An ANNIVERSARY tribute to one of the greatest Golden Age covers ever…
I may have mentioned this before but my all-time favorite Golden Age cover is Batman #11, by Fred Ray. It remains one of my few grail items and I tend to doubt I’ll get to the point where I can afford one.
But we can always look at it, right?
Since early childhood, I’ve appreciated the iconography of playing cards even though I know only a small handful of games. There’s something so exotic and mildly mysterious about the black and red colors and the simplistic suit designs. (I’m a clubs guy, if you must know.) I think it stems from my love of the TV game show Pay Cards — for which I had the play-at-home version — and, of course, the Joker.
I’m not alone in my appreciation for Batman #11, which happens to be the Joker’s first cover appearance and was released April 10, 1942. Artist John K. Snyder III some years back painted a stunning recreation of Ray’s cover; I saw it on the web recently, stopped in my tracks and fired off a note to John for the background.
Dig this bit of beautiful:
“I was asked to do a private commission of a cover re-creation of Batman #11, originally by Fred Ray,” John said. “This has been one of my all-time favorite Batman covers ever since I saw it the first time. While working on the commission, it made me appreciate even more Fred Ray’s sense of design and approach. He did some of the most iconic DC Comics covers of all time, and I find there’s almost a three-dimensional sense to his placement of figures and objects, masterfully integrating the comic title logos into the covers as well. A true inspiration!
“Some time after posting the finished commission, I was asked by Michael Solof at Geppi’s Entertainment Museum if a wall-sized enlargement of the re-creation could be used as part of their excellent 2017 Batman: The Dark Knight Through the Decades exhibit. What a thrill!” he added.
John’s not the only one who’s done wonderful work with this classic cover.
Dig this version by the late, great Murphy Anderson: