I’m seeing red for St. Valentine’s Day. No, I’m not upset. I’m actually pretty happy (and madly in love). What I mean is that when I walk into a drug store or a department store, there’s a lot of red driving their Valentine marketing messages. And when I walk into Wal-Mart to grab those DC 100 Page Super Spectaculars (they are pretty good!), it’s especially overwhelming.
But maybe I should just go with it. In fact, upon reflection, I’ve always loved the many Silver Age covers that sport red backgrounds. I know that the legendary DC editor Julie Schwartz always thought purple covers (especially featuring gorillas) sold more comics, but I have to believe that someone back in the 60s felt the same way about red covers.
My copy of Detective Comics #358 shows Batman battling the Spellbinder. This villain’s costume may look like a designer from 1968 burped up every graphic cliché of the time, but as a young reader I thought it was wonderful. And when the fight scene was set against a red cover – zowie!
I’m particularly proud of the issue I own; it was editor’s Jack Schiff’s file copy. For a deeper dive, check this past column.
Likewise, Detective Comics #354, from just four months before, spotlighting Batman right before he gets beaten up by a bunch of criminals. That red background elevates an ordinary cover to one that really grabs your attention.
And even this Batman Signet paperback from 1966 gets in on the act with an arrest-me-red cover.
But it’s not all about the Caped Crusader. How can anyone not love this Balloon Buster cover from All American Men of War #xx. Well, ok, sure – I concede that the Joe Kubert illustration just might have a little bit to do with it.
I admit it. Red comic covers are my thing. But that’s just me. I hope you stick to roses and chocolate for St. Valentine’s Day.