23 December 2012


Brian Cronin at Comics Should Be Good just mused about the many covers of World’s Finest Comics from the 1940s which show Robin, Batman, and Superman basically goofing off: “I think it is fun if you just pretend that all of these covers happened on one really amazing day.”

The weekly Robin discussed those covers back here: “Robin appears delighted at having the two coolest older brothers ever.”

Cronin’s essay brought my attention to this cover of World’s Finest, #16, by Jack Burnley with Charles Paris. I hadn’t studied it before because the image on Cover Browser is so blurred. And now I’m puzzled as to what’s going on.

Is this one of the many examples of Robin slipping and falling from the first three decades of Batman comics? If so, Batman and Superman are blasé about it. Perhaps they’ve seen it too many times before. “Oh, there goes the ‘Boy Wonder’ again. I bet you wonder, Batman, when he’ll get past adolescent awkwardness.” “You’re lucky you don’t have to watch him chase after crooks, Superman.”

Then again, Robin himself appears to be smiling. Though he’s let go of a perfectly good mountain-climbing axe, he may well have flung himself off the cliff for fun. “Flying Graysons ruuuuule!” After all, he knows he’s got two expert catchers.


Glenn Ingersoll said...

Is there any explanation inside? Or are the covers really unrelated to the stories within?

I remember in the Bugle story about Frank Kramer he responded to Jack Snow's pique over the fanciful endpapers for Shaggy Man by saying the endpapers weren't supposed to illustrate the story but to provide more space for the imagination. Or something like that.

J. L. Bell said...

World's Finest cover art bears no relation to the stories inside in this period. In fact, Batman and Superman wouldn't even meet in the comics continuity for another few years. (They had already met on radio.)

Kramer was able to invoke Neill's precedent for endpaper art that barely connected to the book's story. Even so, I think the Shaggy Man endpapers are unusually imaginative—I might even prefer that story to the book itself.