World's Finest #235

World’s Finest #235, January 1976

Superman loses his head?! Surely this must take some kind of award for being one of the silliest covers of the 1970s. Ernie Chan was the man what done it, though I suspect it’s editor Murray Boltinoff that ultimately deserves the blame.

Now, while this throat-parting moment does actually happen in the comic, it’s a gross misrepresentation. Bob Haney’s story opens with a three-panel splash that depicts a flying Superman being grabbed by a giant hand before his head falls off—with a Gwen Stacy-like “Snap!”. So far, so good. However, on the second page, the camera pulls out to reveal Morgan Edge holding the now-headless Superman doll. “Ha! Ha! This toy Superman … isn’t as strong as the real Man of Tomorrow!” It seems that the doll was just to add a touch of veracity to the scale model of the proposed New Metropolis that Edge plans to build. And that’s it. The rest of the story—some nonsense about a stage mind-reader uncovering Clark Kent’s secret—unfolds with never so much as a glance back to that admittedly startling cover image.

A bit of a cheat I’d say, eh?

Poor old Batman, so concerned there on the cover, doesn’t even appear in the scene inside. Bruce Wayne is there along with Clark and Edge, but the Dark Knight apparently will have no part in preventing crime in New Metropolis—or at least he doesn’t merit his own action figure.

Had this been EC 1952, rather than DC 1976, we’d’ve potentially had a truly staggering cover with blood dripping from Kal-El’s severed neck, and Batman wielding the axe. All done very tastefully of course…

Image ©2012 DC Comics