WEIRD SCIENCE FANTASY #29 (1955)
Often called the greatest comic book cover of all time, it's tough to argue against this masterpiece by Frank Frazetta. Originally executed as a Buck Rogers cover for Famous Funnies (and rejected due to its extreme violence), Frazetta's composition leads your eye immediately into the area of maximum impact, with the dark cliff wall framing the man's figure and his cudgel exploding into negative space with the battered Neanderthal. Fritz misses nothing--even the angle of the club, the flying debris and the birds serve to complete the savage arc frozen in time. The forms, the body language, the design and colors all work together to create a sense of menace, intensity and brutality. Although this cover would probably be better served as a full size picture, the masthead and border image help give notice that what you see inside will indeed be unique. Interestingly, this was the only piece of artwork ever returned to any artist during the EC years. Frazetta was so happy with the finished piece that he made publisher Bill Gaines an offer: contrary to regular practice wherein Bill kept all the artwork, Frank agreed to take less money simply for the reproduction rights if he could keep the art. Gaines accepted and returned the cover to Frazetta after publication for a savings of about $50. Many years later, Frazetta said he had then been offered $50,000 for the legendary pen-and-ink piece, but turned it down.