Friday, September 8, 2017

The Grooviest Covers of All Time: DC Special Series

Check it out, Groove-ophiles! Early in Jenette Kahn's tenure as publisher of DC Comics, she began experimenting with new formats and new ways to publish comics. One of her truly wonderful products was DC Special Series--a blanket title (seen only in the indicia!) for some exceptional comics that acted as tryouts, reprint mags, annuals, and/or specials. We got 52 page comics, 68 page comics, tabloid comics, digest comics... We got super-length stories featuring Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Jonah Hex, Sgt. Rock and more. Some issues reprinted Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson's original Swamp Thing issues. Some were loaded with short mystery stories. The first issue was a try-out to see if a Dollar Comic that showcased JLA members besides Superman would be a success. One of the best issues  gave us three very different but very far out versions of Batman. And the covers! The covers by the likes of Neal Adams, Bernie Wrightson, Joe Kubert, Jim Aparo, Marshall Rogers, Jim Starlin, and (the cover king of this series that wasn't a series) J. L. Garcia-Lopez, and more! Which issues did you have? Which were your faves? Which issues had the coolest covers? Hmmmm?


  1. Wow. I have all of these comics, except for three. It felt like a second (or third?) Golden Age to me, especially in the level of artwork all around!

  2. I remember buying/reading most of these - loved the format because you got good stories without worrying about the "continuity" of the monthly mags.

    Would you be able to post the full wrap-around covers for the two Swamp Thing issues sometime? Beautiful in their full glory!

  3. We still have "Secrets of the Haunted House Special)... a childhood favorite...!!

  4. Love to know how "House of Mystery" is on a superhero quest in that last book . . .

    Also: Is it me, or are Luthor and Braniac standing really strangely on that Superman cover?

    1. Consider the House of Mystery mystery solved, William!

  5. How could a kid not want any and all of these? The ones with JLGL covers especially called out to me.

  6. The Five Star Super-Hero Spectacular remains a personal favorite of mine, beginning with its Neal Adams cover and culminating in the Nasser/Rubinstein Batman/Kobra story. Also DC wisely repackaged Swamp Thing in gorgeous wraparound covers that compelled readers like me who already had the originals to buy the reprints. Same with the Secrets of the Sinister House Special. Who could resist that Starlin cover? And it goes without saying that the Batman Spectacular was one of the best collections of Bat-art ever: Nasser/Rubinstein again, Golden/Giordano and a great text story illustrated by the inimitable Marshall Rogers. Although I was firmly ensconced in my Marvel buying habits by then, comics like these kept bringing me back to DC.



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