia! Note that the shield shape is pretty close to the final version here... but the "S" is quite a bit different. It also doesn't appear that the yellow shield's appeared on the cape yet (although the rest of the costume appears to be in its final form, although I think the belt got narrower over time).

As always, thanks to the Grand Comics Database, I can provide you with more information about this issue of Action (which is #27, in case you can't read the number from the scan here). The art was done by Paul Cassidy, doing a fine imitation of Shuster's style (and I don't mean that as a knock on Cassidy's work).

Inside the book, Superman stars in "The Brentwood Rehabilitation Home," by Jerry Siegel and Cassidy. The Brentwood home is a home for delinquent kids, and of course, Superman helps things out there (yes, the Man of Steel was quite the social worker earlier in his career!). This story was reprinted in Superman: The Action Comics Archives #2.

Next up, Pep Morgan in "The Track Meet Fix" by Fred Guardineer, the Black Pirate in "Fight to the Finish" by Sheldon Moldoff, the text piece "No Greater Courage" by Ivan Dmytryk, the Three Aces in "The Blue Raider" by Chad Grothkopf, Tex Thompson in "The Return of the Gorrah!" by Ken Fitch and Bernard Baily, a Tiny filler by Fred Schwab, Clip Carson in "Hollywood Advisor" by Sheldon Moldoff, a Mr. Pots filler by Bernard Baily, and finally, Zatara in "The Vanished Explorer" by Gardner Fox and Fred Guardineer! The GCD has synopses of most of those features in its entry for Action #27.

Going away from Superman and the DC titles, let's take a look at a cover featuring TWO big cats, "America's Best Comics" #31, by Standard Comics!

America's Best 31

Yep, there's the Black Terror riding a tiger through a flaming hoop, while a lion waits in the background (I wonder if it heard from the lion in the previous cover that you don't mess around with guys in tights and a cape?). The blonde babe using the whip is Miss Masque.

The cover for this issue was by Alex Schomburg, probably better known for his golden age Marvel covers. Also, this issue was the last one of this series!

Inside, the Black Terror starred in "The Court of Miracles," as the Black Terror and Tim learn about the 17th Century Black Terror! (and here you thought it was only Batman who had imitators throughout history, thanks to Professor Nichols!). This story was by Ruben Moreira.

Also in this issue, Miss Masque in "The Horse Cried Murder", the text story "Boy of the Island" by Oliver Buchanan, Buck Ranger in "The Wealth of the West" by Moreira, Bart Bradley in "Prison Break" by Bob Oksner (who would later do lots of stuff at DC), and another text story, "Beaver Patrol," by Charles S. Strong!

OK, a quick pop back over to DC, as we look at Detective Comics 203, where the lion and tiger of the last cover are joined by a black panther!

Detective 203

This cover, drawn by Win Mortimer, is a really great one, in my humble opinion. I mean, look at the body language of the Dynamic Duo! And it doesn't hurt that Catwoman's looking pretty good, does it?

The issue begins, not with the Batman story, but with a Binky PSA on the inside front cover, "Home, Sweet Home" by Jack Schiff and Bob Oksner (I told you he later worked at DC!). Then, the Caped Crusaders in "Crimes of the Catwoman" by Edmond Hamilton, Sheldon Moldoff, and Charles Paris. This story has been reprinted twice, in 80 Page Giant #5 and in Batman #206.

Next up in this issue, Roy Raymond, TV Detective, in "Fireproof Man!" by Ruben Moreira (guess he went to DC after Standard folded, too). Then there's an activity page, "Quick Quiz," a Casey the Cop filler by Henry Boltinoff, Captain Compass in "The Great Ocean Showboat" by Otto Binder and Joe Certa, the text feature "Clamp the Cuffs on Him!" by B. Weiner, and Mysto, Magician Detective in "Mysto Magician Detective" by George Kashdan and Leonard Starr!

OK, so the first cover of this column featured one big cat, the second featured two, and the third featured three... so the fourth one must feature... one?

Leading Screen 45

Yeah, we're back to a solitary lion on the cover of Leading Screen Comics 45, cover-featuring Peter Porkchops (who later became Pig-Iron in the Roy Thomas/Scott Shaw! "Captain Carrot and the Amazing Zoo Crew," right?).

Unfortunately, the GCD has no information on this issue... but I can tell you that its numbering picked up from Leading Comics (best known for being the home of the Seven Soldiers of Victory).

So that's it for the big cats! Join me next time for another installment of "Cover Stories," in which I'll present some covers with the theme of "Cowboys and Indians," 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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Discuss this column with me in World Famous Comics' General Forum.

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!
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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