Saturday, November 19, 2011

Comic Cover Comparison: This dime store spinner rack ain't big enough for the two of us!

Today's Covers are politely provided by "Bully Says: Comics Should Be Fun!"

 Rawhide Kid #52 (January 1982) art by Larry Lieber
 Mighty Marvel Western #8 (May 1970) art by Herb Trimpe

Last Week I talked about how crowded the "Uncanny" cover was because of the banner ad. Here both of these issues suffer from the same sin of overuse of crowding text boxes to generate exposition and excitement.

Its pretty evident the Larry Lieber knew he had to make room for the logo and such for Rawhide, but the text on the cover for Mighty Marvel really hampers the threat. The box on the right hand side in particular obscuring the fact that kid is on the edge of a cliff, something I didn't notice until a second glance. Though, that may have been because the supposedly distant ground looks like its on a hinged wall moving towards the viewer like that that city in "Inception".

Lets look at the actual fights in both covers. Rawhide has a fairly standard brawl with some anonymous goons. Kid's pose is pretty stiff and his face hardly registers an emotion. The mood of the fight seems rather care free. He may be restraint but he doesn't appear to be at risk, easily knocking out an opponent in one punch. The whole fight is seen from a distance. I feel like this is inspired by a fight you might see on a TV Western in the day, were you see all the action and the square jaw clean shaven hero is never in any real danger.

Plus there's that guy off to the side holding onto his hat. What with the way he's cowering away with his hands on his head and can't help but think hes an ancestor of that guy who runs away from the car that Superman crashes on the cover of Action Comics #1. The fact that you can't see his face certainly aids my imagination in this regard.

A Legacy of Cowardice!

The room shows evidence of a struggle even if the characters themselves don't seem much worse for ware. This leads me to wonder what had happened to start this brawl and how long it had been going on. Plus the first thing the eye goes to on this cover is the highest thing on the left hand side, which is that girl with the rifle. Who is she, and just how much ass is she about to kick? Those questions that are churning in my head that would get me to pick up this book. Plus she's wearing a really tight shirt. Call me shallow, but some days thats all it takes.

The showdown on Mighty Marvel has a potential fall, the angle is from overhead emphasizing hopelessness with a crowd of gunslingers from all sides. Dangerous types like Patch Goatee and Mustache McCormick. All evil people have facial hair, its a well known fact.

Its a tense set up with Kid almost out of ammo. His pose here is much better, turning around lightning fast with gritted teeth to attack his enemies and losing his hat in the process. The "Murderous Rustlers" also display some dynamic dodging. Unfortunately, both parties appear to have been taught how to aim at the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy because neither of them can hit the broad side of a barn, so the fight doesn't come off as exciting as it probably should be.

So yeah, both coves have strengths and weakness, but which one is the best? While Mighty Marvel arguably has more at risk because its a gunfight in close quarters, the risk is defused when you see bullets firing, but no one getting hit. For my money, I'd go with Rawhide. This fight shows enemies being hit, Kid being attacked from three different sides and his opponents continue coming no matter how many knockouts he may delivers. Bonus points for mystery girl with the gun. Bottom line, Rawhide just feels more exciting and has more going on.

Winner: Rawhide Kid #52!

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