Sunday, August 7, 2011

Miracleman #24 - Barry Windsor Smith cover

Miracleman v1 #24, 1992 - Young Miracleman floats alongside a column of balloons wafting toward the title's logo. A celebratory theme pervades this colorfully painted cover by Barry Windsor Smith. The almost jewel-like palette is muted to allow the entire masthead to come to the fore. The title typography gets a bit lost on the lower right but doesn't detract from this competent effort. Neil Gaiman nears the end of his run, initially taking over the series from Alan Moore. This is number 2 of 2 Miracleman issues with Smith art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Smith or Miracleman issues. See also this blog's Smith checklist.
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Smith painted cover = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Smith issues, >more Miracleman issues

Outlaws of the West #18 - Steve Ditko art


Outlaws of the West v1 #18, 1959 - Steve Ditko's unique approach sometimes seems ill-suited for the western genre. In this case, a near absence of backgrounds and details flatten the picture plane. His elongated faces and figures are well drawn, but the lack of depth and shading border on the monotonous. The graphic quality of his work may explain why his contributions to western comics are so few. One notable exception is his outstanding cover for another Charlton issue, Cheyenne Kid #10. This is number 1 of 1 Outlaws of the West issues with Ditko art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Ditko or Outlaws of the West issues. See also this blog's Ditko checklist.
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"Help Wanted” Ditko story pencils and inks 7 pages = **
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Ditko issues>more Outlaws of the West issues

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Plop #22 - Wally Wood art

Plop v1 #22 dc 1970s bronze age comic book page art by Wally Wood
Plop v1 #22, 1975 -Wally Wood contributes only a single page in this giant sized issue. Continuing his "Plop-ular Poetry" series, his work continues to be among the better efforts in the book. Equally noteworthy is "The Dirty Thief", an impressive three-page tale by Mad illustrator Sergio Aragones. Harvey Headlinker, featured on a Plopular Person of the Month page, appears to be a previously drawn, but unused cover design by Basil Wolverton. Other artists in this issue include John Albano, Vincent Alcazar and others. This is number 9 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 M-N-O" Wood story pencils and inks 1 page = **
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Wood issues, >more Plop issues

Teen Titans #20 - Neal Adams art

Teen Titans v1 #20 dc comic book cover art by Nick CardyTeen Titans v1 #20 dc comic book page art by Neal Adams
Teen Titans v1 #20, 1969 - The mysterious new hero Joshua enlists the Titans in saving a group of troubled teenagers. Neal Adams overall does a competent job with the page layouts and pacing. His pencils, however, are watered down by the loose inks of Nick Cardy, this issue's cover artist and a terrific illustrator in his on right. Certain panels sorely lack definition, including the sparsely drawn splash on page 11. While certainly not among his best works of the late silver age, Adams' recognizable style is still evident. Interestingly, later comic magazine articles reveal that Joshua was originally scripted to be an African American, but modified at the last minute. This is number 1 of 3 Teen Titans issues with Adams art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Adams or Teen Titans issues. See also this blog's Adams checklist or Top 10 Adams comics.
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"Titans Fit The Battle Of Jericho" Adams story pencils (Nick Cardy inks) 23 pages = **
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Find on ebay: >this issue>more Adams issues, >more Teen Titans issues

Friday, August 5, 2011

Bizarre Adventures #31 - John Byrne, Frank Miller art


Bizarre Adventures v1 #31, 1982 - Violence is this issue's central theme, embedded within a collection of short stories. John Byrne chronicles a modern day book burning, told in two succinct pages but nicely rendered despite its brevity. By and large, Frank Miller's "The Philistine" is the most significant contribution. Visually breathtaking, the artist juxtaposes old engravings with his contemporary drawings. The combination is unusual, but dramatically successful. The interior page shown above is by Miller. Other artists in this issue include Herb Trimpe, Steve Smallwood, Bill Sienkiewicz, Mark Armstrong, Ralph Reese, Steve Bissette and Joe Jusko (cover). This is number 1 of 1 Bizarre Adventures issues with Byrne art and/or covers and number 2 of 2 Bizarre Adventures issues with Miller art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Byrne, Miller or Bizarre Adventures issues. See also this blog's Byrne checklist or Miller checklist.
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"The Philistine" Miller story pencils and inks 8 pages (black and white) = *****
Untitled Byrne story pencils and inks 2
pages (black and white) = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue>more Byrne issues, >more Miller issues, >more Bizarre Adventures issues

Rob Roy / Four Color Comics v2 #544 - Russ Manning art

Rob Roy / Four Color Comics #544 dell comic book page art by Russ Manning
Walt Disney's Rob Roy / Four Color Comics v2 #544, 1954 - Not only does this mark Russ Manning's first Four Color Comics issue, but also the beginning of a long run of tv and film adaptations. The artist struggles on certain panels with character faces and figures. He employs more fine lines than later, more streamlined works. Still, this antique, illustrative look seems appropriate for the story. Details are abundant, from the elaborate clothing to the opening splash vista of the Scottish Highlands. Like many Dell comics of the era, the story continues all the way to back cover, with the inside back cover printed only in black and white. This is number 1 of 1 Rob Roy issues with Manning art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Manning or Rob Roy issues. See also this blog's Russ Manning checklist.
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"Cast of Walt Disney's Rob Roy" Manning inside front cover pencils and inks (black and white) = **
"Rob Roy" Manning story pencils and inks 34 pages (including black and white inside back cover and full color back cover) = **
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Find on ebay: >this issue>more Manning issues
Find on amazon: >this movie

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Weird Western Tales #14 - Alex Toth art

Weird Western Tales v1 #14 jonah hex dc comic book cover art by Tony DezunigaWeird Western Tales v1 #14 dc 1970s bronze age comic book page art by Alex Toth
Weird Western Tales v1 #14 featuring Jonah Hex, 1972 - Although the cover features Jonah Hex, the highlight of this issue is Alex Toth's superb back-up story. A cowboy from the old west inexplicably ambles into the 20th century, finding a world quite different from his own. The pages are drawn horizontally, forcing the reader to turn the comic sideways. This format creates a mildly disorienting effect, reinforcing the story's theme. Perfectly drawn and masterfully paced, Toth's short story is an exceptional work. Other artists in this issue include Tony DeZuniga (Jonah Hex cover and story). This is number 1 of 1 Weird Western issues with Toth art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Toth or Weird Western Tales issues. See also this blog's Toth checklist.
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"Anachronism" Toth story pencils and inks 8 pages = *****
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Find on ebay: >this issue>more Toth issues>more Weird Western Tales issues

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Miracleman #23 - Barry Windsor Smith cover

Miracleman v1 #23, 1992 - Toward the end of this series, Barry Smith executes a fairly minimalist layout (perhaps too much so?). The title character is portrayed in neoclassical pose, reminiscent of Michaelangelo's David. The figure's placement nicely counterbalances the double-M logo on the upper right corner. Just below, the ornate typography conveys a sophisticated feel, complementing the understated story by Neil Gaiman. Other artists in this issue include Mark Buckingham and D'Israeli. This is number 1 of 2 Miracleman issues with Smith art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Smith or Miracleman issues. See also this blog's Smith checklist.
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Smith cover pencils and inks = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Smith issues, >more Miracleman issues

Ghost Rider v3 #23 - Don Newton art, Jack Kirby cover

Ghost Rider v3 #23 marvel comic book cover art by Jack KirbyGhost Rider v3 #23 marvel comic book page art by Don Newton
Ghost Rider v3 #23, 1977 - After his triumphant run on Charlton's Phantom series, Don Newton is assigned his first job for Marvel. Although he only provides the inks for the story, Newton does a surprisingly impressive job. The artist adds much needed structure and depth to Don Heck's typically erratic pencils. Only a handful of panels are unaffected by his distinctive style, which is a vast improvement overall. Page 23 (see interior page shown above) is especially memorable. Jack Kirby's cover, by comparison, displays a telling lack of enthusiasm. This is number 1 of 1 Ghost Rider issues with Newton art and/or covers and number 3 of 3 Ghost Rider issues with Kirby art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Newton, Kirby or Ghost Rider issues. See also this blog's Kirby checklist or Newton checklist.
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Kirby cover pencils (Al Milgrom inks) = *
"Wrath of the Water Wizard" Newton story inks (Don Heck pencils) 17 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Newton issues, >more Kirby issues, >more Ghost Rider issues

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Two-Fisted Tales #30 - Wally Wood art

Two-Fisted Tales v1 #30, 1952 - The boundaries between upper and lower classes are humorously exploited in this atypical medieval tale. Wally Wood straddles both the humor and war genres in his sensible illustrations. The artist sacrifices neither the dramatic lighting nor the intricate details of comparable EC works. Jack Davis executes one of his grittiest covers of the era, capturing the precise moment of a soldier's unintended and ultimately fatal mistake. Other artists in this issue include Ric Estrada, Gene Colan and Jack Davis (art & cover). Note: the interior page shown above is from a reprint rather than from an original. This is number 12 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 Wood checklist.
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"Knights" Wood story pencils and inks 7 pages = ****
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Wood issues, >more Two-Fisted Tales issues

Teen Titans #19 - Wally Wood art

Teen Titans v1 #19 dc comic book cover art by Nick CardyTeen Titans v1 #19 dc comic book page art by Wally Wood
Teen Titans v1 #19, 1969 - A young inventive genius aspires to be a super-villain, while the Titans as his first super-hero victims. Gil Kane begins a brief but significant run on this title. His version of Robin, Speedy, Kid Flash and Wonder Girl is more dynamic than most, further enhanced by Wally Wood's fine inking skills. Many pages have massive machines drawn into the backgrounds, which look especially good. Wood superbly delineates their details, adding a futuristic complexity. Nick Cardy, a mainstay on the series since the first issue, delivers a slightly darker story interpretation on the cover. This is number 1 of 1 Teen Titans issues with Wood art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Wood or Teen Titans issues. See also this blog's Wood checklist.
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"Stepping Stones for a Giant Killer" Wood story inks (Gil Kane pencils) 23 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue>more Wood issues, >more Teen Titans issues

Monday, August 1, 2011

Just Married #79 - Steve Ditko art

Just Married v1 #79 - Steve Ditko charlton romance 1970s bronze age comic book page art
Just Married v1 #79, 1971 - A script girl in a local play finds herself unexpectedly cast in the glamorous lead role. Steve Ditko's numerous stories for Charlton include this rather obscure romance tale. Sensibly drawn, his use of heart-shaped motifs can sometimes seem excessive and unnecessary. On the positive side, his shading balances heavy areas of black with fine, carefully placed lines. All in all, the story art is comparable to Ditko's other pleasurable works of the early bronze age. Other artists in this issue include Jack Abel and Vincente Alcazar (art & cover). This is number 1 of 1 Just Married issues with Ditko art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Ditko or Just Married issues. See also this blog's Ditko checklist.
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"Dream of Love" Ditko story pencils and inks 7 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Ditko issues, >more Just Married issues

Atari Force special #1 - Marshall Rogers / John Byrne cover, Marshall Rogers art


Atari Force special v1 #1, 1986 - Talented as they are, artists Marshall Rogers and John Byrne produce a largely mediocre cover design for this issue. An assemblage of the title characters, the layout is crowded and poorly balanced. Rogers' pencils on the lead story aren't much better, displaying an incompatibility with Ricardo Villagran's inks. Page fifteen contains an elaborate multi-panel sequence, perhaps the only familiar hint of Rogers' style. This is number 2 of 2 Atari Force issues with Rogers art and/or covers and number 1 of 1 Atari Force issues with Byrne art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Rogers, Byrne or Atari Force issues. See also this blog's Byrne checklistRogers checklist or Top 10 Rogers comics.
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Rogers cover pencils / Byrne inks = **
"A Mercenary's Story" Rogers story pencils (Ricardo Villagran inks) 21 pages = **
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Find on ebay: >this issue>more Byrne issues, >more Rogers issues, >more Atari Force issues

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