Cover to Action Comics #440

Action Comics #440, October 1974

This startling cover from the pen of Nick Cardy entices the potential purchaser to read the tale of Superman’s betrayal within. The story has Superman confronted by enormous “ghosts” of Jor-El and Lara among the clouds, these tell him that he has betrayed their memory and that of all Krypton by adopting Earth as his new home. They insist that he give up Earth and go and discover a New Krypton, populating it with earth’s best and brightest. This it transpires is all a plot by the enigmatic Coram, who has spent the last decade putting together a shady group of ne’er-do-wells called the Think-Tankers. The Think-Tankers spend much of their days dreaming up new plots to get Superman out of they way so Coram can make a grab for power and money. Unfortunately for Coram, this latest scam to get Superman to quit Earth doesn’t go quite as well as he’d planned…

Amongst the generally gaudy covers gracing comics in 1974, this one stands out as something a bit different. The low key blues and purples, combined with the Superman figure in strong shadow displaying downbeat body language while being admonished by his dead parents makes for a highly successful design. The clouds are magnificently rendered, with the billowing cape further emphasizing the inclement weather, which, in itself, acts as a metaphor for the Man of Steel’s guilt. Marvelous!

Image ©2010 DC Comics