Look at it! Ain’t it beautiful?
I’m breaking away from the usual superhero covers to examine this gem from Dell Comics’ The Cisco Kid #3. This comic is dated April 1951 and is considered to be from the tail end of the Golden Age of comic books. Since it is so old, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of information about this book. So, I have no idea what artist is responsible for this excellent cover. (If you can identify the artist, please let me know.) However, the style does remind me of one of today’s best comic illustrators: Alex Ross.
First, I like the self aware humor of this cover. It seems to me the creator is poking fun at the idea that merely shaving his mustache makes the Cisco Kid unrecognizable. Sort of like putting on glasses is enough for Clark Kent to hide the fact that he is Superman. I hope I didn’t spoil that for you.
Next I really like that this is a painted cover and not the inked pencils with color fill that was the most common method of illustrating comic book covers. Dell and Fawcett and other early comic book producers would often use a painted cover. Most were OK, but occasionally a cover like this would come along.
I spotted it while cataloging a new batch of back issues on the Nostalgia Zone‘s online store and I was very impressed.
I especially like the hands. Hands are not the easiest bit of the human anatomy to draw. Although they’re not as difficult as feet. (There’s a phrase used by comic books artist when it comes to drawing feet. It’s called “fear of feet” and, if you look for it, you’ll see it’s fairly common. There’s a possible blog in “fear of feet’, but for another time.) This artist really gets the hands right. It seems very likely a model was used to produce this cover.
I like the expression the Cisco Kid is giving the viewer. The meaning is obvious. He’s thinking he’s awfully clever that his shaving will keep him from being caught. But, as I stated earlier, I think the artist is also poking fun at the silliness of simple disguises that always seem to work in comic books.
It’s a great old cover.
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