Cover Treatment: To infinity…and BEYOND!

One of the books I’ll be talking about on this week’s podcast features a cover treatment of which I’ve grown very fond — a fourth wall-busting trend commonly known as the Infinity Cover. Although there are deviations to the rule, the Infinity Cover typically features a blurring of the boundary between art and life wherein the characters depicted on the cover of the printed periodical are featured clutching the very same magazine as the reader.

While some of the permutations of the cover images were drawn by hand, the Infinity Cover is largely the product of a nifty bit of old-school graphics technology called the stat camera. In days gone by, if one wanted to enlarge or reduce a piece of art, one made a beeline to the stat camera, a hefty chunk of then cutting-edge tech that needed an entire room in which to reside. To produce an Infinity Cover, the artist had to complete the entire cover drawing save the image on the “fake” cover of the magazine in the hands of the character, reduce the image in proportion to the “fake” cover and wax the photoprinted result in position. Depending on the number of permutations of “infinity” desired, multiple stats would have to be further reduced and pasted. You kids with your PhotoShop have no idea how good you have it. Get off my lawn.

What follows is a collection of the best and worst of the Infinity Cover. I’ve included the comic that inspired this whole mess. See if you can guess what it is.

Action Comics #500 – Pencils by Ross Andru, inks by Dick Giordano – Published by DC

Adventure Comics #475 – Pencils and inks by Brian Bolland – Published by DC

Animal Crackers #9 – Published by Norlen Magazines

Batman #8 – Pencils by Fred Ray, inks by Jerry Robinson – Published by DC

Batman #31 – Pencils and inks by Dick Sprang – Published by DC
(Okay, so I cheated a smidge with this one.)

Bongo Comics Free-for-All 2007 – Pencils by Bill Morrison, inks by Mike Rote – Published by Bongo

Boy Commandos #11 – Pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Joe Simon – Published by DC

Captain Marvel Jr. #37 – Cover by Bud Thompson – Published by Fawcett

Casper, the Friendly Ghost #24 – Published by Harvey
(I didn’t know Casper was Japanese…)

Comics Collector #8 – Summer, 1985 – Pencils and inks by Dick Giordano – Published by Krause

Cracked #48 – Cover by John Severin – Published by Major Publications

Fantastic Four #282 – Pencils and inks by John Byrne – Published by Marvel
(If Bats can cheat, so can the Fantastic Four…)

Fantastic Four (One-shot) – July, 2000 – Published by Marvel

Flash #179 – Pencils by Ross Andru, inks by Mike Esposito – Published by DC

FOOM #3 – Cover by Jim Steranko – Published by Marvel

Frisky Fables – Volume 3, #9 – Pencils and inks by Al Fago
(Like the Casper cover, this one is just plain lazy. Is there any reason Fago couldn’t have positioned the turkey to take advantage of how a real magazine cover works? Honestly, what would it have taken? It’s not like in doing so he’d be destroying a great design. As it stands, this one is a real…turkey.)

Ghosts #100 – Pencils by Rich Buckler, inks by Steve Mitchell – Published by DC

The Heap Volume 2 – Cover by Frank Brunner – Published by PS Artbooks

Carl Anderson’s Henry #20 – Published by Dell

Hot Stuff Big Book #1 – Published by Harvey

Jimmy Olsen #110 – Pencils by Curt Swan, inks by Neal Adams – Published by DC

Lunatic Binge #1 – Cover by Jack Davis – Published by Triad Publications
(I included the entire wraparound cover because whose day isn’t made better with extra Jack Davis?)

My Little Margie #8 – Published by Charlton
(As well as black-and-white line art, stat cameras could also produce halftone images.)

My Little Margie #9 – Pencils and inks by Chic Stone – Published by Charlton
(Now, this cover is just weird. The way she’s holding her comic at arm’s length, it’s almost as if Margie believes her own magazine will give her the cooties.)

Mighty Mouse #82 – Published by Pines

The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide #13 – Pencils by Don Newton, inks by Josef Rubinstein

Pogo Possum #10 – Pencils and inks by Walt Kelly – Published by Dell

Shazam #2 – Cover by C. C. Beck and Jack Adler – Published by DC
(File this one under What Were They Thinking? Look! A homunculus Captain Marvel!)

Shazam #6 – Cover by C. C. Beck and Jack Adler – Published by DC
(The Big Red Cheese babysits in hell…)

Sick – Volume 1, #3 – Published by Prize
(I would die a very happy man if I had a complete run of Sick.)

Simpsons Comics Extravaganza – Pencils by Steve Vance, inks by Bill Morrison – Published by Bongo

Simpsons Comics #4 – Pencils by Steve Vance, inks by Bill Morrison – Published by Bongo

Spoof #1 – Pencils, inks, and color by Marie Severin – Published by Marvel
(Can you name all the characters featured on the cover? If you can, you’re old like me.)

Strange Adventures #170 – Pencils by Dick Dillin, inks by Shelly Moldoff – Published by DC

Vampirella: Summer Nights – Cover by Art Adams – Published by Harris Comics/Dark Horse

Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories Volume 3, #9 – Cover by Carl Buettner – Published by Dell

Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories #518 – Pencils and inks by Daan Jippes – Published by Gladstone

Whiz Comics #91 – Cover by Pete Costanza – Published by Fawcett

What are some of your favorite Infinity Covers?

  • Monica

    Those are pretty cool.

  • David Price

    Frisky Fables is like a Jewish prayer book. Or mango.