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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 10/15/2006

All right, faithful readers (and also those of you reading this column for the first time), welcome to another edition of "Cover Stories!"

To introduce this column's theme, let me do my Hawkman impression... "WHEET! WHEET!"

Strange... the birds always responded to him in the comics when he does that... but nothing for me (maybe because there are no birds in my home office?). Well, that's just my corny way of saying that this week's column is "For the Birds" - featuring a quartet of covers with avian antagonists!

Since it's been quite some time since I've had a column with a Superman cover, let's start with Action Comics 82!

Action Comics 82

OK, I'm no ornithologist... so I can't quite decide if the Man of Steel's battling a giant eagle, a giant hawk, or if it's just a roc! I'm guessing Lois Lane doesn't care, so long as Superman catches her from being dropped before she hits the ground!

This cover was by Jack Burnley and Stan Kaye. Inside, Superman faces off once again with Mr. Mxyztplk in "The Water Sprite" by Ira Yarbrough, then there's a Hayfoot Henry filler by Al Schwartz, a filler "Around Clock with Armor" by Raymond Perry, Congo Bill in "Room, Board, and Bullets" by John Daly, the text story "A Win for Packy" by Ted Udal, the Vigilante in "Magnet for Mobsters" by Joe Samachson and Mort Meskin, and Zatara in "Facts and Fables" by W.F. White!

Moving on... here's Blackhawk 48!

Blackhawk 48

You know... one of those things that always seems to happen in comics is that, if you name yourself after some kind of animal, sooner or later you'll be attacked by some form of your namesake! Batman had to battle Man-Bat... and here Blackhawk is facing "The Deadly Hawks of Horror!" on this Reed Crandall cover!

The cover story also featured art by Crandall. According to the Grand Comics Database (, in this story, Blackhawk gets a silver plate surgically implanted in his head (presumably as a result of battling The Hawk Master). Also in this issue was a Chop Chop solo story, "The Great Palaver," with art by Paul Gustavson (at least, that's the best guess on this one), Blackhawk in "The Confessions of the Blackhawks" (with art perhaps by Bill Ward), the text story "Feathers of Justice," Blackhawk in "The Port of Missing Ships," also with art by Crandall! The GCD says this last story was swiped for Sub-Mariner #16 - but not having read either tale, I can't say for certain!).

Let's see... I had a Superman cover this time around... there must be some kind of bird-related cover from the American Comics Group, mustn't there? Ah, here we go... Magic Agent #3!

Magic Agent 3

This sea gull may not be particularly deadly... but one can tell that by its theft of that gem, it's not making John Force particularly happy, eh?

This cover was by Kurt Schaffenberger, and this was the last issue of this short-lived title. Inside this issue, we have "Soldier Without a Gun" by Richard E. Hughes and Paul Reinman, the text story "Money Mystery," "The King is Dead" by Hughes and Reinman, and "Beware of the Black Brigade," also by Hughes and Reinman.

I haven't a clue which, if any, of those stories featured a scene similar to that of the cover!

Thanks to Don Markstein's Toonopedia (, I can tell you the following about Magic Agent: "His super-powered device was a magical coin containing an image of a building done in the Greek Revival style of architecture, i.e., with columns in front. By pressing the appropriate column, he could create realistic illusions, read other people's thoughts, or implant powerful hypnotic suggestions. He was also good at hand-to-hand combat, i.e., fist-fighting, when the coin got lost or stolen, as is bound to happen frequently in a series of this type."

Yeah... a magic coin. Not a bunch of coins with useful powers, like Captain Action, mind you... just one.

Oh, well... onward!

Hmm... let's see... I found a cover fitting the theme with Superman, one from ACG... I don't recall finding one with the Beagle Boys... so there must be one more kind of comic book that fits nearly any theme...

Oh, that's right!

Wonder Woman 91

I've said it before, and I'll say it again... on the DC History Yahoo Group (, where I've previously posted just about everything in this column, it's been said many times that for nearly any conceivable cover theme imaginable, there's at least one Wonder Woman cover!

Heck, this one fits two themes - a bird (the giant eagle), plus humans trapped in a cage by animals (that theme must've been used in a dozen of DC's sci-fi magazines, at least!). As you can see from this cover art, by the time issue 91 was published, DC had moved away from the H.G. Peter stylized art for Diana Prince's adventures! This cover was penciled and inked by Irv Novick, who does a very nice Wonder Woman, I must say!

The contents of this issue lead off with "The Interplanetary Olympics" (geez, did every DC hero participate in something like that?) by Robert Kanigher and Harry G. Peter (hmmm... guess they hadn't gone all that far from that style, had they?) - a story which presented the Wonder Women of Mercury, Venus and Jupiter (the latter had appeared in the previous issue). This was followed by the filler, "Marriage A La Mode" by Julius Schwartz and Morris Waldinger, a Binky PSA, "How to Make New Friends!" by Jack Schiff and Bob Oksner, then the cover feature, "The Eagle Who Caged People" by Kanigher and Peter, an activity page, "Teen Teasers" by Harry Lampert, the text feature "The Gallantry of Rebecca Motte," and Wonder Woman in "The Statue of Mystery" by Kanigher and Peter - in which Wonder Woman sees a statue of herself in the past, but doesn't remember anything about the reasons why it's there (something which also happened at least to Superman/Superboy and Batman, if I'm not mistaken!).

Well, that's enough "fowl play" for this column, don't you think (especially after that pun)?

Join me next time for another installment of "Cover Stories," which will be the second installment of "1-10," featuring the Fantastic Four! -- 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:
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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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