Great Covers – ACTION COMICS #1

Well, it’s hard to top this one, isn’t it? But even putting aside its historical significance, this Joe Shuster cover to ACTION COMICS #1 is excellent. First off, it’s got a great logo, and that classic DC banner area at the top, which always screams 1930s design. Then within the image area itself, the focus is absolutely on Superman–the blue of his costume drawing in the eye, silhouetted against the yellow of the background. And his smashing of the car promises plenty of action to come! The figures racing away in panic give just enough depth-of-field to make this seem a complete image, along with that bouncing spare tire.Reportedly, there was an earlier version of this cover where the car was colored red–it was wisely changed to green before going to press, which keeps it from fighting with Superman for attention. The image itself wasn’t intended to be a cover at all–rather, it was one of a number of presentation pieces that Shuster had worked up when he and Jerry Siegel were trying to sell Superman as a newspaper strip. It was pasted up as the cover once the decision was made to feature Superman in the new title. Reportedly, owner Harry Donenfeld thought that the image was so ridiculous that nobody would believe it, and because of this, it would be another six issues before Superman would grace a cover again, generic scenes of action and adventure being used on ACTION COMICS #2-6 instead.

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