Saturday, May 7, 2011

Blue Beetle v5 #4 - Steve Ditko art & cover

Blue Beetle v5 #4 charlton 1960s silver age comic book cover art by Steve Ditko Blue Beetle v5 #4 charlton 1960s silver age comic book page art by Steve Ditko
Blue Beetle v5 #4, 1967 - As with the previous installments, the Question back-up stories are noticeably dialogue-heavy, leaving less room for the art. Still, it seems to improve and evolve with each issue. Steve Ditko's cover design is quietly modest compared to his feature story inside. Within a limited grid system, Ditko delivers exquisitely drawn panels at an frenetic and exciting pace. Among the highlights: the multifaceted opening splash and the visually/literally explosive final pages (see interior page shown above). This is number 4 of 5 Blue Beetle v5 issues with Ditko art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Ditko or Blue Beetle issues. See also this blog's Ditko checklist.
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Ditko cover pencils and inks = ***
"The Men of the Mask" Ditko story pencils and inks 18 pages = ****
Untitled Ditko story (The Question) pencils and inks 8 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Ditko issues, >more Blue Beetle issues

Our Love Story #5 - Jim Steranko art

Our Love Story v1 #5 - Jim Steranko marvel bronze age romance comic book page art
Our Love Story v1 #5, 1970
- An aspiring actress goes to Hollywood, only to fall for a handsome young director. Jim Steranko's one and only romance tale has a noticeably different approach than his other Marvel works. He emphasizes line and shape rather than gradations and modeling, resulting in flatter, more design-oriented layouts. There are references to art deco, psychedelia and mod fashions with resemblances to 1960s artist Peter Max. Steranko is brilliant in his layout and pacing, consistent with his other works of the same era. The artist courageously tries something new (and succeeds) while staying faithful to the romance genre. This story has also been reprinted in My Love #23 and (of all places) Captain America Special Edition #2. Other artists in this issue include John Buscema and Gene Colan, both of whom display some of their finest work. This is number 1 of 1 Our Love Story issues with Steranko art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Our Love Story or Steranko issues. See also this blog's Steranko checklist or Top 10 Steranko comics.
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"My Heart Broke In Hollywood" Steranko story pencils and inks 7 pages = ****
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Find on ebay: >this issue>more Steranko issues, >more Our Love Story issues

Friday, May 6, 2011

Sheriff of Tombstone #1 - non-attributed Al Williamson cover

Sheriff of Tombstone v1 #1, 1958 - Al Williamson drew many western stories during the course of his long career, but this is only the second western that I'm aware of (see Kid Colt Outlaw #54). This is easily the more dynamic of the two, supported by convincing figure drawing and the angular placement of objects. A couple of sources credit the inks to John Severin, but they seem stylistically more similar to Dick Giordano. Curiously, Overstreet's guide credits Williamson on the reprinted version on Gunfighters #56 but not the original. Other artists in this issue include Sal Trapani. This is number 1 of 1 Sheriff of Tombstone issues with Williamson art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Williamson or Sheriff of Tombstone issues. See also this blog's Williamson checklist.
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Williamson cover pencils (Dick Giordano inks) = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Williamson issues, >more Sheriff of Tombstone issues

Nick Fury, Agent of Shield #10 - non-attributed Barry Windsor Smith art

Nick Fury Agent of Shield v1 #10 marvel comic book cover artNick Fury Agent of Shield v1 #10 1960s marvel comic book page art by Barry Windsor Smith
Nick Fury, Agent of S.h.i.e.l.d. v1 #10, 1969 - The opening splash is similar to Jim Steranko's earlier efforts, no doubt attempting a consistent look and feel for the series. Barry Smith provides uncredited pencils and/or rough layouts that appear sporadically throughout the story. With the exception of the action scenes on pages 2-3, his drawings appear strained and often unrecognizable. Smith would redeem himself by pencilling a complete story in Nick Fury #12. Other artists in this issue include Frank Springer and Johnny Craig. This is number 1 of 3 Nick Fury issues with Smith art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Smith or Nick Fury issues. See also this blog's Barry Smith checklist or Top 10 Smith comics.
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"Twas the Night Before Christmas" Smith story layouts (Frank Springer pencils/Johnny Craig inks) 20 pages = *
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Smith issues, >more Nick Fury issues

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Web of Horror #3 - Bernie Wrightson art & cover, Frank Brunner art


Web of Horror v1 #3, 1969 - This could well be Bernie Wrightson's first painted cover, which would explain some of its shortcomings. The layout allows too much room for additional text, although the rendering itself is nicely done. Wrightson fares better on both his two-page contest promotion and the eerily drawn six-pager "Feed It". His style is tighter and more confident, carefully dividing pages into areas of light and dark (this story was later reprinted in the Berni Wrightson Treasury). Frank Brunner makes a contribution in this issue, but much less mature than his later works. Other artists in this issue include Syd Shores, Michael Kaluta and Bruce Jones. The interior page shown above is by Wrightson. This is number 3 of 3 Web of Horror issues with Wrightson art and/or covers and number 1 of 1 Web of Horror issues with Brunner art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Wrightson, Brunner or Web of Horror issues. See also this blog's Wrightson checklist, Top 10 Wrightson comicsBrunner checklist or Top 10 Brunner comics.
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Wrightson painted cover & back cover = **
Brunner inside front cover pencils and inks = **
"Feed It" Wrightson story pencils and inks 6 pages = ***

"Santa's Claws" Brunner story pencils and inks 7 pages = ***
"Web of Horror comic art contest" Wrightson pencils and inks 2 pages = ***
(all pages above in black and white)
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Find on ebay: >this issue>more Wrightson issues>more Brunner issues

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Buster Crabbe #7 - Frank Frazetta ad

Buster Crabbe v1 #7 golden age comic book religion ad by Frank Frazetta
Buster Crabbe v1 #7, 1952 - One of Frank Frazetta's public service ads, this religious promotion appears in several comics by the same publisher. His artwork makes the case with its pristine draftsmanship and sincere effort. Note the exquisite detailing on the clothing and architecture on the last panel. Other variations of this ad include half-page and black and white formats, but this full page color version outshines them all. This ad also appears in Crime Smashers #13. This is number 4 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 or Top 10 Frazetta comics.
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"Prayer Works Wonders" ad Frazetta pencils and inks 1 page = ****
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Frazetta issues, >more Buster Crabbe issues

Howard the Duck #2 - Frank Brunner art & cover, Jim Starlin art

Howard the Duck v1 #2 marvel 1970s bronze age comic book cover art by Frank BrunnerHoward the Duck v1 #2 marvel 1970s bronze age comic book page art by Frank Brunner
Howard the Duck v1 #2, 1975 - Howard the Duck goes up against the villainous Space Turnip in this satirical second issue. Frank Brunner's cover combines superhero and cartoon character elements in a way that's both appealing and entertaining. Credited at the end of the interior story, artist Jim Starlin assists with most of the page layouts. Brunner adheres to them faithfully but both styles are clearly evident on almost every page. Much of the credit for the smooth consistency goes to the capable inks of Steve Leialoha. This is number 2 of 2 Howard the Duck issues with Brunner art and/or covers and number 1 of 1 Howard the Duck issues with Starlin art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Brunner, Starlin, or Howard the Duck issues. See also this blog's Brunner checklistTop 10 Brunner comics, Starlin checklist or Top 10 Starlin comics.
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Brunner cover pencils and inks = ***
"Cry Turnip!"
Starlin layouts, Brunner story pencils (Steve Leialoha inks) 17 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Brunner issues, >more Starlin issues>more Howard the Duck issues

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Plop #20 - Wally Wood art

Plop v1 #20 dc 1970s bronze age comic book page art by Wally Wood
Plop v1 #20, 1975 - Humorous and slightly twisted, Wally Wood continues his Plop-ular poetry series in the style of a child's alphabet. His artwork is merely adequate and for the most part meets expectations. "The Gentle Way", a tale of an overweight kid's introduction to the martial arts, is Sergio Aragones' superbly hilarious contribution and the high point of the issue. Other artists in this issue include Dave Manak, Ted Robins and others. This is number 7 of 11 Plop issues with Wood art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Plop or Wood issues. See also this blog's Wood checklist.
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"'Plop-ular Poetry G-H-I" Wood story pencils and inks 1 page = **
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Wood issues, >more Plop issues

John Carter Warlord of Mars #18 - Frank Miller art & cover


John Carter Warlord of Mars v1 #18, 1978 - By the late 1970s, Marvel had acquired the rights to both of Edgar Rice Burroughs' most popular characters. Although not as famous as Tarzan, John Carter Warlord of Mars had a loyal and respectable following. This is Frank Miller's first effort for Marvel, just prior to his astonishing run on Daredevil. It stylistically parallels some of those early issues, before his work began to mature. His page layouts are inconsistent, but several individual panels hint at his potential. The use of dark foreground objects to enhance depth and strategic placement of shadows are devices he would use to great effect on later works. This is number 1 of 3 John Carter Warlord of Mars issues with Miller art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Miller or John Carter Warlord of Mars issues. See also this blog's Frank Miller checklist.
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Miller cover pencils (Rudy Nebres inks) = **
"Meanwhile Back in Helium"
Miller story pencils (Bob McCleod inks) 17 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue>more Miller issues>more John Carter Warlord of Mars issues

Monday, May 2, 2011

Weird Western Tales #44 - Jim Starlin cover

Weird Western Tales #44 featuring Scalphunter, 1978 - In his first cover for the series, Jim Starlin delivers a largely forgettable effort. The simplistic layout is further degraded by the poorly applied inks that overwhelm the pencils. Scalphunter's painfully outstretched left hand is the sole recognizable trait by Starlin, but adds little to final aesthetic results. Other artists in this issue include Dick Ayers and George Evans. This is number 1 of 2 Weird Western issues with Starlin art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Starlin or Weird Western Tales issues. See also this blog's Starlin checklist or Top 10 Starlin comics.
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Starlin cover pencils (Al Milgrom inks) = *
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Find on ebay: >this issue>more Starlin issues>more Weird Western Tales issues

Spyman #2 - Jim Steranko art


Spyman v1 #2, 1966 - Jim Steranko's diagrammed hand on the cover is reprinted from the previous issue, but this issue's interior contains his first complete story art. Like most early efforts, it lacks a maturity in both pacing and page layout. His figure drawings border on stiffness but are not inconsistent with later 1960s works. Still, there are glimpses of his potential in a handful of panels. Confusingly, the cover masthead appears at the beginning of each chapter, strongly suggesting separate stories. This is number 2 of 2 Spyman issues with Steranko art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Steranko or Spyman issues. See also this blog's Jim Steranko checklist or Top 10 Steranko comics.
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"The Hand is Quicker than the Monster" Steranko story pencils and inks 18 pages = *
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Steranko issues, >more Spyman issues

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Roy Rogers and Trigger #133 - Russ Manning art


Roy Rogers and Trigger #133, 1958 - In this Dale Evans back-up tale, a one-room schoolhouse is the point of interest for a couple of shady-looking men. Russ Manning draws yet another fine effort, making sure his artwork never overwhelms the storytelling. Just the right amount of detail is used, enough to establish the characters and western settings. Speaking of shady, page three panel three (see interior page shown above) is an especially well executed scene viewed from above. This is number 4 of 15 Roy Rogers and Trigger issues with Manning art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Manning or Roy Rogers issues. See also this blog's Russ Manning checklist.
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"Dale Evans and the Surprise" Manning story pencils and inks 4 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue>more Manning issues>more Roy Rogers issues

Creatures On The Loose #21 - Jim Steranko cover

Creatures On The Loose v1 #21 marvel 1970s bronze age comic book cover art by Jim SterankoCreatures On The Loose v1 #21, 1973 - Gullivar Jones, Warrior of Mars is a comic adaptation of the Edwin Lester Arnold hero of the same name. Despite the introduction of yet another sword-wielding barbarian into Marvel's ranks, Jim Steranko does a better cover job than most. The art is well detailed throughout the foreground, even amidst the strewn bodies. The fluid, almost marbled texture in the background adds an unearthly dimension. Gray Morrow does all the interior artwork. This is number 1 of 2 Creatures On The Loose issues with Steranko art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Steranko or Creatures On The Loose 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 Creatures On The Loose issues

Voyage of the Deep - comic series checklist






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Voyage of the Deep v1
Dell
1962-64

1
2
3 - mis-attributed Alex Toth art
4

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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.

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