Archive for Super Friends

The Greatest Comic Cover Ever!

Alright, class, let’s settle down. Everyone take your seat, thank you. It’s time for today’s lesson.

Namely, our lesson concerning HOW AMAZING THIS OLD COVER IS!

That’s Super Friends #16, cover dated at January 1979, and from the looks of it, art by the impossibly great Ramona Fradon herself!

I’ve never read this comic, but BAHGAWD, we can talk about what a fantastic cover this is, right?

We’re not going to talk about the fact that the old Super Friends art style, based on the old cartoons, is outdated, because the job of the artist was to replicate the limited animation style of the cartoons. No style points are lost here, and anyone who complains is getting their eye poked.

So let’s start off with the image that dominates the cover — that amazing superhero trap formed from an Impossible Cube, as imagined by artist M.C. Escher.

I’ve never seen anything like this in any other comic book, and I’m honestly furious about that. It’s such a perfect concept — how do you confine demigods with incredible powers? Well, you put ’em somewhere that has no ups or downs or lefts or rights, somewhere where they can seem to be right next to each other but still be absolutely isolated and alone. It’s a mathematical optical illusion — it can’t exist. But you make it solid or at least multi-dimensional, and it becomes the best way to capture and imprison four-color superheroes. This should be a way more common superhero trope just because of its glorious weirdness.

The last thing I want us to talk about on this cover is the alien’s word balloon. It reads:

“The Earth’s greatest super heroes are helpless to stop us… FROM STEALING THE SKY!!”

I think the only time I’ve seen a similar phrase is from the title of a book in an old Ace Double, namely “Tonight We Steal the Stars” by John Jakes.

I’ve read summaries of both of these stories, and big spoiler alert — no one literally steals the stars or the sky in either book. How could they? The stars are giant balls of gas millions of light years away, and the sky is, well, it’s everywhere. If it’s above your head, it’s the sky, and you just can’t steal that. But what if some villain… figured out how to do it?! You must buy this comic, reader! Or this book! Buy it and read!!!

Obviously, it’s a killer hook, and comics and science fiction could both use those kinds of fantastic, irresistible hooks.

So there ya got it. That’s a quick look at what may be the greatest comic book cover of all time. No gimimcks, just great art and great imagination.

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