Bill Everett’s Restless Nights of Dread

Today, 102 years ago (!), on May 18th, 1917, William Blake Everett came into the world. He did not become a poet like his ancestor William Blake, nor a politician like Richard Everett, another famous forebear, who founded the city of Springfield, Massachusetts. Bill Everett’s father wanted him to become a cartoonist, and his wish came true, though the elder Mr. Everett died long before before the rebellious Bill found his place in the comics industry.

Bill Everett is best known for creating Namor the Sub-Mariner (visit out Tentacle Tuesday: Prince Namor for an overview of this character’s story and adventures… or read The Brilliance of Bill Everett’s Sub-Mariner, Marvel’s Superman, a great article from Sequart Magazine), but he also had his hand in the creation of Daredevil and Simon Garth, Zombie. Everett excelled in many genres – superheroes, horror, fantasy, science-fiction – but today, since there are far too many covers to feature, I will force myself to focus on horror. Welcome to the ghoulish gallery of my favourite Bill Everett covers! (They’re not necessarily the goriest or scariest – sometimes it’s a mood of quiet menace or a striking composition that sways me.)

Venus no. 19 (April 1952). The silent, smirking watchers in the corner are far creepier than the skeleton embracing her!
Astonishing Tales no. 15 (July 1952). Do a lot of daughters address their fathers by their first name?
Marvel Tales no. 111 (February 1953)
Mystic no. 18 (March 1953).
Journey Into Mystery no. 9 (June 1953)
Marvel Tales no. 117 (August 1953)
Mystic no. 51 (September 1956). I love these silent covers where the menace is suggested rather than shown in detail.
Strange Stories of Suspense no. 9 (June 1956)
Marvel Tales no. 151 (October 1956). Here it’s the composition I especially like – the giant hair isn’t that scary.
Mystical Tales no. 6 (April 1957). I admit the WHY? WHY? WHY? amuses me WHY? WHY? WHY?; – one inquiry should have sufficed. Speaking of “WHY?”… Why is she barefoot? Those rocks have to be treacherously slippery at the best of times, let alone in a rainstorm.

If you’d like more, you can visit Scott’s Classic Comics Comics Corner: Top 13 Bill Everett Horror Covers – only two of his entries overlap with my own selection, which shows how opinions vary and just how rich this vein is.

~ ds

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