Sunday, November 7, 2010

Buster Crabbe #3 - Al Williamson art & cover

Buster Crabbe v1 #3 golden age comic book cover art by Al WilliamsonBuster Crabbe v1 #3 golden age comic book page art by Al Williamson
Buster Crabbe v1 #3, 1952 - Al Williamson's work combines both western and horror elements as Buster Crabbe and Whiskers encounter mountain ogres. The large club on the cover is a purposely threatening, while the whitened bones on reinforce the danger. Williamson brings the same heroic effort to the interior story. His superb draftsmanship is smoothly delineated by inker George Evans. While superior to the rest of the book, their collaborative effort is most impressive on the final two pages. This is number 2 of 3 Buster Crabbe issues with Williamson art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Williamson or Buster Crabbe issues. See also this blog's Williamson checklist.
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Williamson cover pencils (George Evans inks) = ***
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The Ogre" Williamson story pencils (George Evans inks) 7 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Williamson issues>more Buster Crabbe issues

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Unexpected #133 - non-attributed Nestor Redondo art


The Unexpected v1 #133, 1972 - Two 1950s reprints and three new stories fill out this 52 page mystery book from the bronze age. Although not credited in comic book guides, Nestor Redondo delivers one of his finest horror stories. Enormously rich brothers at an exclusive private school conspire to murder their teacher, as a lesson to all who would oppose them. Beautifully drawn settings are enhanced by classic architectural details, permeating the story with wealth and privilege. Redondo's first page, deftly depicting the school's stone facade and iron gates, is a splash page that is not immediately obvious but works nonetheless. Other artists in this issue include Dick Dillin, Frank Giacoia, Werner Roth, Mike Esposito and Jack Sparling (cover). This is number 1 of 7 Unexpected issues with Redondo art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Redondo or Unexpected issues. See also this blog's Redondo checklist or Top 10 Redondo comics.
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"School For Fear" Redondo story pencils and inks 9 pages = ****
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Find on ebay: >this issue>more Redondo issues, >more Unexpected issues

Lassie #20 - Matt Baker art

Lassie v1 #20 dell 1950s tv comic book page art by Matt Baker
Lassie v1 #20, 1955 - Matt Baker's short run on this television comic is a surprise to many. The same artist who produced many of the 1940s "good girl" covers takes a turn on a more wholesome comic book series. Unlike his streamlined and graphic approach in the 1940s to early 1950s, this issue favors more finely drawn lines and varied perspectives. There is a strong sense of the romantic, especially in this rendition of the characters. All three stories in this issue are sensitively detailed and exquisitely paced even within the publisher's six panel grid. This is number 1 of 3 Lassie issues with Baker art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Baker or Lassie issues. See also this blog's Matt Baker checklist.
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"Lassie and the Fiery Mountain" Baker story pencils and inks 12 pages = ****
"Lassie and the Concrete Jungle"
Baker story pencils and inks 10 pages = ****
"Lassie and Down to the Sea"
Baker story pencils and inks 12 pages including inside back cover and back cover = ****
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Baker issues,
>more Lassie issues
Find on amazon:
>this tv show

Friday, November 5, 2010

Iron Man #118 - John Byrne art

Iron Man v1 #118 marvel comic book page art by John Byrne
Iron Man v1 #118, 1979 - Shield becomes infiltrated with spies, just as Tony Stark arrives for a visit. John Byrne does an admirable job on his one and only Iron Man tale. Of his two splash pages, the drawing of the Helicarrier (also shown on the cover) is the more potent image. Much credit goes to inker Bob Layton, who joined the series only two issues prior. His efforts give Iron Man a reflective, metallic sheen rarely emphasized before. Combined with Byrne's superb pencils, the result is one of the best drawn Iron Man stories of the era. This issue also marks the first appearance of Jim Rhodes, who would later become the equally-armored War Machine. Bob Layton is also this issue's cover artist. This is 2 of 4 Iron Man issues with Byrne art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Byrne or Iron Man issues. See also this blog's Byrne checklist.
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"At the Mercy of my Friends" Byrne story pencils (Bob Layton inks) 17 pages = ****
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Byrne issues, >more Iron Man issues

Crazy Magazine #4 - Mike Ploog art


Crazy Magazine v1 #4, 1973 - This issue pokes fun at the 1970s black exploitation hero Shaft, among other characters. The viscous drawing style of Mike Ploog fits the humor genre perfectly without sacrificing aesthetic appeal. The artist's inks and washes make the panels more varied, and help offset the frequent and mechanically typeset word balloons. A high point is the amusing title panel, featuring Shaft among several of his television peers (McCloud, Cannon, Columbo, etc). Even the monstrous Man-Thing (which Ploog was drawing at the time) makes an unexpected cameo on page five, panel five. Other artists in this issue include Dick Wright, John Stevens, Michael Sheeler, Robert Graysmith, Bob Foster, Marie Severin, Herb Trimpe and Kelly Freas (cover) This is number 2 of 3 Crazy Magazine issues with Ploog art. See today's posts or more Ploog or Crazy Magazine issues. See also this blog's Ploog checklist or Top 10 Ploog comics.
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"Shafted" Ploog story pencils and inks 8 pages (black and white) = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue>more Ploog issues>more Crazy Magazine issues

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Two-Fisted Tales #27 - Wally Wood art

Two-Fisted Tales v1 #27, 1952 - General George Armstrong Custer's last stand at the Battle of Little Big Horn is told candidly without false heroism or sentimentality. The fact that this was published during the conservative 1950s makes this all the more unusual and daring. Narrated by one of the soldiers, Wally Wood makes sure the reader experiences the battle from his desperate vantage point. The artist's panoramic scenes are breathtaking, allowing full view of the frontier setting. Wood is also effective in conveying the huge numbers of Sioux warriors, making the massacre evidently plain for readers. Other artists in this issue include Jack Davis, Will Elder, John Severin and Harvey Kurtzman (cover). This is number 10 of 18 Two-Fisted Tales issues with Wood art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Wood or Two-Fisted Tales issues. See also this blog's Wally Wood checklist.
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"Custer's Last Stand" Wood story pencils and inks 7 pages = *****
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Wood issues, >more Two-Fisted Tales issues

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Grimm’s Ghost Stories #8 - Al Williamson art

Grimm’s Ghost Stories v1 #8 - Al Williamson gold key 1970s horror bronze age page art
Grimm’s Ghost Stories v1 #8, 1973 - Al Williamson contributes a ghostly story between two sisters competing for a valuable necklace. The splash page of a car arriving at an old mansion is both foreboding and cinematic. It evokes a similar mood to that of the Dark Shadows television series of the same time period. While slightly shorter in page length than his first effort, his inking and layouts are equally impressive. One of the most effective panels is the eerie nighttime scene of the ghost chasing her sister through the woods (see interior page shown above). This story has also been reprinted in Grimm’s Ghost Stories #47 and #59. This is number 2 of 2 Grimm’s Ghost Stories issues with Williamson art and/or covers (not including reprints). See today's posts or more Grimm's Ghost Stories or Williamson issues. See also this blog's Williamson checklist.
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"The Locket" Williamson story pencils and inks 6 pages = *****
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Williamson issues, >more Grimm’s Ghost Stories issues

Roy Rogers and Trigger #122 - Alex Toth art


Roy Rogers and Trigger v1 #122, 1958 - Roy Rogers investigates a pony express robbery, finding an unlikely clue. Alex Toth continues to draw the lead story with an impressionistic style perfectly suited for the western genre. While the vast majority of pages are rendered with clarity and purpose, a few panels toward the story's end seem curiously unfinished. All in all, Toth's art does not disappoint and few artists could make readers feel the force of a cowboy's punch (see interior page above) like he can. Dan Spiegle makes a respectable artistic contribution on the second Roy Rogers story. This is number 5 of 7 Roy Rogers and Trigger issues with Toth art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Toth or Roy Rogers issues. See also this blog's Alex Toth checklist.
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"The Clue of the Cryptic Key" Toth story pencils and inks 10 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue>more Toth issues, >more Roy Rogers issues

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Further Adventures of Indiana Jones #9 - mis-attributed Walt Simonson cover

Further Adventures of Indiana Jones v1 #9, 1983 - No Walt Simonson cover, despite what some comic book price guides say. The signatures of Howard Chaykin and Terry Austin are clearly seen below Indiana Jones' right leg, just below the ledge. Dan Reed and Danny Bulanadi are the artists on the interior story. See today's posts or more Simonson or Further Adventures of Indiana Jones issues. See also this blog's Walt Simonson checklist.
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Find on ebay: >more Simonson issues, >more Further Adventures of Indiana Jones issues

Strange Tales #64 - Al Williamson art


Strange Tales v1 #64, 1958 - The discovery of a youth serum has hundreds flocking to the scientist who invented it. Al Williamson's painterly inks create a ominous mood on the first two pages (see interior page above) but falters from there. A few panels are obscure, even sloppy in their execution. Most unfortunately is page three panel five, where the face of a mysterious seer is blatantly modified. Her mouth poorly drawn, inconsistent and disproportionate. Probably not done by Williamson himself but perhaps someone making a last minute change in the editorial department? Other artists in this issue include Vic Carrabotta, John Forte, Robert McCarty, Jim Mooney, Bob Powell and Joe Maneely (cover). This is number 2 of 2 Strange Tales issues with Williamson art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Williamson or Strange Tales issues. See also this blog's Williamson checklist.
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"The Secret Laboratory of Dr. Domino" Williamson story pencils and inks 4 pages = **
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Williamson issues, >more Strange Tales issues

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