Crisis On Infinite Earths #7, October 1985, DC Comics, Cover by George Perez.
The POP Retro Cover Of The Week continues its examination and celebration of iconic comic covers from the 1970s through the 2000s, this week returning to the Eighties. A decade when most comics cost 60-75 cents, were beginning to be printed on better paper, and could be found in more and more Local Comics Shops popping up around the country.
DC Comics was celebrating its 50th anniversary in 1985 and had built up a half-century’s worth of characters and convoluted storylines, using revisionist history to explain their timeline and co-existence. The most-used (and over-used) method was the Multiple Earths (Multiverse) approach. Earth-1 was the home of present-day DC heroes, Earth-2 was home of the heroes from the Golden Age, another Earth was home to the Shazam heroes, etc.
It was all much too involved and confusing and frustrating to readers, both new and old. Something needed to be done to simplify it all, and what better time and opportunity than the 50th anniversary to launch the house-cleaning event.
Crisis On Infinite Earths debuted in April 1985, featuring a masterful story spearheaded by Marv Wolfman and art by fan favorite George Perez, at the peak of his creative and meticulous artistry. Heroes from various Earths are thrown together to prevent the destruction of the Multiverse by the cosmic Anti-Monitor.
In issue #7, a group of heroes is transported to a dimension where even the most powerful heroes are vulnerable, explaining how Superman is so easily overwhelmed in hand-to-hand combat and at the mercy of the Anti-Monitor. Supergirl, in her 1980s outfit featuring a ruffled red skirt and red headband, steps in to defend her cousin, and pays the ultimate price when she breaches the Anti-Monitor’s suit and his body’s deadly energies are unleashed.
The cover plays spoiler with this shocking major character death, in instantly iconic fashion. In a pose that is always an emotional grabber and has been homaged many times since, an anguished Superman holds his fallen cousin in his arms. No words are necessary to communicate the emotion or importance of the event, so blessedly there are no word balloons or screaming headlines to intrude on the solemn scene. The strange glow of an alien sun frames and separates Superman’s body from the blackness of space, while a multitude of heroes mourn her in the background. Understandably, the colorist decided to color all the background figures in a single muted tone to help the foreground figures POP, but it makes picking out who is who difficult, almost wasting Perez’s time-consuming effort to draw them all. But that minor gripe is merely a microscopic dent in this classic Retro Cover Of The Week!
Next week: A Cover from the 1990s!