Week 47: DC Spashes from the 60s

I pooped on DC a bit in this week’s Time to Collect post so I thought I’d try and make amends by showcasing some fine 1960s DC splash pages.

I thought I’d start with Carmine Infantino, the most 60s of all DC artists as I see it. I like the dynamic motion on his Detective Comics #347 splash page, from January 1966.

Today’s winner is this Gene Colan splash that was so good they used it as the cover too. From Young Love #52, from December 1965. Is that Ann Margret he was inspired by?

I looked for a Zatanna splash and really enjoyed finding this one, by Gil Kane from Atom #19, July 1965.

Penciller Mike Sekowsky and inker Sid Greene give us this great splash page from Justice League of America #46, from July 1966.

Russ Heath is a favorite on Making a Splash, check out his great splash from Showcase #27, from July 1960.

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Walter Durajlija
Walter Durajlija is an Overstreet Advisor and Shuster Award winner. He owns Big B Comics in Hamilton Ontario.
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8 Comments

  1. Walter !

    I am so glad you did DC splashes today ! I finished my Marvel collection in the 80’s , but , I’ve been trying to finish my 50’s and 60’s DCs for the rest of the time . IMHO , I enjoy the DCs more than when I was collecting the Marvels . DCs have been getting a raw deal since day 1 . the period of 1958 to 1960 introduced a plethora of great comics and characters . just try to find these babies in grades better than VF . very hard to do . any time high grade DC’s do come up for sale , there is a dedicated group of collectors who will bid aggressively on them , whether they’re super-hero books , war books ( vastly under-rated and under priced !!! ) , mystery books , or love books .

    they had great artists working for them . Toth , Kane , Sekowsky , Moriera , Swan , Heath , Kirby ( love his mystery books he did in the mid to late 50’s ) , Infantino … I could go on , but , you get the gist of it .

    todays splash of Colan is just superb , wish I had that book . and don’t forget the wonderful artwork by Romita SR. on the romance books , too boot !

  2. Chris and I agree 100% on the high standards of DC art from this period. The stories also, not across the entire line, but under the right editors., Marvel had just ONE editor, Stan, and up until 1968, just (roughly) ten titles a month. DC spread their talent across many more titles, several editors, so of course there were winners and losers.

    DC also kept pushing the envelope, trying new genres in titles like Showcase and The Brave and the Bold. For example, Robin Hood and Knights and Vikings in B&B. Marvel meanwhile was doing monsters, a bit of fantasy and sci fi but not much, westerns, romance, and teen humor…and that’s all…until the FF came along. Then it was superhero, just one more genre. DC meanwhile, heavily into westerns, sci-fi, mystery, teams, superpowered or otherwise, superheros of course, romance, and quite a bit more. And whatever you’d call Batman when Bob Kane was still running the show. Ugh, DC’s low point in my book, though the end of the Blackhawks, Brother Power the Geek, they had their other embarrassments.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love the Marvel line throughout, say, 1958-1970, but Marvel and DC together was a great fit, with DC’s different work. There was something for every fan of all ages. In 1961, when I began looking at the newstand, DC had it nailed. Their covers are powerful, intriguing, they pull you in. Even (or especially) the Weisinger Superman titles, plus the entire Julius Schwartz-edited line.

    Marvel monsters were fun, but surely aimed at a younger fan. I bought both, but today when I look back, those Hawkman Brave and the Bold tryout issues by Kubert, Sea Devils by Russ Heath, Rip Hunter, Strange Adventures and Mystery in Space, Flash by Infantino, Green Lantern by Gil Kane, Batman once Infantino took over, even Curt Swan’s Superman…great stuff, covers and inside too. Sadly, by as early the mid to late sixties, DC was looking tired and had a shorter list of great titles, but then Marvel made up for it as their rocket took off.

    I love Gil Kane’s Zatana, in fact Kane is brilliant through so much of the sixties and seventies. His covers on the later Marvel westerns are sleepers today, since inside you only found reprints, but that didn’t take away from dozens of dynamite covers across the Marvel line.

    This splash exercise also points out the most talented splash page designers…Russ Heath, Infantino, Kane…you’re finding them right here.

    Chris, my one variance with you and some of the other guys here is your desire for near perfect copies. Uh, oh, soapbox time for Buddy…

    For me, I am perfectly happy with a tightly graded raw Fine, Fine +…F/VFN and Very Fine are particularly attractive, but not a must. Anything better than 8.0 is going to cost SO much more (VFN is already far too much to pay for better books, for me) and I don’t see the difference, really. And I prefer a raw book, I am tired of busting open slabbed books. I admit, I leave some encapsulated until someday I really,,really want to read it again. I also dislike the idea of paying a premium for the grading and encapsulation.

    MyComicShop, Jim Payette, Big Guy’s Comics, Steve Ritter… these guys grade really tight and have taught me to be very careful too. I find CGC and CBCS don’t grade as hard below 8.0…I cannot speak for anything above that. But their grading is usually acceptable. But one has to look close, because they’ll mess up. My pet peeve is disregarding receving dates, handwritten or stamped, much less sometimes ugly, large file copy stamps. Even names written on covers in inappropriate spots seems to mean little to them.

    Heritage Auctions is uneven grading their raw books. They are mostly in the acceptable range, maybe 1/2 a grade high, but sometimes seriously off, particularly on spine wear that would drop a book below FN. I trust CGC more, in that case, and neither one, Heritage or CGc, is as careful as the dealers I mention above.

    I also collect a really wide range of things, including antiquarian illustrated books and ephemera. So I can understand if your interests are very targeted, wanting the best copy. But from a budgeting standpoint, I want to spread my acquisitions out, so settling for adequate reading copies, and being happy with 6.0 Fine, means I have more to spend and more books coming in to enjoy. I can always upgrade on my favorite books, but meanwhile I have a copy to enjoy. That’s how I put together mostly complete runs of pre-hero Marvels, Avon, Fiction House, Fawcett and Quality titles early on, when they were cheap. Now I go through these on occasion, title by title, and begin looking for upgrades for lesser, not-quite-acceptable copies. This is fun, like collecting them again. I can flip my old copy to help offset the cost of the upgrade.

    Nuff said, thanks for bearing with me, you guys.

  3. Yes Yes Yes Bud, you are right on!!!!!!!!!!! Collecting should be about the whole experience of the comic, (cover, inside art, advertising pages, story, etc.), not just looking at the cover in a slab.

    Nuff said.

    Jeff Kepley

  4. Bud !

    I agree with you whole-heartedly about condition , I would love to have high grade for all my books . most of my early 50’s books are in the vg/fine range , which is perfectly acceptable to me for my collection . like you , I just want to own a copy . I am one of the very few collectors out there today that is still trying to put together full runs of titles of every DC title . it was a lot cheaper back in the 80’s and 90’s , than today . try to find vg/f in titles like the Phantom Stranger , Adventures of Rex the Wonder Dog , New adventures of Charlie Chan , Frontier Fighters , Mystery Sensation Comics after the Wonder Woman issues for examples .

    all of these are in raw form , Bud . I like to smell the books and to be able to read them . and before you people out there cringe ( lol ! ) , I have a yellow pages book from 1993 which is 1500 pages thick , which I open to the middle , and lay my comic in there , it doesn’t put any stress on the spine , then I flip the pages with my white cotton gloves on !!!

    I’m in Vancouver , Bud , so I know of those dealers you spoke about , but , have never gone into the USA to buy comics . I have bought 9.6 graded books from MYCOMCSHOP over the last few years . they have been key Bronze Age Marvel books for investment purposes only , and have loved dealing with Buddy and his crew .

    my main love though , is to be able to hold raw books and enjoy them . I mean , that’s what they were made for after all , isn’t it !

    I have also bought from your online store many times , I still get your free catalogs every time you publish one . my favourite buys from you was forgotten all stars , a bio of Gardner Fox , Harvey Kurtzman by the late lamented Bill Schelly , and the Australian Golden Age book , whose title is slipping my mind at the moment .

    I also agree with you about writing on the covers or date stamps . I stay away from buying books like that . I don’t mind arrival stamps on back covers as much . remember , back in the day , if you got a book signed by the artist , he would sign inside the front cover . for this reason , I would never buy a graded signature book , it ruins the appearance of the book . other people love them , just not me . also , I ,too , don’t understand the grading companies that don’t take into account arrival marks or signatures on determining the grade . I’m old school , not quite your age , Bud , but , IMO , those would down grade the final grade for me .

    end of my sermon , as well , lol !

  5. I am with you on the grade thing… I seem to have always been a midgrade collector! As for DC… loved a bunch of their early books especially Mystery in Space, Flash, and Metal Men! I believe that Colan had a cover about the ugly duckling or something along those lines and he draws Ann Margret… hahaha! All outstanding splashes as usual Walt!

  6. Nice to see the positive response to these DC splash pages, there is some nice work done on these.

    The most important part for me with Silver Age books is their durability and page quality, even a VG+ is great if it has a glossy cover and crisp white pages, you can just tell when you leaf through it that it is durable and up to the challenge. I’ve had higher grade raws that were delicate and temperamental that I had to be careful with while leafing through.

  7. Maybe Senta Berger on the Young Love? ’60’s European sex icon, did some US films and TV. Debbie Reynolds or Hayley Mills for the other?

    Cool stuff, interesting art experimentation going on in the late ’60’s, like the JLA. And now I wants me some Sea Devils, very dynamic drawing.

    I’ve been drawn to some of the underdog 1960’s characters/comics and have a complete 2 issue runs of BEE-MAN, JIGSAW, PIRANA, the single issue hit of NEUTRO, looking for SPYMAN (3 run). Greatest comics in the world!? Probably not, but they’re much fun and not too expensive. I’m also liking ACG and Charlton comics and Tower’s THUNDER AGENTS. I’ll have to look again at their splashes.

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