The 15 Greatest Batman World War II Covers

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The 15 Greatest Batman World War II Propaganda Covers

DC Comics

 Like the rest of the United States, National Comics, publishers of Batman, fully embraced their patriotic duty during World War II. They helped sell war bonds and they helped pump up the military and the folks back home with propaganda covers. These are the fifteen best Batman World War II covers (each issue will include the cover date of the book in question). 

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15. Detective Comics #101 (July 1945)

DC Comics

After the war in Europe was finished, the United State government was concerned that people would be less inclined to buy war bonds, so they started a massive ad campaign for the "7th War Loan." This campaign was centered around the famous sight of the Marines raising the flag at Iwo Jima. It was a massive financial success, far exceeding all expectations. It brought in over $150 billion. Detective Comics, for whatever reason, almost entirely steered clear of war-related covers during the war. This uninspired Dick Sprang cover was one of only two clearly war-related covers the series had. 

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14. Batman #18 (August-September 1943)

DC Comics

 This was a rather mixed up attempt at a cover. The Batman and Robin figures were photostatted on to the cover from a drawing for a Detective Comics story (layouts by Ed Kressy and finishes by Dick Sprang, this was during the time when Sprang was being taught how to draw Batman and Robin by Kressy) and the caricatures of Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini and Hideki Tojo were done by Stan Kaye. 

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13. World's Finest Comics #13 (Spring 1944)

DC Comics

This Jack Burnley cover had a noble goal (to get people to donate scrap paper to help the war cause) but it is not exactly a striking visual. And the slogan needs a lot of work - "paper hanger" is slang for someone who trades in counterfeit currency (he is "hanging" the bad money, aka "paper," around town) but that doesn't make sense here, so it seems like it is being used as just a generic "Hitler is a crook!" slang. 

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12. World's Finest Comics #8 (Winter 1942-1943)

DC Comics

Similarly, Jack Burnley's cover here also has a noble goal, but it is a pretty bland cover design. They're just selling war bonds (and war savings stamps, which were an easier way for common citizens to essentially buy war bonds in installments). Nothing much else to the cover. 

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11. World's Finest Comics #11 (Autumn 1943)

DC Comics

 As part of food rationing during the war, citizens on the home front were encouraged to try to grow as much of their own food as they could. These gardens were called "victory gardens." Jack Burnley shows Superman and the Dynamic Duo growing one heck of a victory garden. It's really well drawn. However, at the end of the day, it's still "just" a cover of the World's Finest heroes doing gardening. 

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10. Batman #12 (August-September 1942)

DC Comics

 This Jerry Robinson cover is not bad, but it's also not as interesting as the other covers further down on the list. 

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9. World's Finest Comics #9 (Spring 1943)

DC Comics

Jack Burnley had a more imaginative cover idea with this one, with Superman. Batman and Robin pelting the Axis leaders with baseballs while exhorting readers to buy war bonds and war savings stamps.  Writing about the cover for Scoop, Mark Squirek notes:

As happens during war, each leader has been reduced to cultural and, especially in the case of the Emperor, a clear racist stereotype of the day. A year into the war and their images have become easily recognizable to even the youngest of citizens.

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8. World's Finest Comics #5 (Spring 1942)

DC Comics

 Fred Ray was a master of the simple, yet striking salute to the troops. His World War II covers brimmed with simple reverence. This clever motion picture screening shot evoked the real life news reels that young moviegoers were familiar with at the time. 

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7. Batman #30 (August-September 1945)

DC Comics

 It's amazing to note that Dick Sprang was responsible for both this striking and effective demonstration of the practical effects of the war bond effort as well as that earlier iffy Alfred cover and that he drew both covers at roughly the same point in time. 

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6. Batman #13 (October-November 1942)

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Jerry Robinson steps up his game from the previous issue with this dynamic action shot of the Dynamic Duo as paratroopers. 

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5. World's Finest Comics 6 (Summer 1942)

DC Comics

 Fred Ray continued his reverence for the troops with this touching cover where Batman, Superman and Robin pay clear tribute to the Army and Navy by letting them know that they are the real heroes. 

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4. Detective Comics #78 (August 1943)

DC Comics

Like I said before, for whatever reason, Detective Comics didn't have many patriotic covers, but this one, one of the very few they had, really stood out as a great cover. Jack Burnley drew the cover, with George Roussos doing background inks and Jerry Robinson re-doing Batman and Robin's heads to keep them on model. 

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3. World's Finest Comics #7 (Autumn 1942)

DC Comics

 Is this Jack Burnley cover unintentionally hilarious, with the whole phallic imagery? Of course. It is still an awesome cover? Of course!

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2. Batman #15 (February-March 1943)

DC Comics

 If you're a patriotic American and cannot get pumped up about Batman shooting a machine gun during World War II while telling readers to buy war bonds to "keep the bullets flying," then I don't know what will ever pump you up. It is hard to believe that this is the same Jack Burnley who was also doing "Superman, Batman and Robin sell war bonds from a stand" covers. 

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1. Batman #17 (June-July 1943)

DC Comics

 It is Batman and Robin...riding a giant Bald Eagle. Did someone descend from the heavens to give Jerry Robinson the greatest idea for a comic book cover ever? I feel bad that he had to sign Bob Kane's name to this masterpiece.