Best Comic Book Covers of All Time: Joe Kubert’s LOSERS run

What makes a great comic book cover, in this age of virgin variants and gimmick covers, is the same thing that has always made a great cover. When all these flash in the pan virgin covers, are resigned to the 50 cent bin (where most of them belong), the really great covers, will still be… great covers.

They will still have stunning typography, married to great art, with great placement of the various parts, and together the whole, in one moment, both tells a story and sells a product. It is not just this lazy and brainless current fad of a pretty image, but with no context to the story or to the storytelling. Today’s cover artists and editors and art directors, and buyers, confuse a pinup with an effective and affecting cover, and the two are not the same.

Now that is not to say there are not exceptions, where the pinup is so good that you want it for eye candy’s sake alone. That does happen, and is fine, but in my experience it is rare, and is not conducive to books you are actually buying, serialized entertainment you are actually buying,… to read. In that case a pretty picture does not cut it, you need a storyteller as an artist and an art editor, to design a cover that tells a story.

And like i said it is a marriage of many things, some of which are not in the artist’s hands. But when all those disparate elements come together, you have have some of the greatest covers of all time.

There were a lot of people I could have started this new segment with, Neal Adams, Gil Kane, Berni Wrightson, Jack Kirby, but for my money the best cover artist of all time very rarely worked in Superhero Comics, and that is the great Joe Kubert.

Kubert had many magnificent cover runs to choose from but the one that launches this segment is the work of his that made me a Conflict Comics collector. His run on OUR FIGHTING FORCES AT WAR. Not the whole run, because while he did hundreds of covers not all of them have the elements that make an iconic cover. I mentioned a great cover having to do with things sometimes beyond the artists control such as typography and placement of disparate elements on a cover. But Here, for this run of issues, Kubert had complete control over the typography of his covers, and completely integrated that typography into his artwork, in a manner that would have made Eisner impressed. Creating a brilliant image AND telling a story and selling a product.

In the 181 issue run of OUR FIGHTING FORCES AT WAR, all of which had good covers,  there are nineteen covers that stand out as masterpieces… only nineteeneighteen. They are not ‘key’ issues, they are seminal issues in the history of comic book cover design. The following scans were the best I could find on short notice, and do not do the books justice. But they give you a taste of the brilliance that make these 19 consecutive issues of OUR FIGHTING FORCES AT WAR a milestone of cover design, and worth owning.

They are…

 

Cover for Our Fighting Forces (DC, 1954 series) #123Cover for Our Fighting Forces (DC, 1954 series) #124  Our Fighting Forces #125 Cover for Our Fighting Forces (DC, 1954 series) #126Cover for Our Fighting Forces (DC, 1954 series) #127Our Fighting Forces #128  Cover for Our Fighting Forces (DC, 1954 series) #129File:Our Fighting Forces Vol 1 130.jpgFile:Our Fighting Forces Vol 1 135.jpg

 

Issue 142 would signal the end of the ground breaking covers, as well as heralding the end of Joe Kubert as editor on the series (his name would officially be removed as editor two issues later). Archie Goodwin would take over for a while as editor, followed by Jack Kirby(with all due respect to Jack Kirby, I am not a fan of his work on this book). And while Kubert would continue to do covers sporadically for the series up till the end, never again would the typography and mast-head be part of the story-telling. 141 would be the last of that wild imaginative experimentation with art and typography, the last of nineteen issues of the best and longest consecutive run of great covers by one creator in the history of comics. Pick them all up today, while they can still be had affordably.

 

Use the link below to get your issues today:

https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=180611&AffID=200301P01

If you enjoyed this post and would like to see more like it, please subscribe, leave a like and comment. And what are your favorite cover runs, or cover artists/artwork?

Till next time… be well!!

Youtube Video of the Day : 10 FIGHTS That Made Us Question MMA

 

I’m a huge boxing fan. And an MMA fan. But perhaps not to the same extent as Boxing. and I’ll get to why in a second.

Combative Sports, seeing talented practitioners display their excellence is a draw, is compelling. That’s why organizations make money, networks make money, athletes make money, because it is a compelling attraction, that people will pay to see.

It appeals to us, to that part of us that lifts, when adversity meets will. There is something inspirational in it, in any athlete at their best.

Whether that is Jimmie Connors on the tennis court, or Sugar Ray Robinson in the boxing ring, those places where will meets adversity, and people come out on the other side as champions and victors… it is rousing.

However combative sports adds an additional layer of danger, in that unlike the goal of tennis or baseball or football or soccer or even rugby, where the goal is to get the ball past your opponent (and I understand these sports, all sports, can be incredibly dangerous, incredibly violent, can be potentially damaging); combative sports, inflicting damage is the goal.

In combative sports the goal is to damage the other person. Not to kill, or cripple, or maim, but enough to get them to submit or to lose. Winning in combative sports defined most clearly by being able to knock out or submit your opponent and have an early night. Now many fights go the distance with no one being knocked out or submitted, but those are potentially even more damaging as you have had people dig deep and go multiple rounds to the finish, trying to knock out or submit the other.

And nothing says highlight reel, like the knockout.

Do a search on youtube for best knockouts of 2019, and you will see that place where will meets adversity, and one person walks thru that door, and one person falls at it.

It is a rousing place for the athlete, and the audience. Look at the crowd or yourself during a great knockout.It impresses, and it rouses. 

So I being human, am as guilty of being roused by those drums of wills colliding. So I like combative sports and knockout highlight reels as much as the next person.

But especially with the rise of MMA, and pound and ground, my ‘like’ is becoming more tinged with concern. Because for all the compelling nature of combative sports, we want these people not to be seriously injured or killed for anybody’s entertainment or money.

And I think Boxing has grown a lot in its history to reduce it from its bare knuckle bloodbath war of attrition origins, to the place where you have gloves of a certain weight, and mouth guards, and rules, and a ref there to enforce the rules, and doctors, and corner people, and yes blood baths do still occur in boxing, but boxing has improved greatly to reduce the risk of people getting maimed and killed for a paycheck.

I think MMA, because it is geared to offer us ‘real’ combat, widens the potential zones of attack, and therefore zones of damage. And a lot rides on the ref. Because if boxing’s goal is to knock an opponent down, most boxers know to pull away at that point where the person is down, and the ref gets to give a standing eight count etc; MMA has a more ill-defined goal.

In MMA when the person is down, that is when for the fighter.. the fight begins, and any MMA fight, the fighter on top is pounding away on the person with maiming and potentially killing hammer blows, not because they want to maim, or kill, but because that is the ‘sport’,… you hit until the ref stops or opponent submits. Now a concussed opponent will not be able to submit, so it falls on the ref to quickly keep people from getting destroyed or killed.

It is a potentially disturbing sport, that runs the risk of transcending what we admire about combative sports, to being what we despise about blood sports.

It is a slippery slope, and I think like Boxing will have to adopt better safe guards, as fighters get better, stronger, faster, and arguably more deadly to each other.

Couple things I don’t like about the UFC in particular, is putting people in a cage like pit-bulls to fight, I don’t like people in cages for any reason. Also, I don’t like the corner people removed from their fighter, it delays the response to throw in the towel if needed, or provide medical attention, etc.

I don’t know any easy answers, but I think we have to start looking for them sooner rather than later.

That’s one reason that made me lookup the ‘effects of knockouts’ on Youtube, and that brought me to the below video.

So I’m not saying ban MMA, I am saying increase the safety of your fighters. At the end of the day someone getting maimed or killed, is not a sport. Let’s keep it a sport by keeping it competitive, and keeping it well regulated and well referred.

And I know a lot of people like to see women fight. And there are a lot of great women fighters. However, while I love to see women looking like the above image for any reason, I personally do not like watching women fight. Which is very hypocritical. And I’m not saying they should not fight, if you are good at something, man or woman, and that is your passion, then do it.

I’m saying as a spectator while i don’t mind seeing a guy hit in the face or knocked out, I do not like to see women hit. I do not like seeing beautiful things marred. It’s like splashing grime on a painting. I personally do not like it as a spectator, so I choose not to watch it. But again, I am not saying women are not great fighters,and should not be allowed to fight. If you are great at something and someone is willing to pay you for it, more power to you.

I’m just saying, I personally am not the audience for female fights. And I accept that my feelings are sexist, and chauvinist, and woefully outdated. They are the thoughts of a dinosaur… and you know what… I’m okay with that.

Anyhow hope you found this post useful, if so give a subscribe and a like. And feel free to shoot me a note about your thoughts on this post.

Till next time… Be Well! 🙂

One Day Left for Prime Deals 2019! And here are the ones everyone forgot!

A lot of people are concentrating on the tech deals, but there are also deals on what Amazon initially built its empire on… books.

 

Here then are great book deals recommended for you to pick up this Prime Day… and beyond. (While supplies last!).

Everyone is aware of Kareem Abdul Jabbar as one of the great basketball players of all time. Fewer are aware of him as an acclaimed writer. From non-fiction books on all Black tank units in World War II, to his recent Graphic novel work, Kareem Abdul Jabbar proves himself as compelling a writer as he is a personality. I recommend this Prime Day, picking up his books and audio books.

 

https://amzn.to/2jGI80Y

https://amzn.to/2lJvqiN

https://amzn.to/2kcEoV8

https://amzn.to/2lJxIhT

https://amzn.to/2lImXML

The last link above is for the audio cd. There is only ONE left. So hopefully I beat you guys to it. 🙂

 

https://amzn.to/2lkVVek

The hardcover is almost sold out.

 

And below is his new Mycroft book, the third in the series, coming out this September.

https://amzn.to/2lJMs0d

And I would definitely also recommend the graphic novel, available here:

Cover Image

https://amzn.to/2lJbsEZ

Use the links, get a great item for yourself, and earn a couple pennies for this humble blog. A win-win! 🙂

 

TODAY’S MUST WATCH YOUTUBE CHANNELS of WEEK 27 of 2019 IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD!

Love Golden Age comics. So this is a great channel for those older comics of yesteryear.

 

Mulligan Brothers is a great channel for finding motivational videos. 2 weeks ago, I did not know about David Goggins, now I’m all about his story and his inspiration. And that introduction was thanks to me being subscribed to the Mulligan Brothers Channel. “Whose going to carry the boats?”

And from that Intro I subscribed to the GOGGINS CLIPS which are short motivational clips that appear to come from the man himself.

 

 

 

Anthony Joshua vs Ruiz!!!! BREAKING BOXING NEWS!! & What Others are Not Saying!

WoW!

No one saw that coming.

And everyone will be looking at the above video.

And for a lot of people it will solidify the negative thoughts they had in regards to Anthony Joshua. The questioning thoughts regarding seemingly ducking Wilder, etc. And taking a ‘lesser’ fight with Ruiz. It did that for me, watching the above video.

But I will urge you to watch the below video. In many ways Anthony Joshua has been the most disrespected champion, however this video i think puts into perspective something that one doesn’t often see.

The measure of a champion.

In adversity you see the true character of a man. And the below video, seeing this after seeing the above video, I think anyone who was an Anthony Joshua dismisser or hater, will come away from that video with a new found respect for him. I did.

I don’t know many men who could have had the night he had, and speak immediately after it with such, no excuses candor.

 

I think in many ways Anthony Joshua now, if he wants it, is poised to be more respected and more dangerous than he has ever been. He is now a man freed of needing to protect perfection, he is a man who can concentrate on just… fighting.

We may rather than seeing the end of a career in the above two videos, be seeing the beginning of one.

Time will tell.

Playhouse 90’s A TOWN TURNED TO DUST aka Echoes of the current political landscape!

“We didn’t know he was guilty.

We strung him up, to satisfy the mood.”

 

“There’s the hunger for the niche.

I wanted to be somebody.

So I decided who the victim should be.

I pointed to an old man.

I led the mob.

I wanted to be somebody.”

— Playhouse 90 A TOWN HAS TURNED TO DUST

 

Those quotes from 1958, written by one of our great writers to highlight a mindset of ignorance and prejudice and lynchings, are oddly and shamefully relevant. Being that here 60 years later the current occupant of the white house stole into the office, on such rhetoric of hate and stupidity and intolerance.

Invaded the most powerful office in the world, swept in on the unreasoning bellows of the mob.

I love Amazon Prime for making available these forgotten and overlooked pieces of cultural and cinematic history.

 

Today I watched from the early days of television, PLAYHOUSE 90s A TOWN THAT TURNED TO DUST.

Directed masterfully by John Frankenheimer, written by Rod Serling, starring a stellar cast including Rod Steiger, William Shatner, Fay Spain,  Eugene Iglesias, Mario Alcade and James Gregory.

From 1958, when Jim Crow and Lynchings still infested large swaths of America, this live production is unfortunately again relevant in 2019, will always be relevant as long as there are masses who want to blame their lives on others rather than taking responsibility for their lives. And ready, these masses, to be led by the loudest voice of hate, rather than the more thoughtful voices of reason.

Watch it now courtesy of Amazon Prime (search for it under the title AN EVENING IN THE ZONE). This is a film that deserves to be owned on DVD/Blu-Ray. Deserves to always be readily available, and not at the mercy of ephemeral streaming  contracts and whims.

I would like to think if Americans were raised on films like 1936’s FURY by Fritz Lang and 1943’s THE OX BOW INCIDENT by William Wellman and this one by John Ftrankenheimer, if these films were required viewing, we would stop repeating the same mistakes and committing the same attrocities and empowering the same hate mongers. To the point where the occupancy of the White House would be different.

There is nothing sadder than history and mistakes not learned from.