Complete Insanity From the Newsstands of Yore

Posted on January 26, 2012


I love comic books something powerful.  I always have and I always will.  When I was little I would get a whopping dollar to spend on comics and I would journey up to Bookland and buy comics whenever I could.  I loved Batman more than almost anything, but good Batman comics were just slightly out of my range, so instead I bought either crappy back issues of Batman And The Oustiders, or the mystery pack of four random (usually terrible) comics.  It was bliss.  Then I would pore over them like a fiend and try to figure out what the hell was going on, since I never managed to get consecutive issues of any one title and therefore had no idea who half the characters were or why they were so angry with each other.  Walking into a comic store is a great thing, let me tell you.  First, comics smell nice (if you love comics).  Second you have to do some digging around (sometimes a lot of digging, as they can be insanely “organized”), which makes the experience sort of like a scavenger hunt.  And then there’s the covers… ah comic covers.  Comic stores are usually plastered with comics, many of which have A+ covers.  A well done comic cover is just so awesome it’s difficult to describe.  Bold!  Exciting!  Stark!  And often: totally insane.

More than pretty much any medium comic covers are notoriously misleading – featuring things that absolutely do not occur in the issue – or downright nonsensical.  There are many that you might behold and think “I have no possible idea what this comic is about”.  Your next thought will be “what the hell, I’ll buy it”.  As it should be.

But of course things change, and the modern comic cover is far less everything than the good old days.  Alas.  Today’s covers are mostly accurate, mostly make sense, and are not half as cool as the ones from the 30s, 40s, and 50s.  There are many places online where one can find examples of the best old comic covers.  You know, the great art and crisp composition.  Sure.  Those places are definitely worth checking out.  Do a Google image search for old comic covers and voila.  In addition, Superdickery has an extensive gallery of hilarious covers and other scenes.  The original premise of the site is that Superman is often a dick, especially when it comes to treating Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen like garbage.  Way back when, D.C. Comics put out two titles, Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane and Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen, every issue of which features something totally crazy happening to the titular characters or Superman doing something viciously cruel or creepy to them.  Like this:

Ladies: if your "friend" has a secret room, DON'T go in it!

Taken in sum they are some of the strangest comics ever made.  Superdickery has a whole lot of funny covers and panels out of context.  Click on over and have a look.

But, good people!  Not until now has there ever been assembled an extensive, carefully curated collection of the downright craziest and weirdest comic covers ever.  My main man Dr. Fodden recently completed a long labour…  putting together a huge gallery of bizarro comic covers, for the enjoyment of all the world.  Check it out at: crazycomiccovers.com and you will have a good time, I assure you.  From the site’s introduction:

Comics were crazy in the 40s and 50s. For some reason, we tend to have a highly idealized image of the 40s and 50s, but there was as much crazy stuff going on then as there is now. Even though these decades somehow projected an outer veneer of cleanliness and sanity, the craziness crept out at the edges. I had always read that some comics at this time were very violent and inappropriate for children, but I was still a little shocked after seeing some of these covers. Their over-the-top gore and violence caused the introduction of the Comics Code Authority, which effectively sterilized comics for the next forty years.

The site features a couple hundred great and gonzo covers from the Golden Age of comics, organized into a few helpful categories: crime, monster and horror, romance, monkeys apes & primates, youth gone wild, and others!  The crime ones are probably my favourites, but every single category has a bunch of gems.  Holy crap are they ever funny and weird.  The good Doctor has done an outstanding job of combing through totally obscure titles to find some covers that only severe comic nerds have ever seen.  Care for a few examples?  Check it out:

I'm going insane!!!!!

One of my favourite lines of all time: "I'd rather kill it than live in the same world with it!!" what a nice guy. That's diversity in action.

So, so stupid.

And that’s just a tiny little sampler!  Every one is funnier and weirder than the next!  I can’t poke through it without laughing hysterically to myself, and I have a feeling you will have a similar experience.  And Brandon has even added some funny comments and observations for a lot of them, which make them even better.  Check it out!!  crazycomiccovers.com

Post your favourites in the comments and tell your friends.

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Posted in: The Obscure