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.

The DNAgents are a team of superheroes that were created through genetic engineering by the Matrix Corporation. Admittedly it doesn’t sound like an advanced concept by today’s standards but, it was ahead of the curve when it debuted in 1983. (After all, Marvel’s own genetic manipulator, Mr. Sinister, didn’t debut for another four years.) The team consisted of five heroes: Amber, Rainbow, Sham, Surge, and Tank. A frequent guest-star called Crossfire debuted in issue #4. Crossfire got his own spin-off series that lasted for 26 issues (as well as a four issue mini-series shared with Rainbow). DNAgents lasted 24 issues before it was relaunched as the New DNAgents, which was published for 17 issues.

DNAgents #4
DNAgents #4
July 1983
Will Meugniot
normalman #7
normalman #7
February 1985
Jim Valentino

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