I saw this old comic book cover over at Super Punch today...

THE MYSTERY OF IRMA VEP – A Penny Dreadful, playing Feb. 8-26 at Intiman Theatre
Laugh till it hurts at this outrageous camp comedy the NYTimes calls “Wickedly funny!”


...and it made me think about DC Comics editor Julius Schwartz's four rules for bestselling comics covers. Schwartz noticed that comic book covers with one of four elements would always sell better than the others:

1. A gorilla.
2. Fire.
3. The color purple.
4. People running in fear from something.

There have been several variations of these rules published in various sources through the years. (For instance, many people don't mention the running-in-fear rule, and other people add dinosaurs to the gorilla rule.) But no matter what the variations to Schwartz's rules are, it is an absolute fact that I really want to read the story in the above comic book. That cover was probably drawn before a story had even been written to go along with the image.

But think about it! A man has switched brains with a gorilla (or a gorilla has developed speech and cognition). Then the gorilla wound up on trial. Evidence declares that the gorilla is definitely guilty (note the exclamation point at the end of the word on the piece of paper). But the gorilla is adamant in declaring his innocence. What does he do? Does he escape? How does a gorilla hide from the cops in a city? What happens next? Dear God, what happens next?

Anyway, my point in all this is that one day I want The Stranger to have a purple gorilla chasing people around as Seattle burns in the background. I think it would be the best-selling issue of The Stranger of all time.