Friday, January 27, 2012

The Grooviest Covers of All Time: Gil Kane: "Inside the Box"

In late 1971-early 1973, Marvel Comics experimented quite a bit with their cover format. They changed their trade dress, updated many logos, and placed the cover art inside a box to separate the illustration from the copy. I s'pose they were trying to look modern, maybe even magazine-like. "The Box" was quite a controversial feature, and eventually faded away. Ol' Groove thought it might be cool to take a look at how the man who would become Marvel's go-to cover artist, Gil Kane, handled "The Box", so I dug up a dozen of my all-time faves. Did "The Box" help or hamper Gil in his quest to create eye-grabbing cover-art? Let your opinions be known! Okay?











19 comments:

  1. I was never a big fan of The Box but Kane handled it well enough. I got used to the appearance after a while but was also glad to see it go later.

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  2. Kane and Severin...
    What a great combination!
    Did they ever do any interior work together.

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    1. I know they did more covers (and I'll eventually get 'em up here); I'll have to dig to see about interiors...

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  3. AWESOME! Man Gil Kane did so many gorgeous covers. It's immpossible to pick a favorite! I'd have to pick a top 20 & count them down! Hey why not do a fan poll here of favorite Kane, Kirby, John Buscema, Sal Buscema & John Romita SR covers. I think some of my favorite Kane covers were his Marvel Premiere #1, #2, Warlock covers. As well as his Sub-Mariner & DD covers. You need to add a new rating too Groovy One call it "Totally Awesome!"

    Do u have anything lined up for the Super Bowl this year? My Packers crumbled & shocked everyone! The agony of defeat! NNNNooooo!!! But in all fairnes our defense needs ALOT of help! But like Ahnuld! We'll be BACK!!

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    1. I'm planning on doing a post on ads, Mike, since the Superbowl is famed for it's great commercials. Whaddya think?

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  4. Great covers like these used to define the House of Ideas, now the only place you can find quality like this is in the back issue bins. Way to go, Disney/Marvel!

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    1. And pretty much everyone else, for that matter, Chuck!

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  5. I still have a 70's catalog with dozens of Kane box covers for sale at $35-$60! I never bought any because I hated the box design. That turned out to be a great decision, didn't it? LOL Gil did some absolutely brilliant work within those four walls.

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    1. I remember hating the whole "new look" when it started, too, Joe. I hadn't been a Marvellite for all that long, and now they were changing things on me. Still I persevered. So I've got all the old comics you might've missed, but you've had the far-out career, lol. Need any more lemons squeezed to lemonade? ;D

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  6. I've read five of these comics and I know they're mostly clunkers but God, those covers are amazing! Every hero is lithe and dynamic, even that small Falcon figure. The characters are in motion and the cover copy dramatic without being tongue-in-cheek.

    I really like The Box expecially when it's a complimentary colour; the red and blue covers really "pop".

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    1. Actually, imo, there are only a few clunkers in there. And I swear, I get more entertainment out of those clunkers than most anything out there today...

      You're right about the bright colors around the boxes. The black kind of sits there, but the colors--even the whites--do jump at you!

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  7. The box covers happened alongside the 20 cent price increase.

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  8. I'd never consciously realized covers with the 'The box'
    I don't mind the design feature for a change of pace.
    Gil Kane - really can the man be hampered?

    The box did create a subtle 3-D effect, huh!
    Looking at the Ka-zar cover makes me realize the box was something the artist could work within and around. Correct?

    Thanks for posting these groovy covers, GA!

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  9. Exactamundo on the 3-D effect of the box! The Spidey and Captain Marvel covers, especially! Marv rising out of Rick, out of the box, and in front of the logo--wowzers!

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  10. I have always loved the bordered covers!

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  11. I think sometimes the box works really well. Mostly, however, in my opinion, it seems to hamper the image or distract from it. Over all I prefer groovy age covers without the box, but sometimes it's nice to mix it up a little and have something different. And of course, anything of that period by Gil Kane will do very nicely nicely thank-you.

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  12. I have to admit that I have always hated the cover box/bordered covers. Several of those depicted here came out while I was still buying comics, and contributed to my growing dislike/dissastisfaction with Marvel comics in general. But a few do work. I recall Spidey vs Gog, and the Inhumans in Amazing Adventures 10(UGH!) Iron Man works, as does Cap and Batroc. But you've missed the Marvel Team-Up with Spidey and Torch vs Sandman that sucked. Anybody know just when the bordered covers went away, and who's decision this was? It was too little, too late for me... and others.

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  13. I hated the box at the time but nowadays it makes me swoon with nostalgia. I think it suited Gil Kane particularly well because it trimmed out the negative space and/or lack of detail which characterise some of his full-page covers. And that's not a criticism of Kane, who's one of my top 5 fave artists.

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