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PHOTOGRAPHY and COMIC BOOKS!

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Whiz #107
Whiz #112
Shazam #6

SUPER SNAP SHOTS IN 1949
SHAZAM! ... Photos Mix with Comics!

As far as I can tell, Whiz was the first comic book ever to mix photos with illustration on its covers. It began with Cap battling in front of the White House (March 1949), then continued with some kids reading Whiz comics, which was Cap's original Golden Age book from Fawcett. Decades later, the photo tradition was carried on in the Modern Age Shazam title from DC. with an "infinity cover" -- an endlessly repeating image, such as Cap reading a comic of Cap reading a comic etc. The early Whiz books were the innovative first efforts that would one day lead to the pinnacle of mixing photos and comic books.



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INTO THE PHOTOGRAPHY ZONE

Jack Kirby:
King of Photo-Montages!

Jack Kirby was King of the comics -- and he was also King of the black and white photo montages! He was the first to use full-page montages such as the one pictured left, from Fantastic Four, and also the first to use montages as backgrounds in daring two-page spreads (remember that great Negative Zone spread?). Kirby did these things FIRST, BETTER and also MORE OFTEN than anyone else! Read on, and you'll see more.


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FF #33
SUBBY #7
ASM #262

NUFF SAID
Marvel-ous Photographic Covers!

Namor flies though a great Kirby ocean-montage, then Subby continues flying until he reaches a black and white cityscape. Finally, someone takes a picture of Peter Parker in mid-change. The photographer must have had an accomplice, because we seem to be seeing a photo from another angle! This is the first comic cover ever to be ENTIRELY photographic, with no super-imposed illustrations at all! Go Spidey!


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SUPES AND THE CITY

Smile For
The Camera!

Hey! Here's Superman flying over another B&W cityscape. Is a trend emerging? The figure on the left, from Action Comics #419, is by Neal Adams and Murphy Anderson, the drawing on the right is Neal's own pencil and ink reworking of his classic cover.
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JO #138
JO #141
Superman #263

MORE SUPER SNAPSHOTS
Kirby Says: Don't Ask! Just Take The Picture!

Another Kirby-montage of madcap machinery. A mess of machines, with a few staircases thrown in. No unoriginal cityscapes for the King! Then, one of the greatest and whackiest covers ever printed, featuring Supes, the Guardian and ... Don Rickles?!?! Yes! This issue also had TWO of the greatest cover-blurbs ever written: (1) "Kirby says: 'Don't ask! Just buy it!' " and (2) "Rushing towards the greatest climax ever seen in comics!" And last, a molten Superman walks through (what else?) a cityscape -- black and white, except for a slightly colorized taxi cab and other cars.



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KRYPTON'S BROADWAY BABY
It's a Bird, It's a Plane,
It's Superman!

In 1966, Superman had his very own Broadway musical, complete with a Playbill mixing illustration and photography -- you guessed it, yet another B&W cityscape. The musical flopped, running only 129 performances. Oh well! Here's Jaime J. Weinman's review of the show from Amazon.com:

"It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Superman!" is one of those flop musicals that was just so, so, so close to being a hit. It had all the right ingredients: A very funny book (by Robert Benton and David Newman, who would hit it big the next year as screenwriters of "Bonnie and Clyde"), a tuneful score with at least one obvious hit ("You've Got Possibilities"), a fine cast, a distinctive production, and a rave review from the New York Times.
So what happened? Basically, the story was weak. The main plot hooks -- Superman doubting himself; Lois Lane considering marrying someone else -- weren't particularly interesting, and the show was dominated to an inordinate extent by characters who were really peripheral: Jack Cassidy as a Winchell-type columnist and Linda Lavin as his secretary. Maybe some of the show's problems were due to Harold Prince's relative inexperience as a director.

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MTU #129
A-MAN #26
Franklin Richards #1

FORGET UNSTABLE MOLECULES
Comic Books Discover ... COLOR PHOTOS!

It's true reader, after only a brief and fleeting half a decade, comics finally learned how to do more than just print superhero figures over black and white or colorized cityscapes. The result? The "Parker changing to Spidey" cover pictured several items above, plus: Spidey and Cap in full color, but in front of the now-mandatory B&W cityscape. Next is Animal Man's office (or is it Grant Morrison's living room?) in almost full color ... and Franklin Richards' neighborhood -- another cityscape, but, at last, the city is actually a real color photo, not colorized, and printed in full color! We have now reached the pinnacle of mixing photos and comic books. Get the picture, reader?

P.S. Let me know if I missed any good photo covers!

THE END

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