‘Neath Our Covers

A new year is always a good time for reflection, and — with more than two hundred titles under our imprint — I started looking through my Library of American Comics shelves, seeking to answer the question, “What are my Top Ten favorite LOAC covers?”

I came up with my answers, which you’ll see below:

Coming in as my # 10: Star Trek: The Classic UK Comics, Volume 1. This artwork does a great job capturing the original series cast, and the original USS Enterprise. It’s the version of Star Trek I (and perhaps several of you) grew up with, and I think the strongest of the TV series’s episodes remain the strongest of any Trek incarnation.

At # 9, Superman – The Golden Age Dailies, Volume 3. Pete Poplaski’s pitch-perfect homage covers are all delightful, but I chose Golden Age Dailies Volume 3 because somehow, to me, Superman in the ring against Clark Kent (???) seems such a perfect “DC Comics” story springboard — it was too good to pass up!

My # 8 is our Cap Stubbs and Tippie LOAC Essentials collection. Regular visitors to this space know I’m a big Edwina Dumm fan, and the sight of our two heroes from this heartwarming strip always gives me a smile.

Then, checking in at # 7, Skippy Volume 3. Percy Crosby’s influential kid feature is always a delight, and I find the motion and energy in this cover image irresistible. There’s a story in this helter-skelter downhill soapbox junket, and this cover makes you eager to know what it is.

Here are my # 10 – # 7 covers; click on each for a larger image:

My choice for # 6 is Genius Illustrated. It’s a book (and a series) we at LOAC remain incredibly proud of, and Alex Toth’s children remain complimentary of the entire series (and remember that last year, Dana Toth Palmer produced her own compelling perspective on her famed father in her book, My Father, My Faith). The simplicity and drama of this cover encapsulates Toth’s approach to making comics (and what comics he made!).

The # 5 selection is our first Champagne Edition Polly and Her Pals release. Cliff Sterrett’s work remains a personal favorite, and Pa Perkins and his wonderful four-footed Greek chorus, Kitty, are front-and-center here.

In at # 4 is the second in our Definitive Flash Gordon and Jungle Jim series. Alex Raymond’s popular, trend-setting space opera has rarely looked better, and this cover features Dale Arden and one of Mongo’s fabulous-looking spaceships, blasting away at an unseen, off-cover target.

Then, in third place, Bringing Up Father: From Sea to Shining Sea. I just love-love-love George McManus and Zeke Zekley’s ornate deco art style, and the loving squabbles of Jiggs and Maggie. This book reprints arguably the greatest Bringing Up Father sequence ever, topped off by a fun and clever cover.

Check below to see these four covers; again, click on any of them to see a larger view:

My first-runner-up is Terry and the Pirates Volume 4. The book contains perhaps the most important sequence in Milton Caniff’s run on the series — the Death of Raven Sherman — and its cover selects a somber and subtle image from the end of the story (Terry and Dude Hennick at the rough grave in which they’ve buried Raven), and its color palette makes it a stark departure from its preceding three volumes.

What’s in my top spot? Perhaps it may surprise some, but my # 1 favorite LOAC cover is Little Orphan Annie, Volume 1! Annie’s scrappy, can-do attitude is an encapsulation of the American spirit — Sandy is a hearty, loyal friend and sidekick — and this is a terrific portrait shot of these two heroes. “Arf!” indeed! My top two picks are shown below — you know the drill, click to see a bigger view!

Here’s hoping you find at least some of your favorite LOAC covers among my Top Ten!

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