The previously discussed comic, Star Spangled War Stories #126, wasn’t just the first to feature a medal-winning gorilla sergeant, oh no. It was also one of the first to feature DC’s latest secret weapon in the sales war with the upstart company from over the road. Whereas Stan Lee’s approach was to try to appeal to the largely untapped teenage and college audience with stories set in a recognisable city, DC decided the future of comics was checkered. While events ultimately proved them right on that score, it wasn’t in the way they intended.

Pop Art was proving a popular (see what they did there?) fad, and the opinions of the likes of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein (curse his name every time you speak it) were being regularly sought on various topics, so DC embraced the movement and… added Go-Go Checks to the top of all its comics. Hmmm. Now, while this certainly made the line stand out from the competition — you could tell a DC comic from a mile off — it’s perhaps not the most aesthetically pleasing design. I don’t know what would’ve been: I’m sure a Campbell’s Soup can on every cover would’ve done the trick, but I daresay there might’ve been trademark problems.

DC must’ve felt they were doing something right however, as they were more than happy to trumpet:

This odd little dead end in comics evolution went on for just over a year before disappearing forever. So it was probably not the sales winner the publisher hoped for.

Mind you, even over at Marvel, Stan Lee wasn’t immune to the lure of the new art fad. For a few months in late-1965 Marvel Comics were adorned with a “Pop Art” logo just below the cover corner block.

©2010 DC Comics