cover to Action Comics #445

Action Comics #445, March 1975

This Nick Cardy cover look familiar? Seems to me to be an homage to this Carmine Infantino classic:

Cover to Flash #123

The Flash #123, September 1961

That issue of the Flash, of course, introduced the world to the multiple-Earth concept that was to become a mainstay of DC continuity for the next 25 years. Sadly, after that, some misguided souls thought it was too complicated and did away with Earth-2. And Earth-3. And Earth-X. And… well, you get the idea.

Anyway, back to this issue of Action Comics. As nice as it is, it’s a very misleading cover as it has almost nothing to do with what’s going on inside the comic! The plot of the piece sees Superman zapped with an alien ray that threatens to kill him once he uses his super powers 10 times. By the end of the tale, as you might guess, he’s not actually pushing up daisies — it turns out that a reflection tipped him off about the aliens’ plans and so he contacted an actor pal, gave him a super-power-inducing drug, and sent him out to do half the super-deeds. Obvious really. The ray wears off, and the Man of Steel goes off to kick alien butt even as the actor returns to a career in daytime soap. At no point does Lois find herself having to choose between super-paramours. Which might’ve been fun.

At this time Carmine Infantino was publisher of DC Comics, and was providing loose sketches as cover designs for most of the line, so it’s likely that he was homaging himself. If you’re gonna steal, steal from the best I say…

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