We missed 1979 Semi Finalists’s list of the 100 Best Comic Book Covers … it’s a highly subjective list — big on Jaime Hernandez, James Jean, Adam Hughes and 80s X-men. But glancing at it is surely enough to rekindle some thoughts about the greatness and variety of comics, and their indelible imagery. Actually the most startling thing about the list was the above…the cover of ACTION COMICS #2 by Leo E. O’Mealia.

Seriously in all our years of comics research, we never even THOUGHT about the cover to ACTION #2, let alone that it might be so cool.

Bonus #1: After Ellen singles out some of the Top 100 covers that feature women.

Bonus #2: the cover to Action #3 also by O’Mealia! It is such a shock to see that famous logo without Superman underneath it. Also how sophisticated the cover design is — without Shuster’s simple drawing, it really pops.

Imagine if THIS is what had kick started the American comics industry. What a world we would live in.


  1. That’s awesome. It could be a whole series- the cover after the famous one. I like how the first 3 issues had a wrecked car, plane and boat- there really was some action there.

  2. In 1993, Abbeville Press published Superman in Action Comics: Featuring the Complete Covers of the First 25 Years, which reproduced the covers of every issue of Action Comics from #1 to #300. They also published a similar volume for Batman in Detective Comics. The only drawback is the small size – approximately 3″ x 4″.

  3. Those O’Mealia ACTION covers are incredible — and, I gotta say, way more thrilling than some of Shuster’s awkward Superman pieces.

    O’Mealia apparently did a bunch of newspaper strips too, in various styles that are sometimes Herriman, sometimes Segar, and sometimes something else entirely. I’ve never heard of him but he’s all over the place.

  4. Leo O’Mealia had a career as a sports cartoonist. Robert Cole offers some analysis on and praise for O’Mealia and two other cartoonists:

    O’Mealia was sensitive to the difference between rookies and veterans, and judging by the apparent age of many of his players, seemed a little partial to veterans. One of his favorite sequences was the unexpected result for the aggressive rookie: A young outfielder hitches up his pants and says, “I’d like to show up some of these ol’ guys” . . . He goes sprinting after a fly: “I’ll show `em some speed.” . . . Passes another fielder: “I made `at ol’ fellow look like he was stand’ still!” . . .

  5. I’ve always admired the O’Mealia covers … too bad they didn’t make him the steady cover artist, no matter the subject.