34 Covers Featuring Someone Riding a Bullet, Missile or Bomb Any Doctor Strangelove fans out there? At the end of Stanley Kubrick’s Cold War comedy, pilot T.J. “King” Kong tries to manually release the stuck bay doors on his damaged aircraft. He succeeds, but the bomb on which he’s sitting is dropped just as he celebrates his achievement. So he does what any red-blooded American would do: he rides the bomb all the way down, wildly whooping and whipping his hat as he plummets towards nuclear annihilation.
Kubrick wasn’t the first person to come up with the idea of someone riding a missile in flight; in fact, it proved to be a popular motif for comic artists during the Golden Age. Heck, in some cases they didn’t even wait until the U.S. entered the war — take the first three covers below, which came out before the U.S. formally declared war on the Axis powers in December 1941.
Say, now that I’m looking at all these covers in a row, is anyone else noticing anything that’s slightly… ah, Freudian about this whole missile-riding business? Just me? Ah, well, carry on, then