Sunday, April 19, 2015

When Is A Lying DC Cover NOT A Lying DC Cover?

This is the cover to Weird Western Tales #50 (1978):

Now, I don't have this issue. But according to prolific letter writer T.M. Maple (a.k.a. The Mad Maple, a.k.a. Jim Burke), in a letter printed in Weird Western Tales #56 (1979), this is a pretty inaccurate cover:

Well, picky, picky picky.

What follows is the response from editor Mike W. Barr:

"The scene could have happened, had the story gone differently" is an interesting justification. I mean, at least it is an actual rule, with actual standards, which is more than DC had for many a year.

Still, it does seem ridiculously broad, doesn't it? Given the wonkiness of the DC Universe, literally anything "could have happened" in a given situation. With sufficient imagination, almost any cover could satisfy the rule.

And if a rule allows you to run a cover that is 180 degrees from actually happens in the story, it's pretty hard to say you're not running misleading covers.

For example, instead of this cover...

 ...the rule says that DC could have run this cover for Crisis On Infinite Earths #6:

I mean, Supergirl could have beaten the Anti-Monitor and survived (she almost did). And that would have been the greatest thing that ever happened to her, right?

So you buy the comic with that second cover, and Kara dies tragically but heroically on the inside...and the MWB rule would say that the cover is NOT misleading. When, in fact, it would be terrifically misleading (not to mention depriving us of 30 years of homage covers).

So, sorry, DC, that rule don't hunt. Misleading is misleading, even if "could have happened" is your rule.

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