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Mike Ploog


In this page from Werewolf by Night #13, you can clearly see Will Eisner's influence in Mike Ploog's work.

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Joe Kubert

Star Spangled War Stories presents Enemy Ace v1 #149, 1970 - Reunited with a ill-tempered colleague from his early flight training days, Enemy Ace tests his own level of trust. The cover and story art share a spaciousness not uncommon throughout Joe Kubert's run. His two-page spread at the beginning is a high point, melding the title with his illustration. This story was later reprinted in >DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #21. Also in this issue is an early Kubert Viking Prince tale from Brave and the Bold #11. Other artists in this issue include Ric Estrada.
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Kubert cover pencils and inks = ***
"Reach for the Heavens" Kubert story pencils and inks 15 pages = ***

Joe Kubert
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Richard Dragon, Kung Fu Fighter v1 #8, 1976 - A mediocre splash opens Wally Wood's last effort on the series. Richard Dragon and Lady Shiva confront an old foe in a rather clumsy metaphorical layout. Thankfully, the art on the remaining pages more than compensates. Wood's inks are strongly felt in every scene, in particular Shiva's prisoner interrogation (see interior page below). The sharp contrasts divide up the faces and figures quite dramatically. Other artists in this issue include Dick Giordano (cover). This is number 5 of 5 Richard Dragon issues with Wood art and/or covers.
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"Slay the Blind Dragon" Wood story inks (Ric Estrada pencils) 17 pages = ***

Wally Wood 
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Alex Nino
Space Clusters / DC graphic novel v1 #7, 1986 - Searching the galaxy for an elusive rogue art smuggler, an officer in the Terran Planetary Corps stops at nothing to find him. At forty-six pages, this is Alex Nino's longest story to date. Filled with spectacular layouts and exceptional drawings, no two compositions are the same, despite the length. The colors are vivid throughout the pages, applied in gradated washes (perhaps watercolor?). In a few scenes, the palette tends to compete with the drawings themselves. That aside, Nino creates a universe of exotic images, characters and settings few others could match.
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Nino cover pencils and inks = ***
"Space Clusters" Nino story pencils and inks 46 pages = ****

Alex Nino
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Ewoks v1 #10, 1986 - Listed in some price guides as having Al Williamson inks, this issue only contains art by Warren Kremer and longtime Spider-man artist John Romita. The story continues from Droids #4, another Star Wars spin-off title under the Star Comics imprint.

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World's Finest Comics v1 #255, 1979 - Jack Ryder intervenes in a blackmail plot, pitting the Creeper against the the knife-throwing Dagger Lady. Steve Ditko's simplistic drawings are unfortunately all too common in the late bronze age. Bulletman and Bulletgirl guest star in the Shazam feature, aiding the Marvel Family in defeating the seductress Dreamdancer. Don Newton's engaging artwork resides within wildly varied layouts. Most are structured, but two pages are  more organic and admittedly more interesting. Other artists in this issue include Jose Luis Garcia Lopez. Cover by Jim Aparo. This is number 3 of 28 World's Finest issues with Newton art and/or covers and number 7 of 7 World's Finest issues with Ditko art and/or covers.
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"Furious Fran And The Daggar Lady" Ditko story pencils and inks 8 pages = **
"Dreamdancer" Newton story pencils (Kurt Schaffenberger inks) 15 pages = ***


Don Newton
Steve Ditko
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Walt Disney's Zorro / Four Color Comics v2 #960, 1958 - Zorro temporarily aids the police to upset the plans of a gang of conspirators. The opening page briefly recaps the hero's identity and motivations. For the most part, Alex Toth sticks to the six panel grid for the layouts of both stories. Unlike the previous issue, the artist completes each page with great skill and care. There are many superbly drawn panels, but the architectural details on the second story (see interior page below) stand out. This is number 4 of 8 Zorro issues with Toth art and/or covers (not including reprints). These stories were later reprinted in Zorro v2 #2.
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"The Eagle's Brood" Toth story pencils and inks 26 pages = ****
"The Visitor" Toth story pencils and inks 6 pages = ****
"Yankee Traders' Floating Shores" Toth inside back cover pencils and inks (black & white) = ***

Zorro Four Color #960 1950s dell comic book page art by Alex Toth
Alex Toth
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Frank Miller
Sin City trade paperback, 1993 - Perhaps the first to house the complete Sin City saga in one place, this trade paperback reprints all 12 episodes of Dark Horse Presents from two years prior. Frank Miller supplies a powerful new cover for the occasion. Another trade paperback was also published in the same year, but with different Miller artwork and a red cover.
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Miller cover pencils and inks = ****

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Jim Starlin
Marvel Team-Up v1 #27, 1974 - Spider-man and the Incredible Hulk battle it out as a terrified bystander looks on. Jim Starlin's cover leaves little room for breathing space but the carefully designed layout radiates with excitement. A web pattern emerges from the left corner, leading the eye toward the combatants. On the right, the Hulk's brute strength is reinforced by the flying debris. Among Starlin's early efforts for Marvel, this is one of his strongest. Other artists in this issue include Jim Mooney, Frank Giacoia and David Hunt. This is number 1 of 1 Marvel Team-Up issues with Starlin art and/or covers.
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Starlin cover pencils and inks = ****

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Tarzan v1 #631954 - Their travel halted by warriors, the Brothers of the Spear unknowingly trespass onto the Obelo tribe's territory. Exotic costumes and rich foliage makes this Russ Manning effort more visually interesting. His layouts and sequences also continue to evolve and improve. In a separate tale, Tarzan and Boy aid a female explorer whose bearers turn on her and take her prisoner. This is Manning's first Tarzan story, just adequately drawn and composed. Note that he "borrows" the design for Tarzan's face (see interior page below) from Jesse Marsh, who regularly illustrates the main feature. This is number 25 of 133 Tarzan issues with Manning art and/or covers (not including reprints).
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Untitled Brothers of the Spear story Manning pencils and inks 6 pages = ***
"The Canoe Safari" Manning story pencils and inks 8 pages = ***

Russ Manning
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Giant-size Conan the Barbarian v1 #1, 1975 - Adapting Robert E. Howard's Hour of the Dragon, Gil Kane and Tom Sutton do a marvelous job with this original Conan story. The main feature is supplemented by a Barry Smith reprint from Conan #3. Cover by Gil Kane and Ernie Chua.

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Joe Kubert
Our Army at War v1 #152 featuring Sgt. Rock, 1965 - Transporting a group of young replacements, Rock inspires them with stories of uncommon heroes within Easy company. This full length tale leaves out the usual supporting characters until the end. Joe Kubert obscures the faces of the new soldiers, emphasizing the unit over individuals. Overall, the artwork is bit loose and the finishes imprecise. Even Kubert's cover, with its poor foreshortening, borders on amateurish. This story was later reprinted in >G.I. Combat #149. Other artists in this issue include Morris Waldinger.
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Kubert cover pencils and inks = *
"Last Man - Last Shot" Kubert story pencils and inks 25 pages = **

Joe Kubert
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Walt Simonson
Marvel Premiere v1 #57 featuring Dr. Who, 1981 - Although touted on the cover, the character's first US comics appearance was in Doctor Who and The Daleks in 1966. Marvel begins reprinting stories from their UK editions, featuring writing by Pat Mills. Walt Simonson contributes the original cover, an appropriately quirky portrait of the English time traveler. Despite the cover claiming this issue as Dr. Who's first appearance in American comics, Dell published Dr. Who and the Daleks in 1966. Other artists in this issue include Dave Gibbons (reprints) and Dave Cockrum (3 new? stand alone pages). This is number 1 of 1 Marvel Premiere issues with Simonson art and/or covers.
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Simonson cover pencils and inks = ***

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World's Finest Comics v1 #167, 1967 - Along with the usual Superman/Batman feature, the issue includes a Jack Kirby back-up tale. Originally from House of Secrets #3, this mystery story seems oddly out of place in this superhero series. Other artists in this issue include Curt Swan.

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Marshall Rogers

Spellbound v2 #4, 1988 - The New Mutants make a crossover appearance, and Marshall Rogers seems determined to fit them all into his cover layout. The figures fill every available space, but seems forced rather than natural. The series villain dominates the composition, but the lead character of Spellbinder is curiously absent. This example is Rogers' weakest effort of the entire series. This is number 4 of 6 Spellbound issues with Rogers art and/or covers.
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Rogers cover pencils (Bob Cleod inks) = ***

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