In the 1970s there was a fair number of times when Marvel had to print a reprint instead of the intended story, but it was too late to replace the cover. Conan the Barbarian #22 is an example. The cover was supposed to go with the story in #23, and the issue carried a reprint of Conan the Barbarian #1 instead:
There are cases of mismatch from other periods as well. Detective Comics #40's cover was supposed to go with the second Joker story, but that story appeared in Batman #1 instead. So this cover was the Joker's first cover appearance, although he didn't appear inside:
This cover from Baffling Mysteries #8 belongs with a story that appeared in The Beyond #2 and was reprinted in Web of Mystery #27:
I thought it might be interesting to put together a collection of as many cases like these as possible. Please chime in with any you know.
This post displaced the thread 'Magic Order,' news from the homepage.
Marvel Double Feature reprinted Captain America and Iron Man stories from Tales of Suspense. The Captain America instalments were the ones from #77-#99. Instead of alternating the characters on the covers the title regularly featured Captain America. So new covers were supplied for the Captain America covers that didn't originally have them. The last two issues dropped Iron Man and had Captain America instalments only. The covers co-billed the Black Panther, who guested.
ToS #77 had an Iron Man cover, so MDF #1's was a collage modelled after ToS #59's. The GCD lists it as made up of the figure of Captain America from the cover of ToS #59, panels from "various contemporary stories", and a new Iron Man figure by John Romita. MDF #2 used the Cap cover from ToS #78, but added an Iron Man lower box.
MDF #3, with the Cap instalment from ToS #79, used the cover from ToS #86:
When MDF reprinted that instalment in #10 it used the cover again.
When the instalment from ToS #93 was reprinted in MDF #17 the title used an altered or redrawn version of the cover from ToS #94:
The original cover had MODOK in the background. Presumably he was dropped because didn't appear on-panel until ToS #94 or to make room for the UPC box.
MDF #13, #18 and #19 had new covers by Jack Kirby.
According to the GCD the Avengers #150 cover was supposed to have a circular balloon to the right of the UPC box with the words "Featuring a Far-Out New Avengers Line-Up!" You can see its outline on Thomas's scan.
The UPC box had only started appearing on Marvel covers two months earlier.
In the later 70s Pocket Books published several paperbacks collecting Marvel issues. The Amazing Spider-Man #1 collected the hero's appearances up to #6 (and a couple of features from the first annual). The cover showed Spider-Man striking Electro, but the villain didn't debut until #9. The image was taken from The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1.
In Thor #154 Ulik released Mangog, an incredibly strong monster who meant to end the universe by drawing the Odinsword. Odin was taking his Odinsleep and couldn't be awakened, and all the forces of Asgard couldn't stop him. The story reached its climax in #157.
The odd thing about the covers of #156 and #157 is each seems to better fit the other issue. Mangog seizes Thor at the end of #155, so #156 opens with Thor in his claw, and he briefly lifts him up. At the story's climax in #157 the monster finally reaches the Odinsword chamber, where Thor, Sif and the Recorder are waiting.
#156's cover isn't an exact depiction of #157's climax: the Warriors Three and Balder aren't present for the final fight as they've been left behind on other battlefields. And #156 does have a sequence where Sif goes to the Odinsword's chamber with the Recorder to stand guard over it. On the other hand, Balder doesn't join the fight against Mangog until #157, when he returns to Asgard with the Legion of the Lost.
The copy on the cover of #157 is that instalment's title, and the grim cover does match the issue's mood.
My hat-tip to Jeff for suggesting I include this case here.
The lead feature in Rangers of Freedom Comics #1-#4 was "Rangers of Freedom", about a trio of young patriotic heroes. In #3 a recurring female character was added to the team as Ranger Girl. In #5 the feature was replaced by a straight war feature of the same name. When the comic became Rangers Comics with #8 the new feature was renamed "U.S. Rangers".
The cover of #5 features the first Rangers of Freedom, and Super-Brain, who they fought in each of their stories. My hat-tip to the GCD for this example.
The cover of Detective Comics #34 has a shipboard scene. A guy in a red mask has lifted another man over his head and is about to throw him overboard.
The GCD interprets red mask as the Crimson Avenger, and says this was verified by Creig Flessel. If it's correct this is another mismatch cover, as the Crimson Avenger's feature didn't appear between #29 and #37.
I doubt it's right, though. The mask is the right shape, but the pre-makeover Crimson Avenger wore a black mask, a red cloak, and a different type of hat. Red mask's victim is apparently a member of the crew: note his peaked hat.