Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Man-Bat #1 - Steve Ditko art

Man-Bat v1 #1 dc comic book cover art by Jim AparoMan-Bat v1 #1 dc 1970s batman comic book page art by Steve Ditko
Man-Bat v1 #1, 1975 - After his introduction in Detective Comics #400 and subsequent appearances, Man-Bat graduates to his own series. The Batman makes a guest appearance in an obvious attempt to draw in more readers. An evil sorcerer concocts a sinister plan in the interior story, giving Steve Ditko a chance to draw graphically interesting occult scenes. Not surprisingly, they are not dissimilar to his early Doctor Strange works. Overall the artist struggles to depict Man-Bat's beastly appearance without looking too cartoonish. Likewise, his rendition of Batman is just passable and may be his only rendition of the hero (?). Other artists in this issue include Jim Aparo (cover). This is number 1 of 1 Man-Bat issues with Ditko art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Ditko or Man-Bat issues. See also this blog's Ditko checklist.
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"Beware the Eyes of Baron Tyme" Ditko story pencils (Al Milgrom inks) 18 pages = **
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Ditko issues, >more Man-Bat issues

Monday, December 6, 2010

Summer Fun #2 - Cark Barks art

Walt Disney's Summer Fun (Dell Giant) v1 #2, 1959 - Like most Dell Giants, this issue has stories interspersed with games and puzzles. Carl Barks draws a pair of delightful tales that outshine the rest of the book. In the first, Uncle Scrooge and Gyro Gearloose suffer from the same medical condition and share their remedy. Though most of the panels are small and numerous, it is reliably well drawn. In the second story, Donald Duck and his nephews try their hand at filmmaking. Their adventure leads them to the African jungle and encountering its wild inhabitants. This effort has more humorous situations and overall more visual appeal. "Jungle Hijinks" was later reprinted in Donald Duck Adventures #1 and "Fun? What's That?" was later reprinted in Uncle Scrooge #223. Other Disney characters featured in their own stories include Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Dumbo, Jiminy Cricket and Pluto. This is number 1 of 1 Summer Fun issues with Barks art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Barks or Summer Fun issues. See also this blog's Carl Barks checklist.
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"Fun? What's That?" (Gyro Gearloose) Barks story pencils and inks 10 pages = ***
"Jungle Hijinks" (Donald Duck) Barks story pencils and inks 10 pages = ****
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Barks issues

Tim Holt #17 - Frank Frazetta cover

Tim Holt v1 #17 golden age western comic book cover art by Frank FrazettaTim Holt v1 #17, 1950 - The Ghost Rider eerily emerges from the darkness to prevent a man from being tortured. In the foreground, a branding iron glows menacingly while emitting errant sparks. Frank Frazetta draws the figures confidently, while omitting most of the shadows. Note how the hero's windblown cape makes him appear larger and more threatening. Although early in his career, Frazetta's talent is clearly evident. This is number 1 of 3 Tim Holt issues with Frazetta art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Frazetta, Ghost Rider or Tim Holt issues. See also this blog's Frank Frazetta checklist or Top 10 Frazetta comics.
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Frazetta cover pencils and inks = ****
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Frazetta issues, >more Tim Holt issues

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Detective Comics #404 - Neal Adams art & cover

Detective Comics #404 dc Batman Enemy Ace comic book cover art by Neal AdamsDetective Comics #404 dc Batman Enemy Ace comic book page art by Neal Adams
Detective Comics v1 #404,
1970 - When Bruce Wayne bankrolls a film about Baron Von Hammer (Enemy Ace), murder and sabotage stop its production. The Batman investigates, leading to a aerial dogfight with the famed pilot's ancestor. Neal Adams' style dominates the story, but for a handful of panels featuring the supporting character. In these he mimics and pays homage to Joe Kubert, Enemy Ace's artist and co-creator. While not completely inconsistent, it only mildly distracts from the story. Other artists in this issue include Gil Kane. See today's posts or more Adams or ;Detective Comics issues. See also this blog's Adams checklist or Top 10 Adams comics.
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Adams cover pencils (Dick Giordano inks) = **
"Ghost Of The Killer Skies" Adams story pencils (Dick Giordano inks) 15 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue>more Adams issues, >more Detective Comics issues

Noman #1 - mis-attributed Al Williamson / Wally Wood cover

Noman v1 #1 - Al Williamson / Wally Wood tower silver age 1960s comic book cover artNoman v1 #1, 1966 - A collaborative effort by two great artists results in this competently illustrated cover. Al Williamson rarely did covers, and in this case he benefited from Wally Wood's fine inking. The details on the encroaching caveman are impressive, from the muscular anatomy to the texture of the clothing. The overall layout is a bit less compelling than expected, perhaps due to too few compositional elements. Some comic book guides credit the pencils to Wood and the inks to Williamson, but closer inspection leads me to believe it's actually the reverse (look for yourself and share your opinion). Unusually, rather than the title character standing out in the forefront, an invisible Noman is relegated to the background. This is 1 of 1 Noman issues with Williamson art and/or covers and 1 of 2 Noman issues with Wood art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Williamson, Wood or Noman issues. See also this blog's Williamson checklist or Wood checklist.
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Williamson cover pencils / Wood inks = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue>more Williamson issues>more Wood issues, >more Noman issues

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Superman #400 - Jim Steranko, Jack Kirby, Bernie Wrightson, Al Williamson, Steve Ditko, Walt Simonson, Frank Miller, Marshall Rogers, John Byrne art

Superman #400, 1984 - This thick anniversary issue boasts many 0f comicdom's best writers and artists. A select handful drew story pages while most did single page pin-ups. Some of the more unexpected contributors include the French artist Moebius, Will Eisner (creator of the Spirit), Wendy Pini (Elfquest), Jerry Robinson (golden age Batman artist) and Leonard Starr of Little Orphan Annie fame. Nine artists featured on this blog are included in this celebratory issue, with varying degrees of success. Frank Miller's pages, though conceptually interesting, is the visually weakest with the exception of his subdued back cover. Al Williamson's sequence has both his pencils and inks, a rarity in his 1980s DC comics. Jack Kirby, Walt Simonson, Marshall Rogers, and John Byrne all perform splendidly with their tasks. Both Bernie Wrightson and Steve Ditko submit the finest pin-ups in the book, though neither artist had much experience with the title character. The most stunning pages in the issue are five double page spreads by Jim Steranko. Large imposing figures are placed upon a sequence of mostly vertical panels. Told in a narrative format, the layouts bear a similarity to the artist's "Outland" movie adaptation. Photographic and op art textures are Steranko hallmarks, and he uses them masterfully here. Other artists in this issue include Joe Orlando, Brian Bolland, Mike Kaluta, Jack Davis, Mike Grell, Klaus Janson, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Howard Chaykin (cover). The interior page shown above is by Steranko. This is number 2 of 3 Superman issues with Williamson art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Steranko, Byrne, Ditko, Williamson, Kirby, Miller, Rogers, Simonson, Wrightson or Superman issues. See also this blog's Kirby checklistByrne checklistWilliamson checklist, Miller checklistDitko checklist, Steranko checklist, Top 10 Steranko comics, Rogers checklist, Top 10 Rogers comics, Simonson checklist, Wrightson checklist or Top 10 Wrightson comics.
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Byrne pencils and inks 1 page pin-up = ***
pencils and inks 1 page pin-up = ****
pencils (Terry Austin inks) 1 page pin-up = ***
Miller story pencils and inks 4 pages = **
Miller back cover pencils and inks = ***
Simonson pencils and inks 1 page pin-up = ***
Steranko story pencils and inks 10 pages = ****
Rogers story pencils (Terry Austin inks) 7 pages = ***
Williamson story pencils and inks 8 pages = ***
Wrightson pencils and inks 1 page pin-up = ****
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Steranko issues, >more Williamson issues, >more Byrne issues, >more Ditko issues, >more Kirby issues, >more Miller issues, >more Rogers issues, >more Simonson issues, >more Wrightson issues, >more Superman issues

Readers' Poll: Most Attractive Comic Book Women

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See today's posts or more readers polls. See also more series checklistsartist checklists or top 10 lists.

Teen-age Romances #7 - Matt Baker art

Teen-age Romances v1 #7, 1949 - A young girl leaves the confines of her small town, leaving her boyfriend in the process. While not atypical of the romance stories at the time, Matt Baker's sumptuous drawings are better than most during this period. There is a good bit of dialogue and text on many of the panels (also standard for romance comics), but this story seems busier than usual. Still, Baker manages to fill the remaining spaces with skill and sensitivity. This story was later reprinted in Diary Secrets #15. This is number 7 of 42 Teen-age Romances issues with Baker art and/or covers. See today's posts, more Baker or Teen-age Romances issues. See also this blog's Baker checklist.
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"I Ran Away from Home" Baker story pencils and inks 8 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue>more Baker issues, >more Teen-age Romances issues

Friday, December 3, 2010

Captain Sindbad - Russ Manning art

Captain Sindbad gold key 1960s silver age comic book page art by Russ Manning
Captain Sindbad (#100-77-309), 1963 - Adapting the MGM movie of the same name, this issue was one of many film properties licensed to Gold Key. The cover typically displays several movie stills, suggesting an authorized connection to the film. Russ Manning, no stranger to the adventure genre, handles the interior art with enthusiasm. All manner of exotic locales, elaborate costumes and fantastic creatures are lushly illustrated. Manning also uses patterns and ornamentation in many scenes, including architecture and interiors. This is number 1 of 1 Captain Sindbad issues with Manning art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Manning issues. See also this blog's Manning checklist.
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"Captain Sindbad" Manning story pencils and inks 32 pages = ****
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Find on ebay: >this issue>more Manning issues

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Dracula Lives #4 - Mike Ploog art

Dracula Lives v1 #4, 1975
- After being instrumental in the success of other Marvel horror tiles (among them Werewolf by Night, Man-Thing and Frankenstein), it seems obvious that Mike Ploog would have a turn at Dracula. Unfortunately, his promising pencils are largely quashed by the heavy-handed inks of Ernie Chan. His tighter and overly detail approach take the spontaneity out of the initial drawings. While there are few pages where Ploog's layouts are recognizable, this is mostly a failed pairing of incompatible styles. Other artists in this issue include Vincente Alcazar, Rich Buckler, Klaus Janson, Tony Mortellaro (reprint), Joe Maneely (reprint), Pablo Marcos and Earl Norem (cover). This is number 1 of 1 Dracula Lives issues with Ploog art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Ploog or Dracula Lives issues. See also this blog's Ploog checklist or Top 10 Ploog comics.
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"Fear Stalker" Ploog story pencils (Ernie Chan inks) 14 pages (black and white) = *
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Find on ebay: >this issue>more Ploog issues, >more Dracula Lives issues

Chief Victorio's Apache Massacre - Al Williamson / Frank Frazetta art

Chief Victorio's Apache Massacre, 1951 - This one-shot issue tells of Chief Victorio, an Apache chief known for his raids in the Southwest. Despite the brutality practiced by both races during the Old West, Indians would be portrayed far more negatively in comics and other media. While this cover opts for a more savage depiction, Al Williamson's version is more complex and dignified. The larger first panel is a stunning, painterly illustration of Victorio at the time of his death. The quality of the pencils begins to deteriorate toward the final pages, as panels begin to simplify and omit details. The excellence of Frank Frazetta's inking really enhance the pages and are primarily responsible for the artwork's success. This is number 1 of 1 Chief Victorio's Apache Massacre issues with Frazetta art and/or covers and number 1 of 1 Chief Victorio's Apache Massacre issues with Williamson art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Frazetta, Williamson or Chief Victorio's Apache Massacre issues. See also this blog's Williamson checklist or Frazetta checklist or Top 10 Frazetta comics.
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"Chief Victorio's Last Stand" Williamson story pencils / Frazetta inks 7 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Frazetta issues, >more Williamson issues

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

1984 #4 - Alex Nino art

1984 (magazine) v1 #4, 1978 - Alex Nino illustrates a distant future where women are sacrificed to an unseen beatnik god. The artist employs an unusual and little used format, drawing the story vertically rather than horizontally. Additionally, he imposes a six and seven panel vertical grid on every page that extends an illusion of height. He varies the readers' points of view and carefully distributes black and white areas into graphic patterns. His weakest page is the opener, laden with too much text. Other artists in this issue include Richard Corben, Jose Oritz, Estaban Maroto, Jim Janes, Rudy Nebres, Jose Gonzales, Abel Laxamana, Herb Arnold and Patirck Woodruff (cover). This is number 4 of 10 1984 magazine issues with Nino art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Nino or 1984 issues. See also this blog's Nino checklist.
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"Mondo Megillah" Nino story pencils and inks 12 pages (black and white) = ****
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Nino issues, >more 1984 magazine issues