One of the true joys of collecting comic books is the hunt itself. Flipping through long box after long box looking for a specific book or type of book can be a lot of fun. If you’ve ever taken a look at an Overstreet Guide, you’ll notice that they note certain types of covers. There are lots of these, ranging from Bondage Covers to Hitler Covers. Personally, I’ve always been nuts for Infinity Covers and have over 60 of them now. One day, I’ll post about the awesomeness of those.
If you’ve ever read my blog, Seduction of the Indifferent , you may be aware that I’ve been trying to come up various themes of covers that may not be significant enough to warrant a mention in the Overstreet. I’ve decided to import this topic over here to CSBG so that you folks can get a sense of just how many crazy cover themes exist out there.
This time around, we’ll be looking at King Kong covers. What is a King Kong cover? Well, it’s any cover that references the final moment of the film, a.k.a “Kong’s Last Stand”. Basically, you need a tall building, some sort of giant creature, and hopefully some sort of aircraft buzzing about. You may be surprised by just how many comic book covers reference this scene.
I decided to overlook the 1968 Gold Key one-shot adaptation of King Kong, as that seemed a little bit too easy. First up, we’ve got a great parody cover from Mad #94 by Norman Mingo, with a little role reversal. Marvel got in on the action with Marie Severin’s great cover to Not Brand Echh #11 . Ken Bald’s cover to Forbidden Worlds #6 from 1952 has a slightly different perspective, but it’s very dynamic. This is the earliest example of a King Kong cover that I managed to track down. If anyone knows of an earlier one, I’d love to know about it.
It wasn’t until the 1970s that DC jumped aboard the King Kong cover bandwagon. I’m not sure what took them so long, but they certainly arrived with a bang. The Ernie Chan cover to Justice League of America #129 is one of three I’ll feature with some for of robot playing the Kong role. I’m not in love with this cover, but it is the cover that got me thinking about the whole theme. On the other hand, I really love this next one. The criminally underappreciated Bob Oksner hit a home run with to cover to Adventure Comics #422. It has all of the features of a perfect King Kong cover from the fighter planes, to Supergirl in the Fay Wray role. Next up is a The Swanderson cover to Superman #226 is your typical over-the-top cover from DC’s kooky Silver Age. You’d almost think it was a left over from a Jimmy Olsen story circa 1962.
This last trio of covers will hopefully demonstrate to you just how many different ways King Kong covers have been used. The fantastic cover to Eerie #81 is by none other than Frank Frazetta. Perhaps someone who is a real Frazettaphile can let me know if this image appeared earlier somewhere else. I know that Warren wasn’t too fussy about recycling the occasional cover. Another favourite of mine is this John Buscema penciled cover to Tarzan #26. It’s the cityscape has been colored in such a way that it almost looks like rainforest. Finally, we have the strangest King Kong cover you’ll ever see (and that’s saying quite a lot) with the cover to Transformers #54. I don’t know much about Transformers (I’m about 18 months too old to have watched it on TV), so maybe someone can explain the spiked knee pads to me.
So that’s a look at the wild world of King Kong covers. If you know of any other candidates, please let me know. If these aren’t your thing, try coming up with your own cover theme and see just how many you can track down at various shops and conventions.
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