DC COMICS, 1963: Oh, What a Year!

13 GROOVY COVERS from a great year in the Silver Age… (aren’t they all?)

You know how we have BRONZE AGE BONANZA where we rank the TOP 13 COVERS from a particular month, 50 years before? Our latest is THE TOP 13 COVERS OF APRIL 1972, and you can check it out here. (It’s an especially strong one, I gotta say!)

Anyway, what we have here is a kinda-sorta, unofficial offshoot — SILVER AGE SMORGASBORD. See, guest columnist Peter Bosch, who entertained you recently with 13 GROOVY TELEVISION COMIC BOOKS OF THE 1960s and 13 GROOVY TELEVISION COMIC BOOKS OF THE 1970s had an itch he wanted to scratch: 13 OF MY FAVORITE DC COMICS COVERS FROM 1963.

I so enjoyed his other two columns, I said “hecks yeah” and so here we are. By the by, Peter’s got a groovy new book out from TwoMorrows: American TV Comic Books: 1940s-1980s. It’s terrific.



I bought my first DC comic books – my first comic books ever! – in approximately March or April of 1963, though the cover dates of most were the standard three months later. DC had all these great costumed characters! These were – and are – fond memories for me, and these are 13 of the DC covers that make me smile the most:

The Flash #137 (June 1963). A great cover by Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson showing the Flash from the two Earths, and inside it had the revival of the Justice Society of America. I loved seeing so many heroes at once!

Batman #156 (June 1963). While this has become an iconic cover since then, at the time it was a heck of a thing to see for what was likely my first Batman comic book. A great cover by Shelly Moldoff with Charles Paris inking.

Adventure Comics #309 (June 1963). The first Superboy comic I remember seeing on the spinner rack. And though the young Clark Kent is on the cover with a fake Superboy (but not everything is as it seems), the Legion of Super-Heroes had pretty much taken over the comic book and this Boy of Steel story was relegated to the back of the issue — though even here a member of the Legion worked his way onto the cover (you would have to read the story to find out who it is). This was one of those overly-elaborate-plans-to-fool-a-crook stories that Superman was also going through in those Mort Weisinger-edited years.

Curt Swan pencils, George Klein inks

Action Comics #301 (June 1963). A theme that would be used later, Superman accused of murder, except this time it was of Clark Kent. This was another elaborate Weisinger-edited ruse to bring out a bad guy.

Swan and Klein

Detective Comics #316 (June 1963). I guess I started buying Batman comics when he was going through the weird stories phase. (Don’t even get me started on Batman and Robin as crime-fighting mummies, or as exhibits in an alien zoo, or Batman as a genie.) And this was one of those tales.

Sheldon Moldoff

Superman’s Girl Friend, Lois Lane #42 (July 1963). Lois and Superman are under the effects of a rejuvenation spray that makes them continuously younger and, through a deranged scheme of hers, she blackmails him into going to a Justice of the Peace to be married, but they are underage now and can’t be wed. The look of outrage on Lois’ face and her body movements make me laugh to this day.

Kurt Schaffenberger

Adventure Comics #310 (July 1963). Hey, I was a kid. I loved goofy comics! And Superboy certainly went through a period of goofiness, such as another issue where Pa Kent’s car went flying and came alive to yell at Superboy for ripping off its bumper (Adventure Comics #306, Mar. 1963).

Swan and Klein

Batman Annual #5 (Summer 1963). This one I remember finding in the nickel-priced used comics section of a store my Dad and I used to visit on Sundays when we went for a drive. It might have cost a dime because it had been a 25-center, but it was worth it. So many great older stories.

Moldoff, Dick Sprang, Charles Paris, Stan Kaye

Superman’s Girl Friend, Lois Lane Annual #2 (Summer 1963). It was the summer of DC annuals and what a treat they were. This one had a terrific Kurt Schaffenberger cover featuring highlights of stories that made you want to read right away.

Wonder Woman #140 (Aug. 1963). One of those wonderful covers by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito for Wonder Woman. What are Wonder Girl and Wonder Tot doing on the cover when they were just younger versions of WW? Hey, don’t go starting trouble with facts! Oh, OK, DC got out of this decades later by saying this took place on Earth 124.1.

Justice League of America #21 (Aug. 1963). Ah, sweet heaven! Not only one group of DC superheroes, the JLA, but also the first teaming with the revived Justice Society of America. This was the first of a two-issue story, and it was also the first “Crisis” comic.

Mike Sekowsky pencils, Murphy Anderson inks

Superman Annual #7 (Summer 1963). Possibly my favorite “Superman” comic of all. His silver anniversary, with a cover drawn by Curt Swan, the Superman artist (and imitated by John Byrne for the golden anniversary 25 years later). Swan signed this for me when I had the chance to finally meet him at the Superman Convention in Cleveland in 1988.

World’s Finest #136 (Sept. 1963). A change-of-pace story where no one has ever heard of Batman, where Robin is Superman’s partner and Superman’s secret identity is Bruce Wayne, the Joker is not a villain, and Lois Lane says she is Vicki Vale.

Dick Dillin pencils, Moldoff inks


— 13 Groovy TELEVISION COMIC BOOKS of the 1960s. Click here.

— 13 Groovy TELEVISION COMIC BOOKS of the 1970s. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. That Lois Lane #42 cover is gorgeous! Schaffenberger is another artist I didn’t appreciate on first exposure… but what do kids know, right?

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    • These books, especially the Superman and Batman Annuals, made one 11-year old kids imagination expand–immeasurably! They are Silver Age holy grail to me.

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  2. Tony Cipriani just made that Superman statue! Great memories here of some of the first comics I saw

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  3. One thing I meant to mention in my commentary was that I truly loved the clean backgrounds of most of the covers in the above. It was simple but lovely. It is the reason I don’t care for some of the overly-drawn covers of today.

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    • I’m with you on that. I love the clean backgrounds and also the bold colors and lack of segmented or armor-like costumes.

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  4. That Lois Lane cover is hilarious.

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  5. 1963 is the year I first got interested in comic books and now I’m 65 years old and still enjoy them.

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  6. 13 great examples of what’s been missing from DC Comics for years: F-U-N!

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  7. I feel like I just stepped into the Sher drugstore in my hometown. So many memories including the moment I instantly fell in love with the Justice Society(at a Woolworth’s no less.) Interesting to note that Superboy was still cover featured on Adventure Comics that summer. Working off memory, it seems like just a few issues later the Legion took over the covers although Superboy was always cover featured. Adventure 312 still remains one of my treasured child hood memories.

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  8. Another fav is the cover of Flash #135 (“Secret of the 3 Super-Weapons!”) from March 1963. Nothing says prime DC Silver Age like the Carmine Infantino / Murphy Anderson artistic team on Flash, Mystery in Space and a bunch of other covers.

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  9. Dr. Double X from DETECTIVE COMICS #161 is one my favorite C-List Batman villains.
    I was thrilled that he finally got pants in World’s Finest Comics #276.
    Also had an excellent appearance on BATMAN: THE BRAVE & THE BOLD. “A Bat Divided”.

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  10. No cover price could have been more appropriate for the Silver Anniversary Superman than 25 cents!

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