There are several things that make this cover phantasmagorical:
- The way Neal Adams posed Superman was so perfect that it was used on other covers and products.
- The Golden Age DC Heroes, who were featured in the majority of the reprints.
- Spectre! Shining Knight! Silver and Golden Age Green Lanterns! Doctor Fate! The Ray! Johnny Quick!
- It was the first appearance of Roy Thomas' All Star Squadron. Ok, only in my imagination.
- Neal Adams included two Jack Kirby characters: Black Racer and Lightray. The New Gods had arrived!
- It's the cover a 100 page Super Spectacular and it only costs 50 cents. Multiple bonus point multiplier!!!
Here is another version of this cover, without the logo/copy and re-colored to make the sunset effect more pronounced. I have no idea where this version was published; I give credit to FanPop for the image. I suspect it must have been used in a DC Calendar. If you have an idea, please let me know.
The inside back cover of Superman #252 had the index key to the flying heroes. I went over this many times, figuring out what hero belonged to Earth-1 and the Justice League, and which heroes belonged over on Earth-2 with the Justice Society. Which heroes were the dead ones? And what heroes were powered by magic versus science?
Update: Here is a scan of the original art used for Superman #252. Obviously someone at DC Comics took off the original logo and pasted in a salute to the 1972 Comic Art Convention.
I own a copy of this now, but back in the 90s, I had trouble recalling the issue number. I went to the Usenet forums (pre-Internet days, yeah, I'm frackin' ancient) and vaguely described the cover. I thought no one would be able to help me. The answer came within an hour, and the guy who replied was a complete shock. It was none other than Marvel's own Tom Brevoort! A walking encyclopedia of comic history who doesn't hesitate to help a Dude in need. Thanks, man! Nuff Said!