Since I wrote about comic books paying homage to famous comic book cover art such as that of Action Comics #1 and Amazing Fantasy #15, I’ve been noticing it happening more and more with different famous pieces of cover art. This time, I’ve cataloged all of those that pay homage to the cover of DC’s epic ‘Crisis On Infinite Earths’, issue #7. That comic was massive – not only was it part of the game-changing, world-rebooting Crisis story arc, it featured the death of one of DC’s biggest characters – “Earth-One’s” Supergirl – right there on the cover!
This stark and moving image is well recognised in the comic book world, which is not doubt the reason why so many other artists have chosen to imitate it in some way, with varying degrees of success! Below, check out the covers I’ve collected that are referencing this iconic cover in some way.
Which do you like? Which are the worst offenders?
I was wrong! Apparently FIVE of these covers were printed before Crisis On Infinite Earths #7, so therefore could not have been paying homage to that cover! Crisis On Infinite Earths #7 was first published in 1985. The five earlier covers are Daredevil Vol 1 #164 (1980), Batman – Robin dies at dawn (1963), Batman and the Sgt Rock (1969), Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane #128 (1972), and Uncanny X-Men #136 (1980).
Interestingly, as users Matthew Grayson and Craig note, George Perez (the artist of the Crisis On Infinite Earths #7 cover) stated in a letter to the Comic Buyer’s Guide in 1992 that his inspiration for that cover was not Uncanny X-Men #136 (1980). Instead, he states Jack Kirby’s cover of Mighty Thor #127 (1966) as his inspiration for the cover.
According to user BearODice, “Robin Dies at Dawn from Batman 156 (published June 1963) is the original source of that pose. In conversations and interviews with John Byrne and George Perez, they both acknowledge that as the source of their homages for Uncanny X-Men #136 and Crisis on Infinite Earth repsectively. It’s the originator of that particular pose which has become a visual comic book trope.”
And, as user jimskiblog kindly pointed out to me, the pose depicted on these covers has actually been around in art history for many, many years. Notably, in the Pietà, which is a subject in Christian art depicting the Virgin Mary cradling the dead body of Jesus, most often found in sculpture. This was famously shown in Michelangelo’s La Pietà (1498-1499).