The Evil Geeks Top 5 Silver Age Comic Covers
We’ve talked here about our favorite covers on many occasions in the past, but it’s time we showed a little respect to the books that set the stage for the comics on which we were raised and the ones we’ve found in recent years. So buckle up for a bombastic ballyhoo of the best and brightest sequential showcases the swinging sixties saw fit to print. Man, talking like Stan Lee is exhausting. No wonder he’s looked worn out for 50+ years now.
Secret Six #1 , May 1968, Frank Springer
The cover of this debut issue is remarkable in that it’s also the first page of the actual story. I’ve always been fascinated with that notion, it’s not just some pin-up but in fact your first taste of the action. Sure, Secret Six was never one of DC’s hottest comics (certainly not in the Silver Age), but it’ll always have a place in history because of this cover.
Batman #156, June 1963, Sheldon Moldoff
Growing up, Silver Age comics were out of reach to my chocolate-stained hands, and rightfully so. I’d head to the library and borrow any book about comics that I could, and one of them (I’d imagine an early printing of the Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told) had this story reprinted. I didn’t see the cover until years later, and it took me a minute to realize it was the same issue. Batman in space, to me, is the embodiment of the Silver Age at DC. Plus, artists like Sheldon Moldoff being forced to sign their work “Bob Kane”. Also, that Batman logo is the same one they used on the 1966 TV series, my first exposure to the Caped Crusaders.
Daredevil #8, June 1965, Wally Wood
Certainly not Marvel’s most celebrated title, character, or artist but a favorite of mine all around. Wally Wood did so much with so little on these Daredevil covers and in all of his work. Line economy means a lot to me, and his ability to draw a page that, while it wouldn’t feel entirely out of place in a coloring book, also perfectly handles perspective, weight, and depth of field speaks volumes to his talent. Also, I feel like they were in on the joke right off the bat with Stilt-Man, that grandiose cover blurb is over-the-top even by Stan Lee standards. Of course, that’s assuming he actually wrote it.
Avengers #16, May 1965, Jack Kirby
If I had been alive and buying in comics in 1965, I know I couldn’t resist opening this book. Captain America is going to burst an eyeball screaming for assembly while the background shows us all of the potential candidates for the newly revised Avengers lineup. And that’s the best part, it kicks off an era of what I think are the most aesthetically pleasing Avengers; Cap, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, and Hawkeye. I know Captain America wasn’t a founding member of the team, but Marvel quickly took the hint that he was the most important figure in the book and this issue was the turning point. HE is the Captain now…
Amazing Spider-Man #70, March 1969, John Romita Sr.
Here we are, right at the end of what’s generally considered the Silver Age of comics. I love the Ditko Spider-Man stories, and I’ll be the first to tell you that there’s a noticeable decline in the memorability of the stories once Romita takes over, but his Spider-Man is, to my eye, the real deal. I realize he didn’t create the character, but his style is so confident and on-model that he always draws the same Peter Parker and the same Spider-Man, and they ended up being the ones used for licensing, cartoon character models, and the like. This is the classic Spider-Man of my heart, if not my brain. And this cover? Stan Lee himself had a little saying that gets the idea across as well as I could: “Nuff Said”.
Thor #126, March 1966, Jack Kirby (with Vince Colletta inks)
This cover, while not a personal favorite, sort of sums up 60s Marvel, especially the Kirby/Lee combo. You’ve got your Kirby points: the battling titans on the cover, enormous hand via forced perspective, weirdly ornate rod being brandished. And then Stan Lee’s absurdly melodramatic cover blurb is the icing on the cake. This is sort of a turning point, too. Although they’d been doing a lot of superhero books to this point, this is the issue where Journey into Mystery officially abandons its roots and becomes “The Mighty Thor”.
Justice League of American #38, September 1965, Mike Sekowsky
And likewise, there’s so much Silver Age DC going on here. Only 38 issues into the JLA’s series and I think this is already the fourth “Crisis” issue. While Marvel was all about the continuity (or at least the 60s style thereof) of a shared world, DC was about having fun telling stories and worrying about how and why they would have happened after the fact. Just remember, though, it’s all fun and games until your company has to create earth-shattering events as a means of cleaning up the baffling continuity errors inherent in these wacky cross-reality tales. But you know what? It’s a comic book, and sometimes I want to see Batman with stubble and the Mustache-Flash rob a bank.
Flash Gordon #3 1966, Al Williamson
The Silver Age is so dominated by superheroes it was hard to find something a little different. Yet here it is, our old pal Flash Gordon. It may not be the glory days of the Alex Raymond drawn series but this cover of King Comics series (as well as the interior art) was drawn by EC Comics veteran Al Williamson. Just take a look at that city in the background! Not to mention I am head over heels in love with Dale Arden’s planet Mongo fashion choices.
X-Men #33 June 1967, Gil Kane
Hello, X-Men my old friends. This cover has a lot going for it. First and foremost it’s drawn by the great Gil Kane (save for some changes made by Werner Roth in the name of the Comics Code), who also was responsible for one of the most iconic X-Men covers of all time. I love how massive the Juggernaut is, it really gives you a sense of his imposing power. Adding the faces of the X-Men not directly involved in conflict to the side of the cover is a nice touch too. This just screams Silver Age to me, especially with that Professor Xavier head above the series title.
Nick Fury Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D. #4 September 1968, Jim Steranko
Steranko needs no introduction and this cover speaks for itself. Jack Kirby may have laid the groundwork but Steranko’s run on Nick Fury Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D. turned comic book/pop art on its head and this is a beautiful example. I love the juxtapoisiton between the very non comic book imagery in the background and the oh so comic book looking Nick Fury front and center. The use of mostly black and white really makes Fury and the S.H.I.E.L.D. logo stand out. Fury appears to be stepping in front of the image montage and the title logo is behind it. It’s a beautiful piece of work.
Fantastic Four #49 April 1966, Jack Kirby
Jack “King” Kirby. Need I say more? I could have done a Silver Age countdown of just his covers. This issue falls into part of the Galactus trilogy giving the world their first real look at Galactus in action as well as the Silver Surfer. This cover perfectly sums up the otherworldly menace and really helps to give the reader a scale for how big and monumental Galactus’ physical form really is. This is silver age through and through.
Avengers #57 October 1968, John Buscema
This cover! This is the cover to me of the Silver Age. I’m not sure if I can say why, but I’ll certainly try. After compiling this list, it made me realize the covers that stood out to me were the ones that in a way resembled classic movie posters (go figure). In particular, I seem to be drawn to ones with a very large image in the background taking up a lot of the cover with smaller images up towards the front. This is another first appearance, letting readers get a glimpse at the mysterious Vision towering so far above everyone, with his head just peaking over the tips of the “E” and “N” in the Avengers logo. It’s an interesting choice to make just about everything red even the logo, text and the corner box illustration; it gives the viewer a real sense of alert. Not to mention all that smoke (or is it fog?) like the Vision is rising up for the first time in a sci-fi or horror movie. Thank you John Buscema.
Daredevil #16 May 1966, John Romita Sr.
This is not your typical Daredevil cover and not your typical Daredevil artist, which is perhaps what makes me like it so much. During John Romita Sr.’s brief 8 issue stint on the book, legend has it Stan Lee had him do a two parter with Spider-Man as a way to try him out on the character. Romita soon went over to that book when Steve Ditko left but before that we got some incredible covers. I love how high up on the rooftops they are battling, it’s like two titans locked in combat for the fate of the city below. Not to mention that corner box! I think it’s a Wally Wood creation but it’s the first time those colors were used on it.
Fantastic Four #21, December 1963, Jack Kirby
More Kirby? Well, the world needs way more of it, so let’s start with the internet. The original incarnation of the Hate Monger (Hitler’s cloned cells or something) looks pretty damn wild shooting that hate-ray half tilted in a classic Kirby monster pose. Not to mention the Fantastic Four real small in the front battling each other with a weird looking Fury creeping in on the side. I’m not sure I can explain what it is that I like so much about the cover, but there it is. Plus, it’s a book length bombshell. So how can you go wrong with that?
Did we miss your favorite silver age cover? With so many amazing ones to choose from we couldn’t get them all. Drop us a line below and let us know.
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Posted on May 8, 2015, in COMICS!, Geekology, Nerd Art, Top 5 and tagged Al Williamson, Avengers, Batman, COMICS!, Covers, Crisis, Dale Arden, Daredevil, DC, Fantastic Four, Flash Gordon, Galactus, Gil Kane, Hercules, Jack Kirby, Jim Steranko, John Buscema, John Romita Sr., justice league, Marvel, Nick Fury, Robin, secret six, Silver Age, spider-man, Thor, Vision, Wally Wood, X-Men. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.