Detective Comics No. 379 Cover: Novick or Novick?

Just because you do a good drawing doesn’t mean it’s going to make the best cover, at least in the eyes of the art director or editor.

Case in point, Irv Novick drew two covers for Detective Comics 379 from September 1968. The first is beautifully drawn. You can see the care he put into it with the rendering of the man’s hand, for example.

I can guess, though, when Carmine Infantino saw it he saw a piece that would be difficult to apply the Detective Comics logo to, and as a designer an image that didn’t read quickly as a cover. The published version is most definitely drawn from an Infantino sketch. Apart from his recognisable design style, the revised image tells a clearer story by increasing the contrast from foreground to background. The larger head in closeup gives a bigger sense of drama and the simplified TV screens sit firmly in the background, separating the visual planes.

While the published cover was most likely better for the newsstand of the time, what suffered was Novick’s investment in the redraw. While still a professional, publishable piece, it has the feel of rework done quickly. Having only these two pieces to go by – and not knowing what was standard practice at DC at the time – I wonder if Novick presented a sketch of his first one before he did his final rendering.

Regardless, we have the two covers to enjoy and I’ve coloured up the unpublished version here.

All images are larger than presented. Save them to your device to view them at full size.


Detective Comics 379 Cover by Irv Novick

As published.


THE UNPUBLISHED COVER

Detective Comics 379 Cover by Irv Novick

Scan from Heritage Auctions. Presented at found size so you can open it in a separate window to see the details close-up.

Detective Comics 379 Cover by Irv Novick

Very minor clean-up.

Vector comic book logos by Scott Dutton

Vector trade dress created and added.

Comic book colouring by Scott Dutton

The published colour scheme applied.

Comic book colouring by Scott Dutton

New colour version.


WHO DREW IT BETTER?

Detective Comics 379 Cover by Irv Novick

First version or second version?


Catspaw Dynamics Comic Book Art Production Services

Scott Dutton

Scott Dutton is a graphic designer and illustrator with experience in marketing, publishing and information design
  1. Paul McCall left a comment on September 3, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    The art on the first version is far more dramatic and the Batman monitor images are dominant, but I can see Carmine not wanting to do that to the Detective logo at that time. I like the blue color version of #1 better than the green.

  2. Philip Rushton left a comment on June 15, 2017 at 7:19 am

    I’d guess that Carmine designed both covers, but decided that the Detective Comics logo looked too marginal on the first version when he saw the finished artwork.

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