Friday, January 7, 2011

Matt Slade Gunfighter #1 - Al Williamson art

Matt Slade Gunfighter v1 #1, 1956 - A fearful town awaits a man with eighteen notches on his gun-belt, but things aren't always as they seem. This Al Williamson story has generously large panels for only a four page story, but maintains an adequate pace. Angelo Torres' inking is a little too loose in certain scenes and the the proportions of horse and rider on page four, panel four are considerably off. Still, their collaborative effort generally meets expectations. Other artists in this issue include John Severin and Joe Maneely (cover & three stories). This is number 1 of 2 Matt Slade Gunfighter issues with Williamson art. See today's posts or more Williamson or Matt Slade Gunfighter issues. See also this blog's Williamson checklist.
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"When Kelly Came to Town" Williamson story pencils (Angelo Torres inks) 4 pages = ***
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Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Unexpected #138 - Wally Wood art

The Unexpected v1 #138, 1972 - Stumbling upon an oriental curio shop, a power-hungry man is tasked to find an ancient object. Unlike his previous stories on this title, Wally Wood inks his own pencils, resulting in one of his most stunning works of the bronze age. Large spacious panels begin and conclude the tale, but the pages in between are far superior. The underground settings allow for dramatically lit faces and textured backgrounds. On page two and elsewhere, the Wood's detailing of various Asian objects is exquisite, suggesting a knowledge of Eastern culture. Other artists in this issue include Art Saaf, Alfredo Alcala and Nick Cardy (cover). This is number 3 of 3 Unexpected issues with Wood art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Wood or Unexpected issues. See also this blog's Wood checklist.
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"Strange Secret of the Huan Shan Idol" Wood story pencils and inks 9 pages = ****
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Supernatural Thrillers #1 - Jim Steranko cover

Supernatural Thrillers v1 #1 marvel 1970s bronze age comic book cover art by Jim SterankoSupernatural Thrillers v1 #1, 1972 - This premiere issue features an adaptation based on Theodore Sturgeon's It!. The timing coincides with the "swamp monster" trend prevalent during the 1970s. Jim Steranko does a worthy cover rendition, despite being confined to a smaller area than usual. Note the artist's use of intricate textures on the background tree, rocks, clouds and muck monster itself. Other artists in this issue include Marie Severin and Frank Giacoia. This is number 1 of 2 Supernatural Thrillers issues with Steranko art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Steranko or Supernatural Thrillers issues. See also this blog's Steranko checklist or Top 10 Steranko comics.
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Steranko cover pencils and inks = ***
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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Gallant Men #1 - Russ Manning art

The Gallant Men v1 #1 dell war comic book page art by Russ Manning
The Gallant Men v1 #1, 1963 - This one-shot Gold Key comic adapts the 1960s television series of the same name. Following a company of American soldiers during World War Two, the show chronicles their journey as they make their way through war-torn Italy. Two nicely illustrated stories by Russ Manning fill the issue, his renowned linework and draftsmanship evident on every page. A few larger panels, like the scene of a full scale attack (see inset above), help break the monotony of small and medium-sized frames that comprise most of the book. His combat scenes look unusually sanitized for a war comic, but are otherwise excellent. This may be Manning's only war comic of his career. This is number 1 of 1 Gallant Men issues with Manning art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Manning or Gallant Men issues. See also this blog's Russ Manning checklist.
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"The Gallant Men" Manning story pencils and inks 17 pages = ****
"The Time is Now"
Manning story pencils and inks 15 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue>more Manning issues

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Planet of Vampires #1 - Neal Adams cover

Planet of Vampires v1 #1 1970s bronze age comic book cover art by Neal AdamsPlanet of Vampires v1 #1, 1975 - Despite the title, there are no vampires in the traditional sense. This ambitious science fiction title follows a group of space travelers returning to Earth's post-apocalyptic future. The cover showcases a fine example of Neal Adams' precise inking. His style mostly suppresses that of the penciller, but to the benefit of the series. Shadows and highlights are masterfully applied, giving this premiere issue much-needed attention. Other artists in this issue include Pat Broderick and Frank McLaughlin. This is number 1 of 2 Planet of Vampires issues with Adams art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Adams or Planet of Vampires issues. See also this blog's Adams checklist or Top 10 Adams comics.
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Adams cover inks (Pat Broderick pencils) = ****
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Find on ebay: >this issue>more Adams issues>more Planet of Vampires issues

Tales of Ghost Castle #1 - Nestor Redondo art

Tales of Ghost Castle v1 #1, 1975 - Nestor Redondo's work for DC horror books began to wane by the mid 1970s, as evidenced by this issue. His opening pages introduce Lucien, a librarian and keeper of stories that would reappear decades later in Neil Gaiman's Sandman series. Though Redondo' s contribution is small, his drawings are exemplary. The first page's exterior of a medieval castle is beautifully textured, surpassing the artwork in the rest of the book. Other artists in this issue include Buddy Grenale, Quico Redondo, Rubeny, Sergio Aragones (single gag page) and Ernie Chua/Chan (cover). This is number 1 of 1 Tales of Ghost Castle issues with Redondo art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Redondo or Tales of Ghost Castle issues. See also this blog's Redondo checklist or Top 10 Redondo comics.
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"Tales of Ghost Castle" Redondo story pencils and inks 2 intro pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Redondo issues, >more Ghost Castle issues

Monday, January 3, 2011

Love Romances #97 - Jack Kirby art & cover

Love Romances v1 #97, 1961 - For Kirby fans, the good news is that this entire issue is drawn by him. Unfortunately, all four stories fall short of the artist's best work. Each opens with either a large title panel or full page splash, yet fails to establish interest. The layouts are monotonous and largely forgettable. Vince Colletta inks all four tales and neither enhances nor damages Kirby's lackluster pencils. See today's posts or more Kirby or Love Romances issues. See also this blog's Kirby checklist.
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Kirby cover pencils (Vince Colletta inks) = *
"My Life Is Yours" Kirby story pencils (Vince Colletta inks) 4 pages = **
"Little Girl" Kirby story pencils (Vince Colletta inks) 7 pages = **
"And So We Meet" Kirby story pencils (Vince Colletta inks) 7 pages = **
"The Kiss" Kirby story pencils (Vince Colletta inks) 5 pages = **
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Sunday, January 2, 2011

This is War #5 - Alex Toth art

This is War v1 #5 standard comic book page art by Alex Toth
This is War v1 #5, 1952 - A sergeant with faltering eyesight is relieved from combat duty, much to his disappointment. Alex Toth's artwork is succinct and capably drawn, but nothing exceptional. The story opens with a large title panel, depicting the soldier at his desk as his mind imagines recent events. Toth creatively uses cigarette smoke to waft upward and expand, creating the borders for the character's thoughts. This is the artistic highlight of the story, as the remaining pages adhere to mostly repetitive panel layouts. Other artists in this issue include Rocco Mastroserio. This is number 1 of 3 This is War issues with Toth art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Toth or This is War issues. See also this blog's Toth checklist.
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"Show Them How To Die" Toth story pencils (John Celardo? inks) 6 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Toth issues, >more This is War issues

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Buster Crabbe #4 - Frank Frazetta art & cover

Buster Crabbe v1 #4 golden age comic book cover art by Frank FrazettaBuster Crabbe v1 #4 golden age comic book red cross ad by Frank Frazetta
Buster Crabbe v1 #4, 1952 - On his first of two covers for the series, Frank Frazetta displays both his artistic strengths and weaknesses. The cowboy leaps from a helicopter to save a damsel in distress, yet his perspective is far from credible. Buster's outstretched arm is poorly foreshortened and the woman is disproportionately too large for her horse (who also seems to missing a foreleg). Despite all this, the young Frazetta compensates with his exhilarating drawing style. Compare this to his straightforward and informative Red Cross ad inside (see interior page above). This is number 2 of 5 Buster Crabbe issues with Frazetta art and/or covers. See today's posts, more Frazetta or Buster Crabbe issues. See also this blog's Frazetta checklist, Top 10 Frazetta comics or the original cover from this issue.
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Frazetta cover pencils and inks = ***
Red Cross ad, Frazetta pencils and inks 1 page = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Frazetta issues, >more Buster Crabbe issues