Thursday, June 13, 2013

Beware The Hidden Bathtub

Marvel's Greatest Comics #34, the issue which reprinted Fantastic Four #47 featuring the FF's discovery of the Inhumans' Great Refuge, was another instance where another artist was brought in to reinterpret the original cover:

In this case, Gil Kane did the new cover art, which, as you can see, has a similar layout with a few minor differences--and that surprised me, considering that other such covers have differed considerably from Jack Kirby's original.

To be honest, it seemed to me that both covers could have used some tweaking here and there. Take the original, on which "Beware The Hidden Land!" is emblazoned--yet the hidden land at first glance doesn't look like much to beware, as what we see resembles more of a sketch than an actual city. Kirby has provided adequate detailing--all that's really needed is some touching up here and there by the colorist to give it some dimension and life. Also, despite the peril of the pictured situation, Sue's posture and expression make it seem like she's on some kind of joyride rather than in imminent danger.

In Kane's version, we see a more generic version of the Refuge--and less of it, which even a more prominent cover caption can't do much to enhance. Kane does manage to convey a more realistic depiction of Sue's predicament; but the Thing's smaller icon next to the masthead looks more interesting than his much larger, stiffer cover pose, while Reed's forearm reaching toward Sue gives the impression of an accordion.

The main point of this issue is for the FF to confront the Inhumans on their home ground--so why not have a cover resembling something like this dramatic scene?

Which, on a cover, might look something like this:

Though I don't know why the FF didn't just stow their flying bathtub on their jet and use it to approach the refuge while Sue kept them invisible.  On the other hand, we wouldn't have seen much on the cover, would we? 


dbutler16 said...

I agree that the covers, while pretty good, could have been better. I like the original a little bit better, anyway.

Anonymous said...

Marvel's Greatest Comics was a great way to get the old classic Lee-Kirby stuff fairly cheap. Sometimes Marvel used the original covers, and sometimes they changed the coloring and layout a bit, and sometimes the commissioned a whole new cover. I realize, it must have been about marketing somehow, but I never saw much rhyme or reason to it. I would have preferred they used the original classic covers. After buying one issue, you know you're getting a reprint, so you know what the title is about...maybe it was a game of inches, hoping to make a few bucks off of kids who were buying comics they thought were new. For me, it was an introduction to the classic 60's stuff.