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Silver Age Cover


Silver Age covers! You've gotta love their ability to sell, with the intriguing, bizarre ideas, questions posed to the readers and fun cover designs. Fanzing's latest art challenge required artists to create a cover art scene using Silver Age techniques. While submissions weren't as forthcoming as for our last contest (the swimsuit contest), these submissions have been a lot of fun and all of them had positive points. Two of the entries ran neck-and-neck for the one prize. See if you can guess which ones they were:


Bob Riley Bob Riley does a good job of capturing the art style of an old Detective Comics cover. (Until recently, we hadn't seen Bob doing styles other than animated and he's been surprising us of late.) The pose of Batman in the foreground is a good one.

Bonus points for using one of the most common Silver Age themes: Robin betraying Batman! At FallCon '98, I purchased dozens of Detective Comics from the #300-#400 range, and I SWEAR every other issue's cover shows Robin stabbing Batman in the back!

Kurt Belcher shows some ingenuity as he does a cover for his "New Guardians" series which he proposed in a recent springboard. (Lettering was done by Bob "multi-talented" Riley)

I love that expression on Captain Atom's face; it's reminiscent of Kevin Maguire's run on JLI. I couldn't really make out Commander Steel, try as I might…probably due to Kurt's re-design of the character. Nonetheless, a good use of selling techniques. He even concentrated the action at the bottom and left room at the top for logo, DC Bullet, etc, which is another sign of a good cover artist.

Christian Moore once again turns in a high-quality submission, this time with a very satirical spin.

Well, Christian's getting to be a hard one to beat when it comes to professional quality artwork, and his good use of Silver Age art techniques (the hero in the foreground in a submissive, beaten position…the cackling villain towering over him…the comprehensible danger to the hero) plus the fact that this is VERY FUNNY make this entry a popular one with the judges.

Simon Brown's entry is below average in terms of art quality (Simon admitted as much when he turned it in), and this bitmap was created in a paint program as opposed to the scanned-in pencils of the others. Nonetheless, I like the concept…and I can really see this scenario as a cover of an early JLA issue, were it rendered by Mike Sekowsky, Carmine Infantino, Dick Dillin, etc. Not a contender, really, but a fun entry.

One of Fanzing's youngest contributors, Mark Gillins, tries to get on our good side by appealing to our love for inside jokes about the Simpsons! Och, the poor wee bairns!

Another bitmap entry with the obvious limitations of the format, it's certainly humorous and in the lighter vein of Silver Age humor comic covers. Indeed, having just seen some Plastic Man titles from the 1960s, Plas' threats were rarely more serious than this!

The Brothers Grimm point out that sex sells, death sells and cute animals sell. Of course, those selling techniques are more modern than Silver Age, but the Brothers Grimm have yet to submit an entry that failed to bring a smile. Indeed, this artwork was one of the favorites of all the judges. And we want to know the story behind this cover…which is the core of the Silver Age cover technique!! Brothers Grimm

Christian Moore is the winner! He'll get a grab bag of comics from the selection available at Comic Relief. (Actually, I haven't sent out his prize from the last contest, so he'll just get a larger package in the mail!)

And now, on to the new art contest, which is sure to get the juices flowing for the artists out there!

Article and layout © Michael Hutchison 1998.