Friday, August 3, 2007

Mammoth Annual # 8: Cover source identified


Following on from yesterday’s post, it turns out the cover to Mammoth Annual #8 is indeed based on a Curt Swan cover, for Action Comics #309.

Another mystery solved, thanks to my UK correspondent (I feel like Lamont Cranston with operatives lying low around the globe until their particular skills are required for the cause…):

To quote directly from his report: “There are all the signs of Amos-isation: Lori Lemaris has gone, the generic banner and balloons appear, Clark Kent has gone (so there's no story to be told...) and Lois is kissing Superman in a pose right out of Kurt Schaffenberger (but with a semi-Amos Superman...probably derived from the original but with a new face and arm position - looks like a traced and adapted copy). I'd bet on the Lois figure being derived in the same way from another DC comic.

"Interestingly, the Batman figure is original DC, even though he looks like the Amos version!”
Indeed!

Oh, and I also received another note identifying Action Comics #309 as the source (see below), so again, my thanks to Michael. My thanks also to Mark Cannon who helped with some queries I had in preparing yesterday's post.

Note: image above sourced from GCD.

Update:
Something else just occurred to me – as my UK correspondent mentioned in his report, the story from Action Comics #309, “The Superman Super-Spectacular!”, is the one in which JFK stood in for Clark Kent, and which hit the stands just shortly (within days? a month?) of his shooting. I don’t see this story reprinted in a Superman Supacomic or Super Adventure Comic of the period, so I’m guessing it was consciously dropped from the publishing schedule by the K.G. Murray editors, probably as a sign of respect. Hence the 'spare cover’ is available for duty as a Mammoth cover. The fact that the Clark Kent figure – JFK – is omitted further supports this theory. Of course it helps that it is modified as a celebratory birthday cover which makes it appear as a regular Mammoth cover. So unless I’m wrong and “The Superman Super-Spectacular!” is in fact reprinted some time in circa 1964, I’m going to run with this theory.

4 comments:

mcannon said...

Spiros

As ever, interesting stuff. The sourcing of the cover for Mammoth #8 to that old Action Comics cover helps explain the identify of that portly, white haired fellow standing near Element Lad; he’s presumably a “good friend” of Superman whom we never saw before, wasn’t identified and was never seen again! This wasn’t uncommon in the Weisinger books; I can think of a couple of Lois Lane stories (each involving one of her many aborted marriage ceremonies – that woman must have had an entire wardrobe full of wedding dresses!), for example, in which none of the attendees were familiar members of the regular cast.

The fact that’s he’s the only “civilian” in the lineup of Superman’s friends, though, makes me wonder if he’s a random figure or based on someone associate with he comic. He looks too old and chubby for artist Curt Swan at the time (though he has a slight resemblance to the older Sawn), and Mort Weisinger was bald. Former editor Whitney Elsworth, perhaps? I’ve no idea, but my original theory that the figure on the Mammoth cover might have been Sir Robert Menzies making his only appearance on a KGM cover seems to have been sunk…….


>>Something else just occurred to me – as my UK correspondent mentioned in his report, the story from Action Comics #309, “The Superman Super-Spectacular!”, is the one in which JFK stood in for Clark Kent, and which hit the stands just shortly (within days? a month?) of his shooting. I don’t see this story reprinted in a Superman Supacomic or Super Adventure Comic of the period, so I’m guessing it was consciously dropped from the publishing schedule by the K.G. Murray editors, probably as a sign of respect.>>

It could well have been that. Another possible reason was that not long before this, KGM were still altering identifiably elements in the DC material they were reprinting; changing spellings, crudely redrawing American flags and replacing references to dollars and cents with pounds, shillings and pence. While this practice was fading away by 1964, KGM may still have been reluctant to reprint a story that so clearly identified Superman with the United States. On the other hand, the sort-of-sequel to “The Superman Super-Spectacular!”, the memorial story that DC published a few months later, “Superman’s Mission for President Kennedy”, in which Superman undertakes a campaign to help American youth, and which actually referenced Kennedy’s assassination, _was_ published locally in Supacomic #64, which would indicate that KGM was now more comfortable in identifying Superman as American (after all, the “adventures of Superman “ show, which did just that, had been screening on Australian TV for several years at this point!). Perhaps it’s all yet another example of KGM’s inconsistent publishing practices.

BTW, Mort Weisinger certainly was an admirer of JFK. Fred Hembeck wrote a piece in one of his columns about a mid-‘60s “Jimmy Olsen” story in which Jimmy, travelling several centuries into the future, finds that citizens still stand mournfully to commemorate the anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination! A pretty far-fetched concept even in 1965, let alone now. It’s at:-
http://www.quickstopentertainment.com/2007/01/04/the-fred-hembeck-show-episode-85-%e2%80%94-but-how-did-you-like-dallas-otherwise-mrs-kennedy/

Cheers

Mark Cannon

spiros xenos said...

Mark, since you mention Hembeck, check out his “redo cover” for Action Comics #309 – http://www.hembeck.com/Covers/Action309.htm - I reckon his Batman also looks like the Swan/Moldoff, which in turn looks so much like an Amos.

We can at least look forward to a black and white reprint of “The Superman Super-Spectacular!” in a forthcoming DC Showcase volume. I’m relieved I didn't have to suffer reading about Robert Menzies standing in for Clark Kent – at best he could possibly have doubled for Mr. Freeze from the Batman tv show, with those eyebrows! (And don’t get me started on the ‘stature’ of the bonsai John Howard as a “man of steel”... As Daffy Duck says: "Easy, stomach!")

James said...

I was just scanning covers and found myself wondering why KGM went to so much effort to change this cover to give Superman a birthday.

Then it hit me.

If my dating is correct, this is celebrating 20 years of Superman comics in Australia.

Superman All Color Comic 1 was mid 1947; while Mammoth Annual 8 was late 1967. Not a perfect match, but 20 years there abouts (and the Mammoths were probably intended to have a long shelf life.)

They might not have taken the same regular approach to anniversaries as US comics, but someone had a bit of corporate memory it seems.

So perhaps a possible sign KGM was on the ball... at least at some stage...

(Of cause, it could just mean that a package got lost on the way from the US. Superman Supacomic 97, September 1967 is one of the rare Supacomics of the period that uses a splash page, rather than a US cover. I don't know whey they didn't have a backlog of Batman covers, though.)

James

Tim Roll-Pickering said...

"that portly, white haired fellow standing near Element Lad"

He's meant to be Police Chief Douglas Parker, one of the regular Superboy supporting characters, in a very rare appearance set during Superman's adult days.