Retroactive: Detective Comics 1966 & Amazing Spider-Man 1990

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My Favourite Covers

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Okay, so our journey through the past is complete for this week but which covers reign supreme? For Detective Comics, the crown goes to: Detective Comics #347. “There’s never been a story like this! There never will be another: ‘The Strange Death of Batman!'” With that banner plastered on the top of the cover, the reader’s mind races. Is this for real? Then your eye gravitates downwards to Robin, tears streaming down his eyes, fists clenched in anger, and saying “I’ll bring your killer in, Batman–I swear it!” With a reaction like that, it can’t be a hoax can it? Grasped in one of his hands is a newspaper: “Batman Killed: The moment after fatal bullet struck.” So Batman was shot but by who? Then comes the disclaimer in the corner: “Warning! Do not reveal the surprise ending of this story to your friends! They’ll want to get the same kick out of it that you did!” Does that signify a swerve? Did Batman fake his death and didn’t tell Robin? If not, who could bring down the Dark Knight? It’s a cover that begs for attention, a cover that sells it hard, and a cover that I absolutely love. For Amazing Spider-Man, the title goes to: Amazing Spider-Man #328. McFarlane delivers an action-packed visual feast for the eyes this month to secure my top choice over all the others. Spider-Man delivers a powerful uppercut to none other than the Hulk, in itself a stunning event as the Hulk is usually depicted as significantly stronger than our webbed hero. While doing it Spider-Man also delivers a twist on the Hulk’s classic line by uttering “Now who’s the strongest one there is?!” The force of the Hulk flying upwards is also so powerful that it dislocates the book’s main title and info box. When the action on the cover interacts with these elements it always adds that something special in my mind. You can feel the visceral force as you question just how can Spider-Man manhandle someone like the Hulk? An intriguing question indeed…
dc347ASM328________________________________________________________

So that’s it for this week. Agree/Disagree? Which covers are your personal favourites from this week? Comment below!

10 thoughts on “Retroactive: Detective Comics 1966 & Amazing Spider-Man 1990

  1. Of course I completely agree with the Batman cover you chose. As you pointed out, Robin’s presence is fundamental: If the cover had shown only the first page of the newspaper, readers would have thought “It’s a fake death, I can skip this issue.” With Robin crying for the loss of his mentor, on the contrary, readers are forced to take into account that Batman could have been killed for real, and therefore they take the news seriously, they buy that issue and they start reading it the second they get home.
    As for Spidey, once again we have a 4th wall breaking detail in the cover you chose, so you may think I’m going to pick that one too… but I prefer ASM # 332, because:
    1) Venom tells Spidey “Kiss your Aunt May good-bye, Spider-Man!” This means that he knows Peter’s secret identity: this detail alone would be enough to catch your attention;
    2) Venom’s jumping on Spidey, and we’re seeing him through Peter’s eyes, so we feel like we’re part of the scene, like when you go to a theater and the actors interact with the public;
    3) Spidey tries to defend himself from Venom’s attack by simply covering his head with his arms: Peter’s body language reveals that he’s frightened to death, and this is another detail that instantly strikes you, because Peter usually is a very self confident character, and usually he’s so 100 % sure that he’s gonna defeat his villain that he makes a mock of him while he’s fighting him. We rarely see Peter being so scared, so this is another detail that would persuade you to buy that issue alone.

    • “Venom’s jumping on Spidey, and we’re seeing him through Peter’s eyes, so we feel like we’re part of the scene”
      It’s almost as if Venom is leaping off the page and into our homes…

      “Spidey tries to defend himself from Venom’s attack by simply covering his head with his arms: Peter’s body language reveals that he’s frightened to death, and this is another detail that instantly strikes you, because Peter usually is a very self confident character, and usually he’s so 100 % sure that he’s gonna defeat his villain that he makes a mock of him while he’s fighting him. We rarely see Peter being so scared, so this is another detail that would persuade you to buy that issue alone.”
      A really nice catch there, and one that didn’t occur to me initially. wwayne once again adds that extra layer of nuance.

      Thanks for sharing your favourites, as always. 🙂

  2. P.S.: I own the ASM issue I chose, so I looked for it on my shelves and I found it. When I looked at the cover, I noticed something strange: the italian cover of that issue doesn’t have the bubbles.

      • I think they did it because the line “Kiss your Aunt May good-bye, Spider-Man!” is hardly translatable in italian, so, instead of translating it in a completely distorted way, the italian publisher preferred to remove it.

        • I put it in Google Translate and got: “Bacio la tua zia May addio, Spider-Man!” Does that make any sense? Is it awkward? As you can tell…I’m completely clueless. 🙂

          • No, it doesn’t make sense, because in italian we say “Tell her goodbye”, not “Kiss her goodbye”. The publisher could have translated “Give her a kiss and tell her goodbye”, but maybe that line was too long for that bubble.
            Also, last week I read the first trade of Brubaker’s Criminal. I bought it 5 – 6 years ago, but until a few days ago it dusted on my shelves, because I always had some comics or novels I wanted to read first.
            When I finally read it, I found it was fantastic. Now I wish I had read it sooner, because, if had done so, I would have bought the following trades too. Now I can’t catch up, because I don’t have enough money, and probably most of them are sold out.
            There are a lot of comics I bought a long time ago and I still haven’t read: the first 2 trades of Runaways, the first 2 trades of Brubaker & Fraction’s Iron Fist, the complete Power Man & Iron Fist, the complete Teen Titans by Geoff Johns… now I buy a lot less comics, and I read all of them the day I get them, so I have a big pile of comics to read, but at least it’s not getting bigger. Thank you for your reply! : )

            • “The publisher could have translated “Give her a kiss and tell her goodbye”, but maybe that line was too long for that bubble.”
              I think that is the most likely solution. Wouldn’t want to cover up the art with an even larger speech bubble.

              “There are a lot of comics I bought a long time ago and I still haven’t read: the first 2 trades of Runaways, the first 2 trades of Brubaker & Fraction’s Iron Fist, the complete Power Man & Iron Fist, the complete Teen Titans by Geoff Johns…”
              Iron Fist is pure awesomeness! I also really enjoyed Runaways and Geoff Johns on Titans rejuvenated the property. You have some real winners in your backlog. 🙂

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