John Severin, ‘Super Comics’ Cover Man

« I got into the comic business the same way I got into the bubble gum business: somebody gave me a job. » — John Severin

I’ve said it before, and I still feel that way: If you’re going to discuss a career of such length, variety, depth and consistency as John Severin’s (from the late 1940s to the early 2010s!) it’s simply too easy to lose your way in the details, sidebars and bifurcations. Best to pick a small area and stick to it, particularly if you don’t have the luxury of endless pages to devote to the task.

Speaking of sidebars: In this forum, I keep returning to the topic of Israel Waldman and his dodgy, but mesmerizing publishing ventures. The many scattershot titles issued under the IW / Super Comics (1958-1964) banner were printed on shoddy paper (which makes them, nowadays, nearly impossible to find in any sort of decent shape), were sold outside the usual channels (in bags of three through department stores, and not the fancy ones at that), consisted of rather hoary, indifferently-packaged reprints… but foxy businessman Waldman didn’t scrimp on the one count that mattered: he shelled out top dollar to commission top talent to create attractive covers. That sweet old bait-and-switch.

Sure, some of these random assemblages of decaying pulp happen to be good comics, but given the nature of odds, it was bound to happen.

John Powers Severin, born ninety-seven years ago today (Dec. 26, 1921-Feb. 12, 2012), was part of Waldman’s cadre of cover artistes, and he delivered beautifully, as he always did, right to the end of his career.

Here, then, are some highlights of these little-seen Severin pieces. Happy birthday, Mr. Severin!

Blazing6guns16A
Blazing Sixguns no. 16 (1964), ten issues, 1958-1964. Read this issue here.
Danger10A
Here’s Danger no. 10 (1963), the first of  seven issues. Read it here.
FantasticAdv10A
This is Fantastic Adventures no. 10 (the first of seven issues, 1963-64). Read it here.
Gufighters18A
Looks like Marvel’s Kid Colt did a bit of moonlighting for Super Comics (as did king of all media Gabby Hayes!). This is Gunfighters no. 18, fifth and final issue of the series (1958-1964).
SilverKid01A
This is Silver Kid Western no. 1 (1958), first of two issues. Read it here.
Robin-Hood9A
This is Robin Hood no. 9 (1958),  third of five issues (1958-1964). Read it here.
Westerner17A
An alternative view of table étiquette from real-life figure Ben Thompson. This is The Westerner no. 17 (1964), third of three issues.

And if you’re hankering for more John Severin, check out our earlier post and/or this illuminating, life-spanning and definitive Comics Journal interview.

-RG

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