Remember that question? If you do, you'll also recall that it wasn't a question about which superhero could beat a particular supervillain, but rather which superhero could beat another superhero! With the passion of election year politics, we'd make the case for our champion and why he'd mop the floor with the other guy's champion....all the while completely missing (or flat-out ignoring) the point that good guys aren't supposed to be fighting each other in the first place.
Although comic book publishers usually stayed above the fray, every once in awhile they'd throw us the "hero vs. hero" red meat we all craved....like here on the rip-roaring cover of Superman #199 (1967).
Cover penciled by Carmine Infantino and inked by Murphy Anderson
As it turned out, the actual race was quite a disappointment (to say the least). Instead of the grudge match suggested by the cover scene, the race was actually a chummy charity event. Worse yet, it ended in a lousy tie....completely dodging the question asked on the cover. Needless to say, it was an early lesson for us junior consumers in sky-high hype vs. the reality (and inevitable let-downs) of the actual product.
However, despite the disappointing story, the cover remains one of my favorites for a variety of reasons:
2. The cheering "factions" of DC heroes. Though never as contentious or dysfunctional as Marvel's brood of squabbling heroes, DC began introducing a bit more conflict between their famously chummy champions of justice....as you can see from the spirited cheering sections on either side of the starting line. Note how Batman is vigorously rooting against his long time World's Finest co-star!
3. I've always been a sucker for covers with a black background. Black, more than any other color, demands your attention on the shelf and, in this case, helps the brightly colored costumes of Superman and Flash pop right off the page.
4. The distorted or "forced" perspective angles of the scene, giving an almost explosive visual power to the unleashed speedsters.