After looking at hundreds of comic book covers, it becomes quickly apparent that not every cover is 100% original. Whether done intentionally or even underhandedly, there’s something about uncovering these “swipes” that adds a new element of fun to reading and collecting comics.
In a twist on the Superman mythos, the title character in Jim Valentino’s normalman (stylized in all lower-case letters) is shipped off into space by his father when he concludes that the planet they inhabit will explode. The child arrives on a planet inhabited completely by super-powered beings – they dub him normalman, because he’s the only one there without powers.
The character debuted in Cerebus the Aardvark #56 and was soon given his own ongoing series. That title served as a vehicle for creator, Jim Valentino, to spoof and parody other comics, a perfect opportunity (if ever there was one) to introduce cover swipes that parody the source material.
Cerebus the Aardvark is one of the most ambitious comics series out there. Dave Sim began the series in 1977 and published it for 300 issues, concluding in 2004. The series follows an anthropomorphic aardvark named Cerebus as he progresses through life – first as a barbarian and later into other roles (including Pope!). Whereas most comic characters don’t age – or age very little – Dave Sim allows his character to mature as the series progresses. For its time (and even still today) – that was a novel concept!
As you can see, this cover is certainly not a swipe but it does pay homage to the cover design.
Cerebus the Aardvark #33