It’s my birthday today, so I hope you don’t mind if I slack off a bit this week, and do another picture post. Inspired by this Bleeding Cool article featuring a list of the 100 best-selling comics of June 1984 (a cool read if you’ve got the time), I decided to look tonight at the covers of the funnybooks released in the month of my birth: August 1968. Or at least, the books cover-dated August 1968. These books likely came out three or four months earlier, depending on where you lived, but the messiness of comics distribution in those days is too much of a headache for me to deal with right now. So I’m going with cover date. Besides, it just looks prettier, having all those little “August” tags on the covers…
At any rate. Here are my 20 favorite funnybook covers of the month of my birth. Or at least, my favorites of the ones the interweb offered up to my hungry eyes. They’re in no particular order, and I may not have anything to say about a lot of them. I just thought they were neat, and decided to share.
Let’s start out with a comic I actually owned as a kid: Doctor Strange 171. I bought this one off my older brother, who conned our grandmother into buying it for him off the rack. Remembering the funnybook scare of the 1950s, she didn’t much cotton to us reading comics. But this one, she reasoned, was about a doctor, so it was probably okay. Not sure how she reconciled that idea with this cover…
…but I’m glad she did.
Keeping with the medical theme, we move on to the eighth issue of The Many Ghosts of Doctor Graves, a Charlton horror comic with a cover by the great Jim Aparo:
And, as long as we’re in spooky territory, we might as well look in on what Batman was up to. In his own title, he was fighting blind men…
…while over in Detective Comics, he was fighting his own sidekick!
That Detective cover really is one of my favorites in this batch. It’s dynamic and interesting, and I could really see how it might have leapt off the racks that month. It’s by the under-rated Irv Novick, whose Batman run probably deserves to be studied more than it is. But when you’re competing with Neal Adams, I suppose I can see how you might get over-looked.
But speaking of Adams, 1968 saw him providing covers for a wide variety of books, and August saw his work gracing some very silly stuff in both Action Comics and Lois Lane:
Adams was by far not the only great artist providing covers that month, though. Jack Kirby scored a couple of very different covers for Daredevil and Fantastic Four.
The Daredevil cover is admittedly the better of the two. But I like that FF cover, as well. That kind of segmented, panel-like layout doesn’t always work, and this one has its problems. But I like the way that Psycho Man’s machinery provides the borders between the images. That makes the whole thing pretty striking.
Not as striking, however, as the stuff Joe Kubert was turning in on the war books that month.
I like the layout and sheer badassery on display on that Hellcats cover. But that Sgt. Rock piece is hot stuff. Kubert’s usual dramatic figure drawing of Rock just pops out of the page over that blue patterned background. It’s an unusual technique for Kubert. Like he decided, just this once, to channel the pop-art design sensibilities of Jim Steranko.
Speaking of whom…
It’s hard for me to wrap my head around the idea that Steranko’s Nick Fury run was over by the time I was born. But there’s only one more issue after this August-dated release. So number four was bound to have hit the stands by the time I came around.
But speaking of historical concerns, two very different first issues came out in August of 1968:
But there were a number of memorable covers from the comics industry rank-and-file that month, notable for silliness as well as striking imagery.
This next cover isn’t really very good. I just thought it was funny that there was a Flying Nun comic at all.
Here’s another not-so-great cover, from the 101st issue of a book called Falling in Love:
I mean, it’s not bad. And that “your kind of love” line gives it a delightfully lurid air. But I mostly include it as an excuse to post up a really great cover that the interwebs initailly told me was from August 1968, but which subsequent investigation (which is to say, actually looking at the cover) revealed came out a few months earlier. It’s such a great image, though, that I had to toss it in as a sort of bonus:
Alright. There you go. Hope you enjoyed this little trip down memory lane. Next week, we’ll try to resume normal service. For now, I’m gonna go off and enjoy what little remains of my birthday.