Your Comics Code at Work: ASTONISHING #50

Saw this one over at the very fine blog http://marvelsilverage.blogspot.com/ and I thought it was worth showing to a wider audience. On the right is the cover to ASTONISHING #50, published by Timely/Atlas/Marvel in 1956. And on the left is its UK reprinting in Alan Class’s CREEPY WORLDS–except there, they shot from the uncorrected original cover. This kind of thing happened often on overseas reprints, which is one of our best sources of information for how some of these cover images started out before in-house of Comics Code tampering was done to them. The Grand Comics Database credits this cover to Carl Burgos, but lists a whole slew of conjecture that I’m simply going to cut and paste here: Burgos credit per Nick Caputo, June 2012. Nick adds that the British reprint of the cover is from an original stat and there may be some alteration work on the cover, possibly by Sol Brodsky, but no Ditko input. Jim Vadeboncoeur, Jr. notes that there is much about this cover that is reminiscent of Bob Bean.

As you can see, the image was revised to tone down its intensity. The guy’s face was redrawn in profile, and while he’s still shocked about the giant hand, it’s only a mild shock and not out-and-out horror. His upraised, shielding arm has been entirely removed. Most strangely, the giant arm has been revised to not only give it a suit sleeve but also a watch and a ring. I don’t know what the point of that was, maybe a bare arm was considered too scary, and even giants need to know what time it is.

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