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When Thor and Loki play chess in a Murphy Anderson Justice League cover swipe… – Heroes Convention #20

September 10, 2012

This is a little slice of comic book ephemera, a part of the convention scene that forms such an integral corner of the industry. The Heroes Convention is a long-running Charlotte gathering, founded by the Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find people, and it’s been in existence long enough to produce a meaty program to go along with the proceedings. Hence what you see before you. This 2001 edition of the in-house magazine has what you’d expect from a convention program, with thank yous, floor plans and look who’s showing up! blurbs in abundance. It’s a nice, thick little chotchke to go with whatever other swag gets carried out of the convention center.

There’s also information about charity auctions and the good causes that are going to be benefited. Such as:

A word about this — I certainly have no problem with creators protecting their intellectual property rights, and I have no personal beef with Harlan Ellison (though by many accounts he’s a bit of a crank), but putting such a cause side by side with burned children is a rough dichotomy. HARLAN ELLISON IS COMING AFTER THE INTERNET AND HE NEEDS YOUR HELP, oh and also there are some horribly scarred kids that you might wish to consider. One seems to trump the other, that’s all I’m saying.

The Avengers were an artistic theme within (and without) this edition, as artists appearing — and some not appearing — at the convention contributed bits of artwork. Certain entries are quite appealing, some not so much so. For some reason I really like the look of Iron Man in this George Tuska (he of many yeoman-like House of Ideas strips) one-pager. Maybe it’s the mouth in place of the usual slit:

The real corker, the thing that made me want to throw together a post, comes on the back. Swiping famous covers is a never-ending diversion, and sometimes it can lead to reworked images that outstrip the original in certain ways. Most everyone is familiar with the Murphy Anderson cover to Justice League of America #1, as the Flash plays a rigged game of chess with his colleagues represented by the pieces and sitting next to him at the table. It’s iconic. But it can’t compete with the whimsy you get when you shoehorn the Avengers in there:

There’s a lot to process, mostly that Anderson so easily assimilated Marvel characters into the Silver Age DC milieu. The Hulk is in the Martian Manhunter’s spot, filling the green epidermis quota. There are extra chess pieces for characters not seen at the table, just like in the original. Loki, the villain in Avengers #1, makes the shift over, replacing Despero.

And it all looks so natural. That there might be some benign mirror universe out there where there was a Silver Age Heroes League of America is a nice little diversion. Wouldn’t be a bad place in which to twirl a spin rack. And this is the sort of picture I’d bid on at a charity auction, whether the cause was injured kids or Harlan Ellison tilting at windmills.

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