Friends, have you possibly looked out the window of your office or home and seen the large spotlight that is shining across the early morning skies? If you are a resident of Gotham City that means you are probably once again in danger… seriously, why do you stay in that place when you could move to Metropolis? For the rest of us though – that signal means that once again it is time to for the Super Blog Team-Up – when the finest collection of bloggers and podcasters on the internet unite to tackle a subject matter too large to cover on a single site. In this case the subject matter happens to be the Chromium age of comic books or the era of excess – when many books were produced by the likes of DC, Marvel, and Image that might feature a gimmick to help sell a book. Or at the very least let the reader know that it was a FIRST ISSUE SPECTACULAR or proudly announcing a new book was from a team that killed one of your beloved superheroes!
For my entry in this latest Super Blog Team-Up – I have decided to focus on some of the positive aspects of the Chromium age of comics – namely a few of the more awesome glow in the dark covers that were produced. I think that I became enamored by toys and posters that glowed in the dark when in my youth I was able to obtain a poster featuring the Universal Monster The Wolf Man from a box of Sugar Crisps. I promptly had it placed on the inside of the door to my bedroom… not knowing it glowed in the dark – imagine my ‘delight’ when I woke up to find a rampaging image of the Wolf man looking back at me.
So to get this look at a few of my favorite glow in the dark comic book covers offered up in the Chromium age started let’s begin with Marvel Comics Ghost Rider #15 – Volume three of the comic series and featuring an eye-catching illustration by Mark Texeira. A nice option of bagging and boarding every comic you got back in the day – besides saving them of course – was that if you let a bit of the plastic bag stick up you could use a tack and hang them on your wall as art. Which is absolutely what I did with this issue, which was originally published in July of 1991 – in fact it stayed on that wall for nearly 15 years. This was when Ghost Rider’s host was a young man named Daniel Ketch – a character who was possibly my favorite of the Riders – more so than even the more widely known character of Johnny Blaze. As you can see for yourself from the cover, when you killed the lights the Rider’s skull flame would glow brightly!
We are going to stick with 1991 with our next glow in the dark cover, this one is courtesy of Dave McKean for The Sandman Special which was released in November – featuring a story obviously written by Neil Gaiman entitled The Song of Orpheus. I have a great deal of love for the Golden Age character of The Sandman – the gas mask wearing detective named Wesley Dodds. Much of this had to do with the exceptional Vertigo series known as Sandman Mystery Theatre which began in ’93 – the character as was revealed throughout the series and one special had a connection of sorts to Neil Gaiman’s character of Dream of the Endless.
In fact that is who appears with a flip of the light switch – Dream or as he is known by his Family and a handful of others – Morpheus. However with this glow in the dark cover, artist extraordinaire Dave McKean included a message that reads:
“In dreams I walk with U.”
Next up is another DC Comics offering, The Spectre #8 – the third volume of that supernatural agent of vengeance that was originally released in July of ’93 in a story entitled Righteous Anger. Ghost Rider and the Spectre… are you seeing a pattern here of what kind of characters I like – characters that act as supernatural retribution?
In the case of this glow in the dark cover by Tom Mandrake thing are rather ominous once you have doused the lights in your room – to be honest The Spectre series featured a few comic book covers that glowed in the dark.
As I mentioned in the Starman episode of the Pop Culture Retrorama podcast – I quite enjoy the cast of characters of the early DC Comics – like the Sandman or the Spectre who in particular were featured in the pages of the Justice Society of America and the likes of the All-Star Squadron.
Our next glow in the dark comic cover is courtesy of Marvel Comics and artist Scott McDaniel with Daredevil #321 – the second chapter in the Fall From Grace storyline. This issue which featured a story called Transgression was produced in both a normal version as well as the glow in the dark one – in fact it is a wraparound cover. In addition this issue featured the protector of Hell’s Kitchen sporting a new costume – one that featured a bit of armor. The nice thing about the cover… besides the more standard suit… is that the glow in the dark aspect worked like you were seeing Daredevil’s radar sense.
Closing out my entry in the Super Blog Team-Up for this go around we are taking a look at another DC Comics offering – 1994’s Green Lantern #50 – the third and final part of the Emerald Twilight. In this rather bleak story entitled The Future we witness the destruction of the Guardians of the Universe on Oa as well as Kilowog, Sinestro (not really), and even the obliteration of Green Lantern Central Power Battery. All at the hands of one of the greatest members of the Green Lantern Corps – Hal Jordan – driven mad by the grief from the destruction of his home of Coast City at the hands of Mongul – including the seven million citizens that inhabited the city at the time. Although we would later learn that Hal’s actions were not exactly his own as he had become infected by a demonic parasite known as Parallax.
I am quite fond of the Green Lantern Corps – I actually have a collection of Green Lantern rings that I have acquired over the years. While Green Lantern #50 might not be the most uplifting to read – it does end with another taking on the mantle of Green Lantern, Kyle Raner.
And there you have it, friends – a quick look at the glow in the dark covers once could find on the shelf during the Chromium age of comic books. This is far from the last look at that time however as you will see if you kindly follow the links to my fellow members of the Super Blog Team-Up below – some links will go live earlier than others!
Super-Hero Satellite: 70s-80s Photo Covers. A snapshot of pre 90s era of gimmicks, the evolution of a trend through the years.
Chris is on Infinite Earths (Blog): Adventures of Superman #500 (White Bag/Lenticular Cover/etc.)
Chris is on Infinite Earths (Podcast): Episode 33: Team Titans #1 (1992) Five Variant Covers… and five variant stories!
Comic Reviews by Walt: The ’90s Revisited: Shiny Covers
Source material: Spider-Man Torment (issues 1-5) by Todd McFarlane
ComicsComicsComics.blog: Daredevil 319-325 Fall from Grace – Gimmick covers and a new costume
The Telltale Mind: Worlds Collide – The Intercompany Crossover
Between The Pages: Guerilla Marketing
DC In The 80s: Justin’s 5 most memorable DC “gimmicks” Covers + Mark’s most memorable DC comic cover “gimmicks”
Comics In The Golden Age: Fawcett’s Mighty Midget comics.
Unspoken Issues: Darkhawk #25
Dave’s Comic Heroes Blog: Connected Covers gimmicks – New Teen Titans 37/Batman and the Outsiders 5
When It Was Cool: Polybag It! The Blight of the Polybagged Comic Book
In My Not So Humble Opinion: It Came From the 1990s: Force Works #1 Pop-Up Cover
Black & White and Bronze Comics Blog: Spectacular Spider-Man Magazine 1968. Stan Lee’s foray into the magazine format.