Monday, February 7, 2011

Amazing Ghost Stories #15 - Matt Baker cover

Amazing Ghost Stories v1 #15 - Matt Baker 1950s golden age comic book cover artAmazing Ghost Stories v1 #15, 1954 - A ghost commands zombie-like slaves while a woman seeks to escape on horseback. This Matt Baker cover provides only sparest of information about the story, but is still compelling even in its ambiguity. The stone arch leads the eye to the phantom, whose arm in turn points toward the young woman. The foreground leaves and palm trees in the the background suggest a tropical locale in the midst of a storm. Though not his strongest layout, Baker's superb draftsmanship is still very much present. This is number 2 of 3 Amazing Ghost Stories issues with Baker art and/or covers. See today's posts, more Baker or Amazing Ghost Stories issues. See also this blog's Matt Baker checklist.
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Baker cover pencils and inks = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Baker issues>more Amazing Ghost Stories issues

Dead of Night #11 / Scarecrow - Bernie Wrightson cover

Dead of Night v1 #11 - Bernie Wrightson marvel horror 1970s bronze age comic book cover artDead of Night v1 #11, 1975 - The Scarecrow makes his first appearance in the last issue of this Marvel horror title, previously a vehicle for Atlas reprints. Unlike DC's villainous counterpart, this character is one of several monster/heroes introduced during the bronze age. Bernie Wrightson inks over Gil Kane's pencils on the cover, but unfortunately doesn't meet expectations. His brushwork on the title character is impressive, but the rest of the layout is too lightly applied. Overall, his distinctive style only partially emerges. This is 1 of 1 Dead of Night issues with Wrightson art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Wrightson or Dead of Night issues. See also this blog's Wrightson checklist or Top 10 Wrightson comics.
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Wrightson cover inks (Gil Kane pencils) = **
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Wrightson issues>more Dead of Night issues

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Mister Miracle #7 - Jack Kirby art, cover & reprint

Mister Miracle v1 #7 dc 1970s bronze age comic book cover art by Jack KirbyMister Miracle v1 #7 dc 1970s bronze age comic book page art by Jack Kirby
Mister Miracle v1 #7, 1972 - Jack Kirby's convoluted cover is further marred by the colorist, who inexplicably adds red outlines to Mister Miracle's eyes and lips. The resulting clownish face looks almost minstrel-like. Inside, the artist compensates for it with three bold splash pages and a panoramic double page spread. While only adequately paced, there are several painstakingly detailed panels (some on pages 11-13) that are dynamically pleasing. The back-up Kirby story "Young Scott Free" almost maintains the level of quality as the main feature. A Simon & Kirby tale from from Boy Commandos #3 rounds out the book. This is number 7 of 18 Mr. Miracle issues with Kirby art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Kirby or Mister Miracle issues. See also this blog's Kirby checklist.
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Kirby cover pencils (Mike Royer inks) = **
"Apokolips Trap" Kirby story pencils (Mike Royer inks) 22 pages = ****
"Young Scott Free" Kirby story pencils (Mike Royer inks) 4 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Kirby issues, >more Mister Miracle issues

Further Adventures of Indiana Jones #1 - John Byrne art


Further Adventures of Indiana Jones v1 #1, 1983 - Marvel Comics adapted the Steven Spielberg movies a few years earlier in the large format Marvel Super Special series. This first attempt at an ongoing comic book series begins with brand new stories. John Byrne teams up with inker Terry Austin on this enjoyable and adventurous tale. The artists capture the likeness of actor Harrison Ford more successfully than most, adding more credibility to the series. The most impressive aspect of Byrne's art is the array of textures, from Indy's perpetual five o' clock shadow to the exotic backgrounds. Beautifully paced and laid out, this issue gives the series a worthy start. Cover by Terry Austin. This is number 1 of 2 Further Adventures of Indiana Jones issues with Byrne art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Byrne or Further Adventures of Indiana Jones issues. See also this blog's Byrne checklist.
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Untitled Byrne story pencils (Terry Austin inks) 22 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue>more Byrne issues>more Further Adventures of Indiana Jones issues

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Unexpected #162 - non-attributed Nestor Redondo art, non-attributed Alex Nino art, Jack Kirby reprint


The Unexpected v1 #122, 1975 - Like many DC 100 page super-spectaculars of the 1970s, this issue boasted both new and reprinted material. Nestor Redondo's contents page opens the issue with exquisite detail, depicting a pair of late night grave robbers. Equally stunning is Alex Nino's story of a slew of Satanic murders and the fortune teller who foresees them. His pacing and layout are masterful, beginning with the ornately eerie opening scene. Some comic book guides fail to credit both artists in this issue. With the exception of "The Man Who Betrayed Earth", a Jack Kirby tale from the 1960s, most of the reprints are underwhelming. The interior page above is by Nino. Other artists in this issue include Ruben Yandoc, Pat Boyette, Bill Draut, Abe Ocampo, Nick Cardy (cover) and others. This is number 3 of 7 Unexpected issues with Redondo art and/or covers and number 1 of 1 Unexpected issues with Nino art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Redondo, Nino, Kirby or Unexpected issues. See also this blog's Kirby checklistNino checklistRedondo checklist or Top 10 Redondo comics.
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Redondo contents page pencils and inks = ****
"When Is it My Turn to Die?" Nino story pencils and inks 8 pages = ****
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Kirby issues>more Nino issues, >more Redondo issues, >more Unexpected issues

Bobby Benson's B-Bar-B Riders #11 - Frank Frazetta cover

Bobby Benson's B-Bar-B Riders v1 #11 western comic book cover art by Frank FrazettaBobby Benson's B-Bar-B Riders v1 #11, 1951 - Frank Frazetta captures the precise moment when Bobby's dog stops a man from lethally injecting a horse. His figures are momentarily suspended in time, a visual approach not dissimilar to stop-motion photography. There is a noticeable lack of foreshortening on the young hero's foreground arm, but otherwise Frazetta draws a scene of genuine intensity. This is number 2 of 3 Bobby Benson's B-Bar-B Riders issues with Frazetta art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Frazetta or Bobby Benson's B-Bar-B Riders issues. See also this blog's 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 Bobby Benson's B-Bar-B Riders issues

Sugar Bowl Comics #3 - Alex Toth art

Sugar Bowl v1 #3 golden age comic book page art by Alex Toth
Sugar Bowl Comics v1 #3, 1948 - While artistically superior to the other stories within the same issue, Alex Toth nonetheless struggles with some of the basics. Figure drawing, foreshortening and even basic composition are lacking here, but these skills would be finely tuned in subsequent years. One revealing highlight of this story is his early inclination toward heaving inking. He shows an intuitive knack for distributing lights and darks. This is number 2 of 2 Sugar Bowl Comics issues with Toth art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Toth or Sugar Bowl Comics issues. See also this blog's Toth checklist.
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"Randy" Toth story pencils and inks 11 pages = **
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Find on ebay: >this issue>more Toth issues>more Sugar Bowl Comics issues

Friday, February 4, 2011

Andy Hardy #6 - Al Hubbard art & cover


Andy Hardy v1 #6, 1954 - Artfully drawn and expertly paced, Al Hubbard does an impressive job with the second issue of the regular Andy Hardy series. Unlike the previous issue, two stories begin with the expected large opening panels. The first, the untitled "fiesta queen" story, is competently designed but the second ("airport ride") seems unnecessarily sparse in the upper right area. It suggests a possible last minute edit or production mistake, uncharacteristic of the artist at any rate. Still, Hubbard enhances the stories through his expressive faces and humorously animated figures. This is number 6 of 6 Andy Hardy issues with Hubbard art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Hubbard or Andy Hardy issues. See also this blog's Hubbard checklist.
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Hubbard cover pencils and inks = ***
Hubbard inside front cover pencils and inks (black & white) = ****
Untitled "flower delivery" story Hubbard pencils and inks 10 pages = ****
Untitled "fiesta queen" story Hubbard pencils and inks 13 pages = ****
Untitled "airport ride" story Hubbard pencils and inks 7 pages = ****
Untitled "Miss Glamour" story Hubbard pencils and inks 4 pages (including black & white inside back cover and full color back cover) = ****
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Find on ebay: >this issue>more Hubbard issues>more Andy Hardy issues

Midnight Tales #11 - Don Newton art


Midnight Tales v1 #11, 1975 - The lead story opens with a scene on Mount Olympus, where a youth pleads for his life before Zeus and the other gods of Greek mythology. The surroundings are resplendent in their ornate patterns and decorations. All the stories within this issue follow an ancient mythological theme, but Don Newton's illustrations are the most skillfully drawn. His fine brushwork enhances the classical costumes and settings, making this tale one of his best works for Charlton. Other artists in this issue include Joe Staton and Wayne Howard (art & cover). This is number 1 of 4 Midnight Tales issues with Newton art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Newton or Midnight Tales issues. See also this blog's Don Newton checklist.
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"Orion" Newton story pencils and inks 5 pages = ****
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Newton issues>more Midnight Tales issues


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Get Smart #2 - Steve Ditko art

Get Smart v1 #2 - Steve Ditko dell tv 1960s silver age comic book page art
Get Smart v1 #2, 1966 - Based on the television show, the comic book series had a relatively short run of eight issues. Steve Ditko tries his hand here at slapstick humor, stepping in to pencil the misadventures of Maxwell Smart and Agent 99. Unfortunately, his art is barely recognizable, suppressed under the heavy handed inks of series artist Sal Trapani. The interior page shown above is one of the few high points. One would think Ditko's marionette-like figures would be perfect for this genre, but his drawings appear rushed and the layouts poorly planned. It disappoints artistically, but fascinates at the same time. This is number 1 of 2 Get Smart issues with Ditko art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Ditko or Get Smart issues. See also this blog's Ditko checklist.
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"Self Defeat" Ditko inside front cover pencils (Sal Trapani inks) black and white = **
"The Dumb Dummy" Ditko story pencils
(Sal Trapani inks) 32 pages = *
"Hot Wire" Ditko inside back cover pencils
(Sal Trapani inks) black and white = *
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Find on ebay: >this issue,
>more Ditko issues, >more Get Smart issues
Find on amazon: >this tv show

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Unexpected #161 - Bernie Wrightson reprint

The Unexpected v1 #161, 1975 - Within this one hundred pager resides a handful of new stories buffered with horror reprints from the 1960s and early 1970s. Nick Cardy draws one of his more disturbing yet compelling covers that pervade the bronze age. Inside, there is a passable reprint of Bernie Wrightson's "Ball of String" from Unexpected #116. Other artists in this issue include Lee Elias, Rubeny, Ruben Moriera, Werner Roth, Frank Giacoia, Jerry Grandenetti, George Roussos, George Tuska, Bruno Premiani, and Nick Cardy (cover). See today's posts or more Wrightson or Unexpected issues. See also this blog's Wrightson checklist or Top 10 Wrightson comics.
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Wrightson issues>more Unexpected issues

Doc Savage v2 #2 - Jim Steranko cover

Doc Savage v2 #2 marvel bronze age comic book cover art by Jim Steranko Doc Savage v2 #2, 1973 - The hero stands before an ancient South American pyramid, surrounded by cult figures and warriors. Jim Steranko captures Doc Savage in a moment of hesitation, unsure of his next move while fires blaze in the background. The artist's drawings of pre-Columbian statuary and other decorative details not only are exemplary, but have the feel of authenticity. The entire scene seems to be a precursor to the Indiana Jones films which would come a few years later. Other artists in this issue include Ross Andru and Ernie Chan. This is number 1 of 2 Doc Savage issues with Steranko art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Steranko or Doc Savage 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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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Steranko issues>more Doc Savage issues

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Love Romances #98 - Jack Kirby art & cover


Love Romances v1 #98, 1961 - An entire book dedicated to Jack Kirby's artwork would normally be cause of celebration, but this issue largely disappoints. Throughout the four stories, panels are barren and layouts are uninspired. Vince Colletta only reinforces these faults with his quickly applied, insensitive inking. The last story, "Lovers' Quarrel" is generally the strongest, especially with its more carefully considered and dramatically lit opening splash. 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) = **
"I'm Lost Without You" Kirby story pencils (Vince Colletta inks) 7 pages = **
"Second Best" Kirby story pencils (Vince Colletta inks) 6 pages = **
"My Kind of Man" Kirby story pencils (Vince Colletta inks) 5 pages = **
"It Was Only a Simple Lovers' Quarrel, but Oh the Heatbreak It Would Cause" Kirby story pencils (Vince Colletta inks) 5 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Kirby issues, >more Love Romances issues

Jungle Jim v4 #22 -Steve Ditko / Wally Wood art & cover, Wally Wood art


Jungle Jim v4 #22, 1969 - Wally Wood did a cover for the series only two years prior, but this issue showcases much more of his storytelling skills. His drawings and figures from this era can be a bit stiff, but his inking adds volume and dimension. Of his three stories, the third is the strongest primarily due to Steve Ditko's penciling. The layouts and drawings are generally more fluid, and additionally benefit from Wood's sensitive finishes. The cover is enlarged from a Ditko/Wood interior panel and reproduces much better than expected. This is number 2 of 3 Jungle Jim issues with Wood art and/or covers and number 1 of 3 Jungle Jim issues with Ditko art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Wood, Ditko or Jungle Jim issues. See also this blog's Ditko checklist or Wood checklist.
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"The Witch Doctor of Borges Island"
Wood story pencils and inks 7 pages = ***
"The Golden Goddess of Thalthor"
Wood story pencils and inks 7 pages = ***
"The Wizard of Dark Mountain"
Ditko story pencils / Wood inks 7 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue>more Ditko issues, >more Wood issues, >more Jungle Jim issues

Yellowjacket Comics - comic series checklist






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Yellowjacket Comics v1
Charlton
1944-46

1
2-4
5,6
7 - Alex Toth art
8-10

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See today's posts, more series checklists or the master list of series. See also this blog's artist checkliststop 10 lists or readers polls.