Don Newton’s DETECTIVE COMICS #526 Cover: Forever an Electrifying Masterpiece

A different kind of birthday tribute…

If you’re a 13th Dimension regular, you almost certainly know that we dig running 13 COVERS birthday galleries for top-flight artists.

The late Don Newton — who was born Nov. 12, 1934, and died far too young in 1984 at the age of 49 — is one of those artists.

Thing is, Newton wasn’t a terribly prolific cover artist, all things considered. He did his share but I’d really prefer not to repeat what we’ve done in the past.

Instead, in this particular case, I’d like to highlight just one cover — but oh, what a cover it is:

The front of 1983’s Detective Comics #526 is a stone-cold masterpiece — a dazzling image that stands as one of the era’s best and one of the greatest anniversary covers of all time.

The issue itself is notable for Jason Todd’s first appearance in a costume — click here for much more on that — in a crackling yarn by Gerry Conway, Newton and inker Alfredo Alcala, featuring just about every villain who’s ever crossed the Caped Crusader.

But that cover — that cover.

Newton frames our heroic triumvirate in the center — Batman, Robin and Batgirl — ready for action, set on a circle of gold. It’s a fine image but what really sells the cover is the bold red background — with dozens of faces both friendly and fearsome displayed in white-lined negative. (Dick Giordano was the inker. Anthony Tollin, according to the Grand Comics Database, was the colorist and rarely was he better.)

The classic Detective Comics logo — along with DC’s of-the-moment Anniversary banner — gives the package an almost regal bearing.

The result is electrifying — and you can’t help but wish that Newton were given more covers to do by the DC editors. And, of course, that he lived a much longer life.

Because in this shining moment, Don Newton proved that he wasn’t just a first-rate artist.

He proved that under the right circumstances, he was among the very best.


— 13 COVERS: A DON NEWTON Birthday Celebration. Click here.

— The Greatest ROBIN Outfit That Never Was. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Well said, Dan. When I picked this up from the comic rack in Eastside Pharmacy, I knew I held something special in my hands. I remember trying to name every character on the cover, and there were a few I couldn’t (Getaway Genius and Captain Stingaree)!

    But the cover, the design…we’re used to these “poster” style covers now, but they were very rare in the Silver and Bronze Age, where plot was king. Newton was one of my artistic heroes, and this was him at his very best, in my opinion.

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  2. What a truly magnificent cover the late Mr. Newton did for “Detective Comics.”

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  3. Don Newton is my All-Time Favorite Batman artist.
    AGREE! Great Cover.
    Also love Don’s cover to Batman #374.
    In an era where Batgirl art was bland, No one draw Batgirl better then Don.
    Sexy and Powerful.

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