MYSTERY IN SPACE #71 November 1961
Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson original artists
While I'm very likely to be wearing the rose-tinted glasses of warm nostalgia when gazing upon any comics from my very first year purchasing them, 1961, just because they've made it this far with me doesn't necessarily make them pearls of artistic achievement. But try telling me this magnificent Infantino/Anderson cover isn't all that and more!! Man, what a beauty! You've got your perfectly arranged symmetrical elements, you've got your well thought out color scheme, you've got your trademark Infantino futuristic cityscape as background, and oh yeah, you've got crystal!! Nobody--and I mean NOBODY--has ever drawn the elegance of icy crystal so effortlessly and so pleasingly as Carmine did!!
There may've been members of Flash's Rogue's Gallery that I preferred to Captain Cold, but at least when he showed up in Central City, we readers knew we were going to be treated to some of the Master's gloriously shimmering ice sculptures!! Okay, okay maybe I am getting a little too excited about this topic, but c'mon, that's one swell cover!! Redrawing it was a dream, even if properly spacing out the rays emanating from our elf friend's noggin was a bit of a nightmare!?! Still, I gotta say it's my all time favorite Adam Strange cover, and since Carmine was responsible for the majority of the remaining contenders, you KNOW there was heavy competition!!

As for the story? Pretty much all you need to know is right there in Adam's thought balloon. It's a typical pseudo-scientific adventure for Earth's First Spaceman, as they used to call our Strange friend in those pre-John Glenn days. To be honest, I always found the series to be a mite confusing, but then, I've never had any sort of feel for any sort of science, even the make believe kind!! What held my attention was the art and the unusual but appealing outfit our hero wore. Consider: it has a lot of detail for it's time, but uses primarily red and white as it's basic color scheme. The jets, the holster, the stripes running down the legs, and (say it with me) that FIN!! Yup, the headgear alone was worth the price of admission!! Years later, when editor Julie Schwartz was obliged to trade MYSTERY IN SPACE over to fellow DCer Jack Schiff in order to get his hands on the Batman franchise, the biggest mistake Schiff made upon taking over the strip was to eliminate the helmet!?! Gone!! In one fell swoop, Infantino was gone and so was that way cool fin!! I probably could've struggled through without one or the other--Lee Elias made for a much more than adequate replacement at the drawing board--but with both having vanished in much the same way Adam often did whilst in the arms of his lady love, Alanna, taken by the randomly cruel Zeta Ray beams off his adopted home on the distant planet Rann and back to the lonely Earth, well buddy, I soon vanished, too. Who SAYS clothes don't make the spaceman??...