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The Top 75 Most Iconic Covers in DC History – Day 10

Okay, in case you didn’t see the introduction, the concept is that each day up to and including the 23rd of November, I’ll be posting four iconic covers from DC Comics’ 75-year history. On the 23rd, you folks will get a chance to pick your Top 10 out of the 90 choices. I’ll tabulate the votes and I’ll debut the Top 75 Most Iconic Covers in DC Comics History on November 30th. In the meantime, feel free to e-mail me (bcronin@comicbookresources.com) with suggestions for covers for me to use!

Here’s the next four covers! And click here for the master list of all the covers posted so far!


the last two, definitely

never seen the first two before

The first one’s an absolute classic. The second seems pretty standard stuff. The 3rd and 4th are classic stories with perfectly respectable covers.

1, 3, and 4 can have cases made for them. Don’t know where #2 came from.

Superman #32 is lighthearted and great, for sure. But #14 is in a class of its own – it doesn’t get more iconic than that. He’s not Captain America, but he is All-American: the very first “new god,” in the new medium of comic books, displaying the patriotism of a still-young nation about to enter into W.W. II. The cover is all the more perfect for its lack of word balloons, and the implied motion in the cape and the eagle’s wings. Bravo!

#32 has been the direct inspiration of a stack of of other Superman covers!

Never noticed the tanks behind the stars and stripes in #14 before. Is there meant to be some kind of subtext to that?

Never noticed the tanks behind the stars and stripes in #14 before. Is there meant to be some kind of subtext to that?

Depends on what you mean by subtext.

It’s meant to be a reference to the US war effort (that Superman is supporting on the cover), but since it’s not blatant, does that count as “subtext”? I honestly dunno.

#32 has been the direct inspiration of a stack of of other Superman covers!

Yep! That’s why it is such an iconic cover!

Honestly I think #1 is the only truly iconic cover here. I don’t like it much, but it is iconic

My vote goes to the third cover.

Didn’t Jerry Ordway homage the first one when he started his “Adventures of Superman” run?

The second one cracks me up.

I wasn’t familiar with the first cover, but I am familiar with a bunch of its imitators, so that one definitely there for me. I wasn’t familiar with the second either, but it’s the same sort of thing, although in some ways, I think the dialogue (It tickles) is what is truly iconic. Was that the first time Superman said it?

Eric L. Sofer, the Silver Age Fogey

November 11, 2009 at 5:31 am

The first one IS what Superman is about. When voting comes, that’s likely my number one.

There are a lot of iconic Superman covers from the 40s, back when the cover was more a general representation of the character than a preview of the story inside. I do not say that one is better than the other, but I DO say that the “pin up” type cover prevailed through the 40s. I like these two choices.

Number 3 – hey, it’s really easy. ANYTIME Curt Swan draws the Legion of Super-Heroes – I’m there!

Number 4 is iconic, but I think it loses some of its bang out of context. It is tremendous regarding the story inside, but just the cover itself – it’s a nice Alex Ross cover, it shows a very definitive image, but it’s a little tougher without knowing what it refers to.

But I think all four of these are winners.

I remain,
Eric L. Sofer
The Silver Age Fogey

Yes, no, I would have gone with part 1, and I would have gone with #1.

All solid choices again. I wonder if we’ll see more Superman or Batman by the time the list concludes.

So this is the montage of Superman getting attacked by stuff:

A bird,



and Fire.

Uhhhhh, since I’m not a super-guy fan, I’d have to go with the Alex Ross cover.

“Woe, woe, woe to the inhibitors of the earth …”

Sorry, couldn’t resist. ;-)

hard to pick since all are iconic in their own way but picked number four for it showed even as destruction is going on in kc superman through the fire and smoke is still standing . sending the message he may be bruised by he will no fall

The first 2 covers mentions jan/feb; was Superman bi-monthly at that time?

I agree with butler 100%.

I have to disagree with people who say Kingdom Come is a classic story with respectable story. The art and covers make Kingdom Come, the story is very subpar and unheroic…borderline mediocre.

I never notice the tanks behind the shield before on #14 either. Yes, they’re there because of a little scrap going on at the time that comic was printed. It was called World War II.
I think the Superman title actually started out as a quarterly, when it was first reprinting the stories for Action Comics. I don’t have a definitive answer why, but it seems most anthology title were monthly, while single-character books were quarterly or bi-monthly. Even in the 60s and early 70s, “Detective” and “Action” were monthlies, while “Batman” and “Superman” were on an eight-times-a-year schedule. The indicia would read “Published monthly (with the exception of February, May, August and November).”

#1 has to be the most iconic. It was even homaged in the statue they put up over Superman’s tomb in the “Death of Superman” storyline.

I’d say that first, all-American cover is the most iconic. “It tickles” is humorous. I don’t know that I’ll put any of these in my top 10 though.

Gotta go with the last two.

But Curt Swan belongs in a whole ‘nother division of iconic. Who else would be asked to draw a cover highlighting Superman’s many moods, showing his face angry, envious, sad, etc. (Too bad I can’t find it right now)

Wondered when Alex Ross would show up!

I think I like 1 and 4 the best, at least for the purposes of this list (although I really like the second one, I’ve never seen it before, it’s a fun one!).

the third one is more significant for the story, but the cover itself doesn’t grab me too much.

Superman #14 is one of the greatest covers in comics history. It certainly will be in my top ten.

I wouldn’t say any of these are particularly iconic. Maybe the first one.

1 and 2 easily. The last two are know for the stories only, not for the covers. the first two books are know for the covers and not the stories.

"O" the Humanatee!

November 11, 2009 at 10:48 am

I’m surprised to see how few people are familiar with or impressed by Superman #32. I think it’s iconic of a certain lightheartedness that was once in Superman, as well as a direct and humorous way of showing just how powerful he is. And as mentioned above, it’s certainly been homaged.

But I can hardly argue with Superman #14. The other two I’m less impressed by: Action #593 is very nice cover (it’s by Swanderson, after all), and it’s got a great story behind it – but it just doesn’t say “iconic” to me. And the Ross cover just doesn’t impress me much at all, even though I liked Kingdom Come. It’s muddy and moody without being particularly evocative – though I admit that I may have felt it was much more powerful at the time, before the Ross “brand” got so watered down.

No 1 and 3 are both iconic in my book. I don’t recall ever seeing 2 before which is strange because I’m a bit of a Superman nut and love the old-time stuff. 4 is a decent cover but it certainly didn’t stick in my mind at the time as something special. No 3 is my favouroite. Whatever some people might say, you can’t always completely disintangle your feelings about the cover from the story inside.

In a sense, that is what an ‘icon’ is. Something which the ‘initiated’ observer invests with a significance greater than its immediate and obvious characteristics.

Although I like all four choices, I’m reserving my Superman pick in the top ten for the Breaking The Kryptonite Chains cover. I had that poster when I was a kid.

Superman #14 will come in second if I put two Superman covers in. But, I’m anticipating things like GL/GA and some Marvel titles to make me ration.


Wait, I’m an idiot.

This is Iconic Covers in DC History. So, no Marvel titles. Duh

Um, I mean, I meant Captain Marvel titles. Yah, that’s what I meant.


Agree that the first cover is the most iconic. It has a chance to be in the top 10.

Since today is November 11th, shouldn’t there be 11 days of iconic covers?

Mark McD,

There’s a Sixties Superman cover I think you are referring to. Something like “You’ll see Superman GREEN with jealousy, RED with anger, BLUE with despair!” I think it was a Red K story.

Found it, though I was quite wrong on the colors on the cover. From Action # 317 , “The Rainbow Faces of Superman”…


As to the covers above, Superman #14 without a doubt.

Fans may remember that DC itself thought this image so iconic that they used it for the statue above Superman’s mausoleum in the park in downtown Metropolis after his “death.”

We absolutely need to see one of those classic Superman mosaic covers. Something like this: http://www.faceoutbooks.com/media/35067/classic_mosaic_cover.jpg

Since today is November 11th, shouldn’t there be 11 days of iconic covers?

There will be one on the 11th.

This list is from yesterday.

Mike Blake:
Yes, that’s the one. somehow I thought it was for an 80-page Giant or annual cover where Superman’s face shows a whole rainbow of emotions, representing seven stories reprinted inside.
That’d be a cool homage for a “Blackest Night” tie-in:
“See Superman turn:
RED with rage!
ORANGE with greed!
YELLOW with fear!
GREEN with willpower!
BLUE with hope!
INDIGO with something mysterious!
VIOLET with love!
BLACK with death!”

#2 is pretty famous as far as pop culture goes. Search for “Superman – It Tickles shirt” and you’ll find like it’s pretty popular these days.

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