Dell Comics back in the ’60s had an interesting strategy. They turned out not very good comics, but hired really good artists to paint their covers, guys like George Wilson and Morris Gollub. The interior art, meanwhile, generally was bad to decent at best, but by the time you saw that you’d already been hooked by those fab covers. This is rather similar to AIP in the ’50s, when Sam Arkoff and James Nicholson would first whip up cool posters for films, and then make the cheapie movies to go with the posters.
Once I started looking for these Dell covers I kept finding more and more of them. Kona alone deserves more a single week, and Dell was rife with “primitive hero fighting dinosaurs / monsters” titles, including an actual Tarzan book, not to mention the long running Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery series. (Already featured once as a previous MotD.) I could easily just run these things for the next two months, but I’ll break things up a bit. But expect to see a lot more of these things in the upcoming months.
Eventually, either because they were cheaper or quicker, Dell went to line drawn covers by their sub-Marvel and DC stable of artists. These look even more inferior in contrast to these painted beauties.
There are a LOT more often deluxe hardcover reprints of old comics these days. Dell’s books don’t, in my opinion, warrant such things. However, I would gladly part with $30 or $40 for a glossy, oversized reprint book collecting these covers.