When you’re a comics geek, and you’ve also had a few courses in Art History, I suppose you’re liable to occasionally come up with stuff like this.
Some of you know that before Marvel Comics settled on that name, the publisher went by a couple other names. They started off as Timely, then later changed to Atlas in the early ’50s, before finally settling on Marvel in 1961 (Though as you can see from this image, they did briefly toy with using the name earlier). While I know a bit about Timely’s output during the War, I must admit that my awareness of their output post-WWII is very spotty. It’s not like Marvel has often reprinted that material.
Once the War was over, general reader interest in superheroes seemed to fade, and all comics publishers were looking to find new material that would capture reader interest (AKA sales). Venus appears to have been one of Timely’s attempts at this. While I have not been able to actually read any of these comics, when you look at the covers, the title appears to suffer from something of a multiple personality disorder. It’s not quite sure exactly what it wants to be.
The book starts off looking like some sort of comedic romance title, then later shifts into some kind of quasi-horror/mystery title. It was like they started off with an idea, found the book wasn’t quite selling the way they’d hoped, so they tried tinkering and throwing different things at the wall while still publishing it, to see if something else might stick.
Anyway, looking at the Venus covers, I remembered Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus” from my Art History classes, and it occurred to me that perhaps Timely had missed a bet by not having an artist do some sort of an homage to that painting on a cover. So I thought maybe I’d rectify that (70-some years later), just for the heck of it. Maybe that was too “high brow” of an idea for them to bother with. Maybe it still is, but I had to try it out (and get the idea out of my head). Hope you folks like it.
Nice job of capturing the character and of doing an homage to Botticelli, Mark. I seem to recall that some fans think of Venus as being Timely’s answer to Wonder Woman, although Miss America would seem to fit that role better. And if one thinks of WW as being a female counterpart to DC’s leading character, Superman, and Miss America was the distaff version of Timely’s main hero, Captain America, then it makes even more sense. Ah, but this is supposed to be about Venus, isn’t it? The mythology connection lends credence to Venus as Timely’s WW. And yes, there is a lot of Timely-Atlas material which could and maybe should be reprinted.
Glad you like this, John!
I think in recent years, Marvel has started to reprint some more of that Timely/Atlas material. But the amount of it available in different formats still has a ways to go before it catches up to what they’ve done with reprinting their material since the start of what people think of as the Marvel Universe. I’m sure it must be a commercial consideration, that they believe the interest in the post-War/pre-Marvel material is limited.