The Unexpected #113, DC Comics, 1968, Art by Neal Adams.
The POP Retro Cover Of The Week continues its examination and celebration of iconic comic covers from the 1970s through the 2000s, this week expanding our coverage back into the 1960s, when DC got back into horror comics, after the relaxing of the Comics Code. One of the titles they gave fans was The Unexpected, and the covers taught fans to expect the same, like Neal Adams’ clever design for issue #113.
Adams was fond of hiding images in plain sight in his comic strips and comic book page designs. Here, he depicts a Tunnel of Love ride that has become a Tunnel of Terror instead. As the boat enters the tunnel, the two couples are horrified at things off-cover we cannot see. All we can see are two hands beckoning them inside, and hidden surprise.
The clever image hidden in the art is a giant skull, formed by the tunnel entrance, and the white boat. Squint your eyes for the full effect, and the white cobra head boat prow becomes the skull’s nose, and the ridges along the bottom of the boat the upper teeth. The reflection in the water becomes the bottom teeth and jaw. The shadows on the boat prow reveal a laughing grin. The couple in the front row are colored darkly, becoming the skull's sunken eye holes. The entire design is pretty symmetrical, adding to the illusion.
The Unexpected masthead is another great example of the very cool and evocative handdrawn titles on all of DC’s horror titles in the Sixties.
The simple, uncluttered design, along with its clever composition makes this POP Retro Cover Of The Week a spooky beauty!
Next week: Forward to the groovy, innovative 1970s!