After looking at hundreds of comic book covers, it becomes quickly apparent that not every cover is 100% original. Whether done intentionally or even underhandedly, there’s something about uncovering these “swipes” that adds a new element of fun to reading and collecting comics.
In a twist on the Superman mythos, the title character in Jim Valentino’s normalman (stylized in all lower-case letters) is shipped off into space by his father when he concludes that the planet they inhabit will explode. The child arrives on a planet inhabited completely by super-powered beings – they dub him normalman, because he’s the only one there without powers.
The character debuted in Cerebus the Aardvark #56 and was soon given his own ongoing series. That title served as a vehicle for creator, Jim Valentino, to spoof and parody other comics, a perfect opportunity (if ever there was one) to introduce cover swipes that parody the source material.
Howard Chaykin launched American Flagg in 1983. This creator-owned series that follows protagonist, Reuben Flagg, is a mix of science fiction and political satire.
As you can see, this cover is certainly not a swipe but it does pay homage to the cover design.
American Flagg #1