WTF Cover: Secrets of Haunted House #19

Secrets_of_Haunted_House_Vol_1_19I have this particular comic decorating the wall of my office at my day job, alongside a slew of other colorful, zany 70s comics. But this one is my favorite, for 3 reasons:

1) The skeleton is wearing an eye patch, just so you know where that “beautiful glass eye” came from. Why he’s not wearing a blindfold, since he’s obviously missing both eyes, is a mystery. Or a “secret”.

2) The oddly contorted giant mannequin head on the “mom” is awesome. Just look at that vapid expression on her face as she cheerfully gives her precious daughter a “beautiful glass eye.”

3) And finally, how about that “beautiful glass eye” itself? Amirite guys? That beautiful, ginormous, creepy, bloodshot eye. What parents wouldn’t want to give that beautiful bauble to their young daughter?

If that little girl is this excited to play with such a gruesome little trinket, I’d hate to think what other “beautiful” toys she has in her closet. Maybe a shrunken human head? Or a spinal column floating in a jar of formaldehyde? Or a mint copy of Youngblood #1?

By the way, Secrets of Haunted House #19 was published by DC Comics, December 1979. Luis Dominguez drew the cover in question.

(A version of this post appeared on my Ferret Press blog, January 2011)

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    Splash Wednesday: Jan Duursema, Neil Adams, and Barry Windsor Smith

    Another Wednesday, another batch of splash pages for your enjoyment.

    The first page comes to us from the prolific scanner of Mr. Matt Kish: here’s a Jan Duursema double-splash page from Arion, Lord of Atlantis #18, published by DC Comics.


    Next up, a moody Neal Adams page, from Batman #237:


    And finally, a classic page, originally posted on the Ferret Press blog by Craig Bogart, June 2010:

    “Roy Thomas invents a character for the Robert E. Howard estate to spend decades cashing in on, as Red Sonja (not the medieval Sonya of Rogatine) debuts in Conan the Barbarian #24. Art by Barry Smith.”


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      Spoof Comics: 90s dreck at its best (worst)

      Recently, while looking for comic covers to post as part of the Indie Cover Spotlight feature, I ran across several books from a publisher called Spoof Comics. You may remember them from their oh-so-clever Wolverbroad vs. Hobo book, or Spider-femme vs. Denim.



      I’m just kidding. Nobody remembers Spoof Comics.

      Well, I’m here to tell you that judging by the covers of their other books, it’s a testament to the strength (and insanity) of the 90s era speculative market that they lasted as long as they did. Again, I’ll be the first to admit I haven’t read a single one of these comics, but honestly, I can’t imagine any of them actually being funny. For example, we’ve got O-X: Cow O’ War:


      Because nothing’s funnier than recasting Valiant’s successful X-O: Man O’ War as a cow. Cow’s have udders, which are funny, right? Ugh.

      Or how about The Punish-her Score Journal:


      First of all, the character’s name doesn’t even make sense, other than it’s the best they could come up with that would somewhat rhyme with Punisher. I don’t even want to know how they wove in the theme of dating and sex and “punishment,” because I have a feeling it’s a bunch of frat house juvenile humor. But hey, check out the early Dave Johnson cover. At least he went on to bigger and better things.

      And speaking of great cover artists, the folks at Spoof Comics were at least smart enough to know they’d have a better chance of selling their books if they put some recognizable talent on the covers. My guess is the interiors of these comics were drawn by hungry, naive young artists with way more enthusiasm to “break in” than actual talent. You know, the Bluewater model. So if you can get some nice looking covers, you may at least trick some unsuspecting souls into buying your crap comics.

      Case in point, Swamp Thang:


      Oh, Kelley Jones, you must have had a car payment to cover that month. But at least it’s a really good cover.

      And then there’s Spider-femme:


      That’s right, despite the normal looking (and sized) breasts, that’s pinup artist extraordinaire, Adam Hughes. Incidentally, the above cover is from their anthology series Spoof Comics Presents, which, get this, lasted 19 issues! And in that year and a half of publication, they gave us such gems as Daredame:


      …Vertigo parodies like Dame Patrol:


      …and the super-innuendo of Green Lanterns:


      (by the way, I’m pretty sure that’s a Cully Hamner cover on GL)

      …and so many other comedy classics, from Justice Broads to Wet Shirts. I’m telling you, Spoof Comics was a veritable (un)funny factory, churning out not just comic book spoofs, but also those of celebrity rock bands. Behold, Kisses:


      But even in the early stages of their careers, guys like Adam Hughes and Kelley Jones probably charged too much for a cover (and by too much, I mean “not free,” which seems to have been Spoof Comics’ payment standard), so their other books looked more like this:


      That’s right, Youngspud. What’s funnier than a parody of Rob Liefeld’s Youngblood book, than a bunch of potato superheroes? God, I can just imagine all the funny lines in that book: the heroes drink a lot to get “mashed,” or maybe they fight a French supervillain team called Les Frites?

      Well, I’m afraid that’s about as much as I can stand to write on this topic. But before I go, I’ll leave you with the best of the bunch. Behold teh funny of Soul Trek:


      I don’t even want to know.

      (A version of this post originally appeared on my Ferret Press blog, April, 2011)

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        Splash Wednesday: John Byrne, Pat Broderick, and Carmine Infantino

        Welcome back to our weekly spotlight on splash pages! Let’s just get to this week’s batch…

        John Byrne, from Fantastic Four #247:


        Pat Broderick, from The Micronauts #28 (thanks to Matt Kish for the scan):


        And a classic page from the Ferret Press blog, June 2nd, 2010, with original commentary by Craig Bogart:

        Carmine Infantino is an artist I didn’t “get” until years after I first saw his work; the page shown here is from Marvel’s Star Wars #21, 1978.

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          Indie Cover Spotlight: Puma Blues #3

          So in completely unexpected news, it looks like the seminal indie series Puma Blues, which introduced artist Michael Zulli to the world, is going to be completed and collected!

          This is one of the books from 80s that I’m aware of, and even have a few issues, but have never read. part of my hesitation was knowing that the creators had a falling out and never completed it. But now it looks like I’ll be able to finally dig into the experimental series.


          Cover art by Michael Zulli, published by Dave Sim’s Aardvark One International, 1986.

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            Splash Wednesday: Esteban Maroto and Paul Gulacy

            Running a bit late this week…

            Anyway, here’s a splash page by Esteban Maroto, from Dracula: Vlad The Impaler #3:

            And here’s the “classic” page, from the Ferret Press blog, May 25, 2010:

            No, it’s not Marvel’s old Fun N’ Games magazine; it’s Shang-Chi battling his way through a maze of assassins, and artist Paul Gulacy provides an actual maze for our enjoyment. From Giant Size Master of Kung Fu #2.


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              Indie Cover Spotlight: WARP Graphics Annual #1

              Here’s today’s ICS, the cover to WaRP Graphics Annual #1, by Debbie Hayes and Paul Abrams, with colors by Mark Wheatley:


              This comics was published in 1989 by Warp Graphics (which stood for Wendy and Richard Pini, the husband and wife team behind the venerable Elfquest series), and featured a bunch of (now) well-known creators: the aforementioned Pinis, Robert Asprin, Phil Foglio, Jim Valentino, Colleen Doran, Mark Wheatley, Marc Hempel, Romeo Tanghal, and more.

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                Splash Wednesday: Jack Kirby, Chris Bachalo, and Ross Andru

                Matt Kish is killing it with all the splash pages he’s been providing me for this feature, so let’s just get right into it:

                Starting off with The King himself, Mr. Jack Kirby (inked by Mike Royer), from 2001 #2:


                Next up, some early work from Chris Bachalo (finished by Mark Buckingham), from Ghost Rider 2099 #1:


                And here’s the classic page with commentary by Craig Bogart, from my old Ferret Press blog, May 19, 2010

                From the story that made me a comic fan in general and a Spider-Man fan in particular; Amazing Spider-Man #147 (the roots of the clone story that ran off the tracks a couple decades later). By my personal favorite Spider-Man artist, Ross Andru:


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