Weird Mystery Tales v1 #6, 1973 - In a rural mountain community, fear and suspicion lead to the murder of an old woman. This tale of witchcraft and revenge is drawn a bit too harshly for my tastes. The hillbillies are more caricatures than characters, rendered in messy, even coarse linework. Some of Nino's best work appears in horror titles, but this one falls short. Other artists in this issue include Abe Ocampo and Ruben Yandoc. Cover by Jack Sparling. This is number 2 of 6 Weird Mystery Tales issues with Nino art and/or covers.
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"Even the Dead Shall Laugh" Nino story pencils and inks 6 pages = **

Alex Nino
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>this issue >Nino >Weird Mystery Tales
The Phantom v2 #74 charlton comic book cover art by Don Newton
Don Newton
The Phantom v2 #74, 1977 - This period tale of 1776 nicely commemorates and coincides with the American Bicentennial. The colonial-era Phantom of comes to the aid of Benjamin Franklin, but not before denouncing the colonies' ongoing participation of slavery. Don Newton's flag cover painting (considered a classic by many) conveys both patriotism and traditionalism. The interior story, the artist's last of the series, is no less exemplary. Skillfully drawn and paced, the highlights include an engraving-like illustration of a ship at sea (page 6) and the bold dramatically-lit close-ups on pages 7, 8 and 11. The letters page toward the end repurposes previous published Newton art. This is number 7 of 7 Phantom issues with Newton art and/or covers.
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Newton cover painting = ****
"The Phantom of 1776" Newton story pencils and inks 22 pages = *****

The Phantom v2 #74 charlton comic book page art by Don Newton
Don Newton
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>this issue >Newton >Phantom
Steve Ditko
Amazing Spider-man v1 #21, 1965 - Spidey joins the Human Torch in fighting the nefarious Beetle, whose most recognizable traits are his armor-plating and suction-cup gloves. Steve Ditko's layouts are more varied than the previous issue, avoiding repetition. Like his acrobatic cover, his juxtaposition of three characters (rather than two) is more visually interesting. Not surprisingly, there's also a brief skirmish between the two heroes (page 14-15). Ditko clearly revels in the drawing and positioning of multiple figures, especially in sequence. As with previous issues, his consistently eclectic style contributes to the series' success. This is number 21 of 38 Amazing Spider-man issues with Ditko art and/or covers.
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Ditko cover pencils and inks = ***
"Where Flies the Beetle" Ditko story pencils and inks 20 pages = ***
"Spider-man" pin-up Ditko pencils and inks = ***

Steve Ditko
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>this issue >Ditko >Amazing Spider-man
Ronin v1 #2 dc comic book cover art by Frank Miller
Frank Miller
Ronin v1 #2, 1983 - The samurai warrior begins to adjust to a unfamiliar world of the war-torn future. With his second issue, Frank Miller's artwork becomes more loose and expressionistic. Elaborate cross hatching brings texture to both the seedy characters and the gritty urban setting. As usual, Miller's strength is his layout and pacing, augmented by four double page spreads. This is number 2 of 6 Ronin issues with Miller art and/or covers.
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Miller wrap around cover pencils and inks = ***
Miller story pencils and inks 48 pages = ***

Ronin v1 #2 dc comic book page art by Frank Miller
Frank Miller
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>this issue >Miller >Ronin

Boots and her Buddies v1 #9, 1949 - Nestled within this issue are two single page stories featuring the Toppsy Twins. Cute yet rambunctious, these little boys manage to draw the ire of nearby adults. Frank Frazetta draws both pages with a playful spontaneity. His portraits on the opening panels show a wide-eyed innocence that belies their obnoxious nature. Despite being early in his career,  Frazetta displays a high level of draftsmanship. Other artists in this issue include Edgar Martin. This is number 1 of 1 Boots and her Buddies issues with Frazetta art and/or covers.
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"The Toppsy Twins" Frazetta story pencils and inks 2 pages = ***

Frank Frazetta
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>this issue >Frazetta >Boots and her Buddies

Sea Hunt v1 #11, 1961 - The lead story opens with an airplane's spacious view of the Grand Canyon, but the lack of detail reduces visual interest and depth. Russ Manning makes up for it on subsequent pages, drawing the main character's underwater explorations of the Colorado River (see interior page below). The second tale, about an embezzler and some missing ledgers, is equally well drawn. Manning renders the characters with uncommon crispness and clarity. This is number 7 of 8 Sea Hunt issues with Manning art and/or covers.
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"Canyon Danger" Manning story pencils and inks 14 pages = ***
"Davey Jones's Ledger" Manning story pencils and inks 13 pages = ***
 
"Legends of the Sea" Manning story pencils and inks 1 page = ***
"Deep in the Deep Sea" Manning inside back cover pencils and inks
(black and white) = ***

Russ Manning
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>this issue >Manning >Sea Hunt

Warfront v1 #36 featuring Dynamite Joe, 1965 - Not only do two GIs find out they're in enemy territory, but they're tasked with blowing up a grounded missile gone awry. Different sources have different attributions to this brief story. At the very least, Al Williamson  drew the layouts and perhaps some of the pencils. Regardless, the artwork is abysmal. The drawings are amateurish and the layouts are poorly constructed. Williamson's usually sophisticated style is near unrecognizable. Also included in this issue is a one-page Goodyear ad by Neal Adams, which appears in several Harvey comics of the era. Other artists in this issue include Jack Sparling and George Tuska. This is number 1 of 1 Warfront issues with Williamson art and/or covers.
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"Warhead" Williamson story pencils and inks 5 pages = *

Al Williamson
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>this issue >Williamson >Warfront
Joe Kubert
Ragman v1 #4, 1977 - Joe Kubert's near-symmetrical cover echoes a dramatic double-page spread inside. Four guns menacingly point toward the title character, converging on the woman's body. The Redondo Studio appears to be responsible for the bulk of the story art, but Kubert's exquisite back-up tale is the issue's high point. Told mostly without captions or dialogue, three gravediggers find more than they bargained for in a dark cemetery. Grittier, tougher, and more aggressive, Kubert's artwork makes the feature story pale by comparison. This is number 4 of 5 Ragman issues with Kubert art and/or covers. 
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Kubert cover pencils and inks = ***
"Untitled"
Kubert story pencils and inks 5 pages = ****

Joe Kubert
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>this issue >Kubert >Ragman

Secret Hearts v1 #143, 1971 - Spending a week in a luxury resort, Lynn has to concoct lies to hide the fact that she's neither rich nor well-connected. The story's artwork is deceptively simple, letting the design and pacing come to the fore. Alex Toth's linework is bold and graphic, typical of his bronze age work. Most effective is his opening page, featuring a shadowed panel that suggests a character being "in the dark". Other artists in this issue include Vince Colletta and Dick Giordano. This is number 3 of 4 Secret Hearts issues with Toth art and/or covers.
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"Masquerade" Toth story pencils and inks 8 pages = ***

Alex Toth
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Home / TothSecret Hearts 
>this issue >Toth >Secret Hearts
The Sandman v1 #3 dc bronze age comic book cover art by Jack Kirby
Jack Kirby
The Sandman v1 #3, 1975 - Is the title hero appearing within the woman's dream, emerging from it, or both? Jack Kirby's cover design could stand more clarity. The encroaching ape on the left also looks uncomfortably squeezed into the remaining negative space. Kirby's uniquely graphic drawing skills are evident though the cover just falls below expectations. Ernie Chua (Chan) draws the interior story in a disappointingly similar style. Kirby would thankfully resume the penciling chores with the following issue. This is number 3 of 6 Sandman issues with Kirby art and/or covers.
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Kirby cover pencils (Mike Royer inks) = **

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>this issue >Kirby >Sandman
 
My Experience v1 #21, 1950 - In two separate stories, a superstitious girl fears a break-up of her third engagement and a young lady chooses between the welfare of her parents and her one true love. Wally Wood's inking is evident in both tales, apparently pencilled by two different artists (perhaps A.C. Hollingsworth in the second?). Unfortunately, they're equally amateurish in both their drawings and compositions. Wood's style is more forcefully applied in the first tale, adding deep shadows and lighting where needed (see interior page below). This is number 2 of 3 My Experience issues with Wood art and/or covers.
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"No Wedding Bells for Me" Wood story inks 9 pages = **
"I Wanted Love" Wood story inks 10 pages = *

Wally Wood
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>this issue >Wood >My Experience
Giant-size Man-Thing v1 annual #4 marvel 1970s bronze age comic book cover art by Frank Brunner
Frank Brunner

Giant-size Man-Thing v1 #4, 1975 - An unmoving hand smolders while the Man-Thing looks on, entranced by the rising flame. Despite the graphics and text, Frank Brunner delivers one of his potent bronze age covers. Accompanying the Man-Thing feature is Howard the Duck's first solo tale, continued from events in Fear #19. Brunner does the artwork as well, depicting a cartoon character in a realistic world. There are panels influenced by Carl Barks' Donald Duck, but presented in a fresh, contemporary way (this story was later reprinted in Marvel Treasury #12). Rounding out the book is a fine Steve Ditko reprint from Strange Tales #72. Other artists in this issue include Ron Wilson, Ed Hannigan and Frank Springer. This is number 1 of 2 Giant Size Man-Thing issues with Brunner art and/or covers.
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Brunner cover pencils and inks = *****
"Frog Death" Brunner story pencils and inks 9 pages = ****


Giant-size Man-Thing v1 annual #4 marvel 1970s bronze age comic book page art by Frank Brunner
Frank Brunner
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>this issue >Brunner >Ditko >Man-Thing
Matt Baker
Teen-age Temptations v1 #1, 1952 - Lured to a hotel room by a co-worker, a salesgirl barely escapes with her dignity intact. Matt Baker's cover is vaguely similar to his interior story, which seems much more suggestive of an attempted rape. Despite the severity of the theme, the artwork feels light and airy. An unidentified inker maintains Baker's pencils, which are loosely applied. Despite the lack of clarity, the artist's talent still emerges. Other artists in this issue include Ric Estrada. This is number 1 of 9 Teenage Temptations issues, all with Baker art and/or covers.
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Baker cover pencils and inks = ***
"Tourist Cabin Escapade" Baker story pencils 8 pages = ***

Matt Baker
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>this issue >Baker >Teen-age Temptations
Green Lantern Green Arrow #82 dc comic book cover art by Neal Adams
Neal Adams
Green Lantern / Green Arrow v2 #82, 1971 - Harpies, gorgons and other fantastical creatures populate this issue, which carries a strongly feminist theme. The artwork is outstanding, particularly the scenes with mythological characters. The confrontation between Black Canary and the amazons on page 10 (see interior page below) and the unveiling of Medusa's serpentine head (page 20) are just two of the issue's artistic high points. Although Dick Giordano inks most of the book, Bernie Wrightson is credited with inking a single page.  This story was later reprinted in Green Lantern Green Arrow #4. This is number 8 of 15 Green Lantern issues with Adams art and/or covers and number 1 of 2 Green Lantern issues with Wrightson art and/or covers.
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Adams cover pencils and inks = ***
"How Do You Fight A Nightmare?" Adams story pencils (
Dick Giordano inks) 22 pages, Wrightson inks 1 page = ****

Green Lantern Green Arrow #82 dc comic book page art by Neal Adams
Neal Adams
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>this issue >Wrightson >Adams >Green Lantern
(Walt Disney's) Uncle Scrooge v1 #103, 1973 - Featuring work by Carl Barks, this issue contains stories from earlier in the series. This material was first published in Uncle Scrooge #16. Other artists in this issue include Tony Strobl.

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>this issue >Barks >Uncle Scrooge
Flash Gordon v4 #1 1960s silver age science fiction comic book cover art by Al Williamson
Al Williamson
Flash Gordon v4 #1, 1966 - One of the great science fiction artists of the 1950s, Al Williamson was tapped to illustrate the fourth series of this iconic space hero. During this time period, the artist's style transitions from gestural to more precise. The cover demonstrates this through its sharpness and clarity. Williamson's inside stories are even better, showcasing dynamically drawn figures against imaginative backdrops. His special attention to lighting establishes mood and setting to great effect. This new, contemporary Flash Gordon is more active, adventurous and masculine. The inside front and back covers feature black and white pin-ups, possibly reprinted from earlier Alex Raymond newspaper strips(?). As an added bonus, a map of the planet Mongo appears on the back cover. Other artists in this issue include Don Heck (Mandrake the Magician story). This is number 1 of 4 Flash Gordon v4 issues with Williamson art and/or covers (not including reprints).
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Williamson cover pencils and inks = ***
"Flash Gordon"
Williamson story pencils and inks 15 pages = ****
"Flash Gordon and the Mole Machine" Williamson story pencils and inks 12 pages = ****


Flash Gordon v4 #1 1960s silver age science fiction comic book page art by Al Williamson
Al Williamson

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>this issue >Williamson >Flash Gordon
Jack Kirby
Strange Tales v1 #110, 1963 - Plagued by nightmares every night, a man seeks help from a well-known mystic named Doctor Strange. In the character's first appearance, the story reveals a few of his magical abilities and introduces his mentor Ancient One. Tasked with the artwork, Steve Ditko creates one of Marvel's more exotic heroes. The story is brief and the panels numerous, but the artist does a credible job given the limitations. Ditko would soon expand his graphic vocabulary, depicting strange new worlds, dimensions and characters. Less significant is Jack Kirby's rather mediocre Human Torch cover. Other artists in this issue include Matt Fox and Dick Ayers.
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Kirby cover pencils (Dick Ayers inks) = **
"Dr. Strange Master of Black Magic" Ditko story pencils and inks 5 pages = ***

Steve Ditko
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>this issue >Ditko >Kirby >Strange Tales
Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery v1 #5, 1963 - A group of typical suburban couples get together to dabble in black magic. As a ouija board spells out predictions, one of the wives begins behaving erratically. Interestingly, Alex Toth omits the typically thin lines that frame the panels, relying instead on thicker white borders separated by pale colors. The pages look a bit more varied without sacrificing clarity of sequence. Toth does a understated job overall, but the facial expressions of his characters (see interior page below) show a mastery of nuance and human emotions. This is number 1 of 1 Boris Karloff issues with Toth art and/or covers.
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"Possessed" Toth story pencils (Mike Peppe inks) 11 pages = ***

Alex Toth
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>this issue >Toth >Boris Karloff

Tarzan v1 #82, 1956 - Prince Notango makes his back to Zululand on his trusty mule, but not before a band of thieves try to steal his mount. Plenty of action  gives Russ Manning the chance to showcase his fine illustrations. His rendition of  horses and hyenas look especially good in this story. Other artists in this issue include Jessie Marsh. This is number 43 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 = ***

Russ Manning
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>this issue >Manning >Tarzan