A longtime favorite and a long-overdue spotlight…
I owe the late Irv Novick something of an apology, if that even makes sense.
See, it occurred to me the other day that of all the 13 COVERS tributes and galleries we’ve run over the last five and a half years — and there have been a ton — I’ve never once dedicated one to Novick.
That’s an egregious oversight that requires a bit of explanation and admitted excuse-making.
Novick was one of my favorite artists during my Bronze Age youth, particularly in the late ’70s and early ’80s: He was the main penciller for writer Len Wein’s wonderful run on Batman (click here for much more on that) and also collaborated with Marv Wolfman on the greatest Bat-story that’s never been collected — The Lazarus Affair (click here for a look at that underrated saga).
Thing is, he wasn’t a cover artist during this period, so I’ve never had an itch there to scratch, as far as the 13 COVERS feature is concerned.
His Bat-resume was substantially more than those issues, of course – and I’m not even addressing his years illustrating war comics and romance titles, or his much-loved run on The Flash.
Novick first popped up in Gotham City in the late ’60s, doing covers for Batman and Detective Comics, as well as interiors for the former. This was a funky period in the life of the Caped Crusader: The Adam West TV show was gone and Neal Adams was taking steps to bring Batman back to his dark roots in The Brave and the Bold.
But the main titles were an oddball mix of camp and straight storytelling and I’ve never really bothered to write much about this time, even though there’s some seriously rich material there.
Someday, I’ll dive back in but this also helps explain why I’ve never spotlighted Novick’s covers before. By the early ’70s, he was strictly interiors, though his overall Bat-bona fides were cemented, most notably by Batman #217, which featured Dick Grayson leaving for college — signaling the start of the Bronze Age. (Click here.)
The last reason I’ve never done a Novick gallery? It’s especially stupid, really. When I do 13 COVERS birthday celebrations, I utilize a website that publishes a nearly comprehensive list of comic-book birthdates. For whatever reason, Novick’s not on there. It has to be an oversight but since it’s never flagged, I miss it every year.
Now here’s the thing: I have looked it up in the past. Like an idiot, though, I’ve never made note of it, even though I vaguely recalled it might be in April.
So, when I thought of Novick the other day, I looked up his birthday and sure enough, I missed it again. For the record, he was born April 11, 1916, and died Oct. 15, 2004.
All of which is a long-winded and apologetic way of saying here are 13 COVERS by Irv Novick.
They’re kitschy and cool — and I should have done this a long time ago.
— How Six LEN WEIN BATMAN Comics Changed My Life. Click here.
— THE LAZARUS AFFAIR: The Best BATMAN Story Never Collected by DC. Click here.
Covers and credits from the underrated Grand Comics Database.