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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 05/27/2007

Welcome, faithful readers (and those of you joining us for the first time) to the 107th installment of Cover Stories, the weekly column in which I, Jon B. Knutson, present a group of covers with a common theme!

This week's theme is "Turned Evil!" in which a hero or heroes appear to have turned evil! Why do they do this? Sometimes it's because they're being mind-controlled by a villain... sometimes it's part of a hoax (okay, when it comes to DC Silver Age comics, it's almost always a hoax), and sometimes they've just turned evil (okay, I can only think of one former hero who turned evil for real... the Wizard at Archie Comics).

Let's start with a Superman title, shall we? (Yeah, I know, huge surprise)

Action Comics 312

You know, this is the second column in a row that started with an Action Comics cover! Anyway, here's Action 312, and I believe this is part of a multi-part imaginary story in which Superman and Clark are split into two beings (probably due to Red Kryptonite), and while Superman has the powers, he's also evil, and it's up to powerless Clark Kent to overthrow his rule!

Apparently, turning evil also makes you add ermine to your cape and wear really obnoxious headgear. Curt Swan and George Klein did this cover. And despite my memories, according to the Grand Comics Database, "King Superman Versus Clark Kent, Metallo" isn't noted as being part of a multi-part story... although Red K was responsible for it. Robert Bernstein wrote this tale, with Swan and Klein doing the art.

Also in this issue, Supergirl stars in "The Fantastic Menace of the LL's" with art by Jim Mooney.

Adventure 290

Now, as you can see from this cover from Adventure 290 (As well as the one following this segment), when it comes to turning evil, nobody does it more often than the members of the Legion of Super-Heroes! I could probably name at least three "Turned Evil" covers featuring just the LSH, but I'll only give you two this time.

I don't recall the details of this particular story, other than what's spelled out on the cover... But really, if I were part of a super-team, and we were dismantling and burying a terrible invention, I think I'd recommend that we NOT put pictures and names of the members on each box corresponding to who hid them... I mean, it just doesn't seem to be a good idea, you know?

Let's say, for example, that Tharok happened upon one of these boxes, by purest accident. And let's say he finds the one with Phantom Girl's pic on it. Would he think, "Hm, this is interesting... a very long box with a picture of Phantom Girl on it, one of the Legion of Super Heroes. And this box is made of solid lead, with no discernable opening on it, and it was buried here where I happened upon it... well, I guess it must be a long box of comics featuring Phantom Girl cover appearances, I may as well put it back."

Of course, the simplest thing to do would be to just flat-out destroy the thing, but that's just me. Curt Swan and Stan Kaye did the honors on this cover. "The Secret of the Seventh Super-Hero!" was by Robert Bernstein and George Papp. Oh, by the way, that Sun Boy is a fake... so that's a hoax there! This tale was reprinted in Superboy 147, Adventure 495, and Legion of Super-Heroes Archives #1.

This was followed by the PSA "Wanted: Safe Bus Riders" by Jack Schiff and Bernard Baily, an Ollie filler by Henry Boltinoff, the Bizarro World in "The Invasion of the Bizarro World" by Jerry Siegel and John Forte, and a Shorty filler by Boltinoff.

Adventure 326

As I said, the LSH members would turn evil at the drop of a hat... or maybe I should say the drop of a statuette (which, to me, seems a bit weird that there would be all these LSH statuettes all over the place. Heck, even a 20th-Century museum had a set of them, which when struck by lightning, gave the Legionnaires' powers to the Composite Superman!). This time around, as Superboy so astutely realizes, "The Girl Legionnaires are plotting against us boys!"

I suppose the whole boys vs. girls thing must've appealed to the younger crowd back then. This was another Swan/Klein cover (man that's three Swan covers in a row this week!). "The Revolt of the Girl Legionnaires!" was by Siegel and Forte, and the lady Legionnaires were hypnotized, in case you're curious. This tale was reprinted in Adventure 410, Best of DC #57, and Legion of Super-Heroes Archives #3.

Also in this issue, part 2 of the Legion of Super-Heroes Constitution (also reprinted in that Archives volume), a Super-Turtle filler by Boltinoff, Superboy in "Bad Boy Clark Kent!" by Otto Binder and George Papp (reprinted from Superboy #71), and the PSA "Honesty is the Best Policy!"

And, just to show that not only DC heroes turn evil now and then...

Amazing Spider-Man 56

Yes, here's just one of the many Spidey Turns Evil covers... but it's not a hoax or an imaginary story or anything like that! Instead, Spidey was suffering from a case of amnesia, which Doc Ock was able to take advantage of (hmmm... I recall a story in Lois Lane where an evil Lois convinced an amnesiac Superman that he was a criminal, and says that he's called the "Man of Steal," but I digress).

This cover was all John Romita, who did the pencils on "Disaster!", which was written by Stan Lee and inked by Mike Esposito. This issue was reprinted in Marvel Tales #41 and Essential Spider-Man Vol. 3.

Join me next time for another installment of "Cover Stories," in which I'll present some covers with the topic "Special Guest Star", and in the meantime, you can check out my blog at for photos of classic toys, other comics covers, comic book advertisements, monster movie stills, and other musings and ramblings by me, or email me with comments about this column at !

Jon B. Knutson

<< 05/20/2007 | 05/27/2007 | 06/03/2007 >>

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Recent Installments:
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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!
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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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