Top 30 Comics Covers on the Rack in December 1941, from 75 years ago this month.
The Human Torch 5(b) (Fall Quarterly)
It all starts with one of my all-time favorite Golden Age covers, from Alex Schomburg, The Human Torch 5b (this is the second #5 for the quarterly title, given that the title continued from the numbering of Red Raven Comics #1.)
This is the only cover in the character’s run that had a black crackle on the masthead with yellow and red highlighted title. I think the color combination really worked well, popping the title. Nearly all mastheads for Torch were red with either yellow or white title with red or black highlights.
The final touches are the amazing battlewagon Namor pilots and the fact that this is a massive full-length feature for one strip in a comic book and an amazing crossover at that. Young Allies #1 debuted in July with a Summer 1941 cover date as a 60-page story prior to the Human Torch epic.
Captain America 9
Sub-Mariner Comics 3 (Fall Quarterly)
Namor battles saboteurs as Winston Churchill christens another British warship. Alex Schomburg always has plenty going on in his cover work and this one is no different. In the bottom right, some of the crowd looks up at the battle while a cameraman shoots the launch from the far left. Another camera appears just off Namor’s left leg. I like the added touch of the lead spy’s socks having red stripes.
Marvel Mystery Comics 26
Namor rips the landing gear off a Luftwaffe fighter while a Torpedo cuts through the water towards a British warship. Meanwhile, the inset shows The Human Torch and Toro evading the fire of some bug-eyed aliens. The caption read “With a tremendous leap, the Sub-mariner tore the Nazi plane apart as the deadly submarine advanced!”
Mystic Comics no. 7
I love every cover for the twice resurrected Mystic Comics. Under the reincarnation for 1941, all-new characters exploded across the pages of issues 5-10. The most successful of this new wave was Stan Lee’s creation, the mighty Destroyer. In typical Marvel manner, each of these characters was so different from anything else on the market. It’s a shame that these characters didn’t get better talent and more time.
As for the cover, it’s Jack Kirby drawing the Destroyer facing off against demons and Hitler himself opening a modern-day Pandora’s Box. In the background, a bull-headed monstrosity with four arms and four daggers threatens our hero.
All-Winners (Fall Quarterly)
All-Winners second quarterly has the Human Torch, Captain America and the Sub-Mariner joined by the Destroyer, Bucky, Toro, and the Whizzer. I love the cascade of Marvel/Timely comics along the bottom right. Stan Lee wrote the Whizzer story and the text story that had the heroes teaming up.
Young Allies 2 (Winter Quarterly)
For some reason, Young Allies skipped a Fall issue and published this Winter issue on November 25th. This missed quarter in the schedule might have been because Jack Kirby and Joe Simon left for National/DC. USA Comics also had an irregular schedule for the first few issues, not having one on the stands this month.
The Blue Beetle 10
Captain Marvel Adventures 5
All Flash Quarterly 3
Hit Comics 18
Mystery Men 29
The original Blue Beetle lands a haymaker on a creepy medieval tunic-wearing goon on this Ramona Patenaude cover from Fox Feature Comics. Too bad neither the goons nor the damsel show up inside.
Whiz Comics 25
Worlds Finest 4
Action Comics 43
Adventure Comics 69
Flash Comics 24
Green Lantern 2
Police Comics 5
Detective Comics 58
Choice Comics 1
Daredevil Comics 6
A great Charles Biro cover has action, monsters, a beautiful damsel in distress and general weirdness. The wolf with a human brain wants human blood and Tonia thinks he’s an adorable stray! The Claw was a strange series (he’s in the inset on the right side).
Exciting Comics 15
With serviceable art by Elmer Wexler, The Black Terror puts the hurt on some fascists with the help of his sidekick, Tim, in Standard’s premier title. Seriously, his sidekick’s name was Tim. Sounds like something from Monty Python.
Jungle Comics 24
Fiction House had several amazing covers throughout their history, this one by Dan Zolnerowich. Though not highlighted on the cover, first female superhero Fantomah continues her run this issue, though the art has declined after Fletcher Hanks disappeared from the title he created.
Jumbo Comics 34
Fiction House presents another excellent cover by Dan Zolnerowich (though, to be honest, Sheena’s hair looks like she put too much styling gel in it this morning.) The panther is amazing.
Punch Comics 1
Dynamic Publications from Harry “A” Chesler Features launches a fistful of comics at the end of 1941. Previously, his shop provided work for Martin Goodman at Timely, providing the original lineup for Mystic Comics 1-4. Though the artwork is improved over what they provided in 1940 to pre-Marvel/Timely, the interior in Punch looks like the colorist was drunk.
Thrilling Comics 23
All-Star Comics 8
First appearance of Wonder Woman
Fight Comics 16
From Fiction House comes Fight Comics 16 with a cover image that flies off the page from Dan Zolnerowich, starring the Super-American.
Feature Comics 51
Prize Comics 17