Showcase Presents #79, Dolphin, DC Comics, 1968, Art by Jay Scott Pike.
The POP Retro Cover Of The Week continues its examination and celebration of iconic comic covers from the 1960s through the 2000s, this week expanding our coverage back into the Sixties, when DC experimented with different cover treatments, including Go-Go checks, and minimalist beauties like Showcase Presents #79.
Showcase Presents #79 was the first appearance of a water-breathing young woman, who was discovered by Navy divers, and who came to be known as Dolphin. The mysterious platinum-haired mute would go on to become an important part of the Aquaman family.
During the Silver Age, the vast majority of Silver Age comic covers were filled with banners, headline boxes, screaming headlines, and word balloons, all trying to grab a buyer’s attention and get them to plunk down their coins.
As any good Ad Man will tell you, the best way to stand out in the crowd is to Zig when everyone else is Zagging. So, to help introduce a new character on the cover of DC’s “tryout” book, some wise cover editor Zigged, by making one of the simplest covers ever, and one of my favorites for that reason.
Artist Jay Scott Pike's cover is entirely filled with a bright gradation of green water, perfectly executed with the still-primitive printing techniques of the day. Dolphin is posed swimming gracefully from corner to corner, glancing coyly at the reader over her shoulder. The only background elements are two small Navy divers, and a hint of a wreck she helps them explore in the story.
The trade dress (publisher logo, comic title, pricing, etc.) is as small and understated as you will ever see, with the quiet and friendly all-lowercase “dolphin” title dancing playfully in black among the well-placed bubbles, contrasting with the water for maximum visual POP.
The pure, simple, uncluttered design of this POP Retro Cover Of The Week makes it a rare beauty!
Next week: Forward to the groovy, innovative 1970s!