Catman #31 Homage Covers
Catman #31 (June 1946)
Stories & Art: Jay Henry, Fred Morgan, Nina Albright, Maurice Whitman, George Gregg and Rudy Palais
Cover Art: L. B. Cole
Controversy: Hypodermic Needle Drug Use
Synopsis: Dr. Macabre’s latest hypnotic serum allows him to put Kitten under his power. Molly O’Moore and Scoop Scanlon investigate a 50-year-old murder and find a ghost in a wedding gown. Jim Braden leads an expedition to Africa, in a strange story involving “giant pygmies” and a monster-sized elephant. Characters: Cat-Man; The Deacon; Molly O’Moore & Scoop Scanlon. Stories: “Fire! Fire!”; “Pigmy Peril”; “Golden Archer”; “The Reckoner”; & “Little Leaders”. 52 pages, Full Color. Cover price: $0.10.
Modern readers mistakenly credit George Perez’s work on DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 (October 1985) as the source for later covers which use the same motif of a fallen hero draped over the arms of a grieving comrade. Although Perez’s work on that cover has become iconic, the motif graces far more covers pre-1985 than one might expect. The first appears to be Catman #31 from June 1946. This motif appears again 17 years later on the cover of Batman #156 (June 1963). Interestingly enough, neither Catman #31 nor Batman #156 inspired Perez’s iconic cover, however. Instead, Perez credits The Mighty Thor #27 (April 1966). Other covers which appeared before Crisis #7 include The Brave & the Bold #84 (July 1969), Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane #128 (December 1972), Daredevil #164 (Vol 1) (May 1980), and Uncanny X-Men #136 (August 1980). There are many others (as you can see below). Despite these previous covers, voters in a 2007 poll voted Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 as the “Best DC Cover of All Time.”
A user at Nic Foley’s – Nerdy & Wordy blog, jimskiblog, notes that the pose which appears on these covers has appeared in other works of art for hundreds of years, most notably in the Pieta, a subject in Christian art which depicts the Virgin Mary cradling the dead body of Jesus Christ often found in sculpture. Michelangelo’s La Pieta (1498-1499) may be the most famous such depiction.