13 COVERS: Spotlight on DETECTIVE COMICS in the ’60s

About that Detective Comics #1000 variant…

In case you didn’t catch it the other day, DC Comics released its decade-by-decade variant covers for Detective Comics #1000, due in March (click here). Each cover is meant to be a tribute to Batman from the 1930s to today: Steve Rude has the ’30s, Bruce Timm did the ’40s, and so on.

The covers were generally well received, but one stood out among fans — the 1960s cover, by Jim Steranko:

It’s a perfectly fine piece but a lot of people — myself included — were disappointed that the imagery didn’t evoke the go-go ’60s. Instead, it appears that DC used it for the era because Steranko was one of the period’s biggest stars — even though he was working for Marvel at the time.

This is hardly a scandal, but I’d love to see what Mike Allred, for just example, would have done instead, given his wonderful ’60s Action Comics #1000 cover from earlier this year:

Doc Shaner and Nick Derington are two other modern artists who would have been excellent choices. Another one, Michael Cho, turned in the ’50s cover — my favorite of the bunch released Tuesday:

Of course, there’s also Neal Adams, who broke onto the scene in the ’60s but who is probably better known on the Batman front for his work in the ’70s (his Brave and the Bold issues notwithstanding). Either way, Adams wasn’t included in the decade variants, though he did have a retailer-specific Action #1000 cover, so perhaps we’ll see the same thing this time around.

And then there’s Joe Giella, the ’60s inker who is the oldest living Batman artist, who was just pressed into service for this upcoming Archie Meets Batman ’66 #6 variant, with Vincent Lovallo:

But so be it.

Anyway, I didn’t want to let this pass without paying tribute to Detective Comics as it actually was in the 1960s, particularly after 1964’s New Look. (Cho’s piece captures those earlier ’60s covers in his ’50s piece.)

So, dig these 13 COVERS. I could have selected covers only by Carmine Infantino, since he defined the New Look house style. Instead, I decided to vary it by showing off a number of different artists.

This isn’t meant to be a definitive list by any stretch. In fact, I’ve left some really prominent ones out for the sake of variety and because I wanted to make sure Batman was largely central to each image — hence why the historic Detective Comics #359, featuring Batgirl’s debut, is missing.

But, as always, feel free to list your own in the comments below or in whichever social media thread you found this.

Groovy:

Carmine Infantino pencils, Joe Giella inks

Infantino and Giella

Infantino and Giella

Irv Novick

Gil Kane pencils, Anderson inks

Novick

Infantino and Giella

Novick

Joe Kubert

Carmine Infantino pencils, Murphy Anderson inks

Neal Adams

Infantino and Giella

Novick

MORE

— Dig These DETECTIVE COMICS #1000 Variant Covers. Click here.

— CARMINE INFANTINO’s 13 Greatest BATMAN Covers — RANKED. Click here.

Cover images and credits from the go-go Grand Comics Database.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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4 Comments

  1. Man, thanks for this Dan! I love Love, LOVE Batman from the 60’s and was super disappointed to see the variant. It’s fine as a piece but just doesn’t capture the era at all. It’s nice to be reminded why I love this period so much.

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    • Thanks! That was exactly my point, yes. The piece is perfectly fine — just not emblematic of such a rich period in Batman’s history. I really felt compelled to do this one because that’s one of my favorite eras and I didn’t want it to get short shrift. So I just figured I’d do my small part.

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  2. A fond look back to a more innocent time when Robin was still relevant to the Batman mythos. A great trip down memory lane.

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