Friday, October 7, 2011

Boris Karloff #9 - Wally Wood art


Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery v1 #9, 1965 - This medieval tale tells of an unscrupulous knight that seeks his cousin's throne. One of only a small handful of works for Gold Key, Wally Wood does a admirable and capable job. His drawings of the era are highly stylistic and seemingly well-researched. The layouts are somewhat tame, but the impressive details on the castle interiors, armor, costumes, and architecture more than compensate. This story was later reprinted in Mystery Comics Digest #6. Other artists in this issue include Frank Thorne and Fred Fredericks. This is number 1 of 1 Boris Karloff issues with Wood art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Wood or Boris Karloff issues. See also this blog's Wood checklist.
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"Vengeance of the Armored Arm" Wood story pencils and inks 12 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Wood issues, >more Boris Karloff issues

Giant-Size Defenders #3 - Jim Starlin layouts / Don Newton art


Giant-Size Defenders v1 #3, 1974 - Daredevil guest stars in this annual, supporting Doctor Strange, the Hulk and Sub-mariner. Jim Starlin is credited with the layouts, but his contribution seems more prominent. Along with Al Milgrom and Jim Mooney, Don Newton shares the pencilling/inking chores. His distinctive style, which appears on pages 14-19, 31-36, 38 and 39, adds a nice fluidity to the story. Other artists in this issue include Ron Wilson (cover). This is number 1 of 1 Giant-Size Defenders issues with Newton art and/or covers and number 2 of 2 Giant-Size Defenders issues with Starlin art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Newton, Starlin or Defenders issues. See also this blog's Starlin checklist, Newton checklist or Top 10 Starlin comics.
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"Games Godlings Play" Starlin layouts / Newton partial story pencils and inks 14 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue>more Newton issues>more Starlin issues>more Defenders issues

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Morlock 2001 #3 - Steve Ditko / Bernie Wrightson art


Morlock 2001 and the Midnight Men v1 #3, 1975 - Two celebrated comic book artists, Steve Ditko and Bernie Wrightson, join forces for the first and only time in this bronze age Atlas/Seaboard issue. Sadly, their respective styles are completely divergent, lacking both cohesion and consistency. Ditko's pencils are more erratic than usual, dominating the overall look of the story. Wrightson struggles to create depth and modeling on flat, graphically rendered scenes and characters. The results are disappointing, but reveals how some artist pairings do more harm than good. This is number 1 of 1 Morlock 2001 issues with Ditko art and/or covers and number 1 of 1 Morlock 2001 issues with Wrightson art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Wrightson, Ditko or Morlock 2001 issues. See also this blog's Ditko checklist, Wrightson checklist or Top 10 Wrightson comics.
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"Then Came the Midnight Man" Ditko story pencils / Wrightson inks 18 pages = *
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Ditko issues, >more Wrightson issues, >more Morlock 2001 issues

Batman Family #13 - Marshall Rogers, Don Newton art


Batman Family v1 #13, 1977 - Unlike previous issues, the storylines in both the Robin/Batgirl and Man-Bat features converge toward the book's end. Don Newton is tasked with drawing the first eight and last thirteen pages. With the exception of the crowded opening splash, his layouts are both energetic and innovative. In particular, the motorcycle racing scenes capture the speed and frenetic pace perfectly. By comparison, Marshall Rogers' pencils are somewhat diminished by the thick lines of inker Bob Wiacek (especially the villain's rendition on page 13). That aside, most of the panels and pages are impeccably designed and even include a subtle Neal Adams swipe on page 15, panel 2. The interior page shown above is by Rogers. Other artists in this issue include Jim Aparo (cover). This number 1 of 1 Batman Family issues with Newton art and/or covers and number 3 of 3 Batman Family issues with Rogers art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Rogers, Newton or Batman Family issues. See also this blog's Rogers checklistNewton checklist or Top 10 Rogers comics.
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"The Man who Melted Manhattan" Newton story pencils (Bob Wiacek inks) 21 pages = ***
"Twilight of the Sunset Gang" Rogers story pencils (Bob Wiacek inks) 8 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Newton issues>more Rogers issues, >more Batman Family issues

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Nightmare v2 #10 - Joe Kubert cover, Alex Toth reprint

Nightmare v2 #10, 1954 - The devil is drawn to an artisan mask-maker on this creepy Joe Kubert cover. A subtle tilt of the the lamp on the left helps lead the reader's eye to the central character. Amidst the grotesque faces, Kubert inserts a classical female statuette, perhaps to heighten the contrast. This issue also contains an Alex Toth reprint from Weird Thrillers #2. Other artists in this issue include E.R. Kinstler, Murphy Anderson and Gene Colan. This is number 1 of 2 Nightmare issues with Kubert art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Kubert, Toth or Nightmare issues. See also this blog's Kubert checklist or Toth checklist.
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Kubert cover pencils and inks = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue>more Kubert issues>more Toth issues>more Nightmare issues

Frankenstein v2 #4 - Mike Ploog art & cover

Frankenstein v2 #4 marvel comic book cover art by Mike Ploog
Frankenstein v2 #4 marvel comic book page art by Mike Ploog
(Monster of) Frankenstein v2 #4, 1973 - Recovering from a shipwreck, the monster tries to save the captain and a cabin boy he befriends. While gathering wood, he remembers the events leading to his eventual encasement in the glacial ice. Mike Ploog's pencils and general layouts are impressive, but he relinquishes the inks on this issue. John Verpoorten's finishes are less sensitive, but add an appropriately rough quality to the tribal warfare scenes (see interior page shown above). The vast remoteness of the arctic and the primitivism of the indigenous tribes are perfectly captured by Ploog's exquisite drawings. This is number 4 of 6 Frankenstein issues with Ploog art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Ploog or Frankenstein issues. See also this blog's Ploog checklist or Top 10 Ploog comics.
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Ploog cover pencils and inks = ***
"Death of the Monster"
Ploog story pencils (John Verpoorten inks) 20 pages = *****
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Ploog issues, >more Frankenstein issues

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Art of Walt Simonson - Walt Simonson art, cover & reprints


The Art of Walt Simonson, 1989 - Unlike other publications on comic book artists, there are no lengthy interviews, just brief introductions by Simonson, Howard Chaykin and Archie Goodwin. While his cover design falls below the quality of his interior stories, Simonson's eight-page portfolio is a stunning array of various DC characters (see interior page shown above). Some renditions, such as Green Lantern and the villainous Two-Face, have never been published before. The bulk of the book is comprised of some of his finest works of the bronze age. Conspicuously absent is his historic Manhunter series in Detective Comics, which was saved for a collection on its own. The reprinted stories are re-colored, but I still prefer the originals. Included in this book are: Detective Comics #450, Unknown Soldier #254, Unknown Soldier #255, Unknown Soldier #256, Star Spangled War Stories #170, Star Spangled War Stories #180, 1st Issue Special #9, Hercules Unbound #11, Hercules Unbound #12, Metal Men #45, Metal Men #46, Metal Men #47, Metal Men #48 and Metal Men #49. See today's posts or more Simonson issues. See also this blog's Walt Simonson checklist or more books.
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Find on ebay: >this book, >more Simonson issues
Find on amazon: >this book

Zorro v2 #2 - Alex Toth reprints

(Walt Disney presents) Zorro v2 #2, 1966 - This issue contains the first reprinting of Dell's Four Color Comics v2 #960, including both features and the inside back cover. Though Gold Key's versions are slightly smaller than the originals, this series does an nice job at reproducing Alex Toth's artwork. See today's posts or more Toth or Zorro issues. See also this blog's Toth checklist.
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Toth issues, >more Zorro issues

Zorro v2 #1 - Alex Toth reprints

(Walt Disney presents) Zorro v2 #1, 1966 - This issue contains the reprints of Dell's Four Color Comics v2 #882, including both features and the inside back cover. Though Gold Key's versions are slightly smaller than the originals, this series does an nice job at reproducing Alex Toth's artwork. See today's posts or more Toth or Zorro issues. See also this blog's Toth checklist.
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Toth issues, >more Zorro issues

Plop #24 - Wally Wood art

Plop v1 #24 dc 1970s bronze age comic book page art by Wally Wood
Plop v1 #24, 1976 - For the final issue of the series, Sergio Aragones supplies two framing pages and the hilariously written "A Fate Worse Than Death". Although a giant-sized edition, most of the book is comprised of mostly one- and two-page gags. Wally Wood completes his last "Plop-ular Poetry" page, a weird alphabetized series that's less adequately drawn than usual. Basil Wolverton delivers yet another grotesque figure for the single page "Plop-ular Person of the Month". A CBS Saturday ad by Neal Adams also appears in this issue. Other artists in this issue include John Albano, Dave Manak, Ric Estrada and others. This is number 11 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 (S-T-U)" Wood story pencils and inks 1 page = **
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Wood issues, >more Plop issues

Monday, October 3, 2011

Grandma Duck's Farm Friends / Four Color Comics v2 #1010 - Carl Barks art


Walt Disney's Grandma Duck's Farm Friends / Four Color Comics v2 #1010, 1959 - After years as a supporting character, the ever-maternal Grandma Duck appears in her own short-lived series. All four stories are peppered with various supporting characters, including Uncle Scrooge, Dumbo, Big Bad Wolf, Daisy Duck, Donald Duck and his trio of nephews. Carl Barks' clever scripts are visualized with thoroughly likable drawings. Throughout the issue his rural settings are drawn with nostalgia and skillful simplicity. All four tales are equally enjoyable, but the Scrooge story is my personal favorite. This is number 1 of 3 Grandma Duck's Farm Friends issues with Barks art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Barks or Grandma Duck's Farm Friends issues. See also this blog's Carl Barks checklist.
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"Flying Farm Hand" story pencils and inks 8 pages = ***
"A Honey of a Hen" story
pencils and inks 7 pages = ***
"Weather Watchers" story
pencils and inks 7 pages = ***
"Sheepish Cowboys" story
pencils and inks 7 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Barks issues>more Grandma Duck's Farm Friends issues

Micronauts #7 - Neal Adams cover

Micronauts v1 #7, 1979 - Based on the Mego action figure toys, the series began with promising art and covers by Michael Golden. With this seventh issue, the Man-Thing becomes first Marvel character to cross over into the Micronauts storyline. An unexpected bonus is the masterful inking job by Neal Adams. The increased texture and depth makes the swamp monster a more compelling focal point. On the bottom left, the letters A and G intertwine to form the artists' signatures. This is number 1 of 1 Micronauts issues with Adams art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Adams or Micronauts issues. See also this blog's Adams checklist or Top 10 Adams comics.
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Adams cover inks (Michael Golden pencils) = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue>more Adams issues, >more Micronauts issues

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Dynamo #4 - Wally Wood art & cover, Steve Ditko / Wally Wood art

Dynamo v1 #4 tower 1960s silver age comic book cover art by Wally WoodDynamo v1 #4 tower 1960s silver age comic book page art by Wally Wood
Dynamo v1 #4, 1967 - Borrowing a scenario from the silent film era, Dynamo saves a damsel in distress with surprising ease. Although a bondage cover, Wally Wood instead makes the train the focal point of the layout. The locomotive's detailed design is impressively complex, almost technological in feel. Inside, Wood capably draws three of the five total stories. The most noteworthy is "Weed", a collaborative effort with Steve Ditko. This tale is largely satirical in nature, but their combined talents successfully portray a humorous side to otherwise heroic characters. Other artists in this issue include Chic Stone. This is number 4 of 4 Dynamo issues with Wood art and/or covers and number 2 of 2 Dynamo issues with Ditko art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Wood, Ditko or Dynamo issues. See also this blog's Ditko checklist or Wood checklist.
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Wood cover pencils and inks = ****
"The Maze" Wood story pencils and inks (with assistance) 22 pages = ***
"The Secret Word Is..." Wood story pencils and
inks (with assistance) 10 pages = ***
"Weed" Ditko story pencils / Wood inks 10 pages = ***

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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Ditko issues, >more Wood issues, >more Dynamo issues

Wonder Woman #200 - Jeff Jones cover

Wonder Woman v1 #200 dc 1970s bronze age comic book cover art by Jeff JonesWonder Woman v1 #200, 1972 - A masked woman brandishes her blade in the background while a non-super-powered Wonder Woman struggles against her bonds. Like his previous cover, Jeff Jones depicts a bondage theme with uncommon artistry. His lines are sharper and more distinct, suggesting the character's state of terror and helplessness. The large quantity of cover text only somewhat mars the design as a whole. Other artists in this issue include Dick Giordano and Ross Andru (reprint). This is number 2 of 2 Wonder Woman issues with Jones art and/or covers. See today's posts, more Wonder Woman or Jones issues. See also this blog's Jones checklist.
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Jones cover pencils and inks = ****
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Jones issues>more Wonder Woman issues

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Joe Yank #5 - Alex Toth art


Joe Yank v1 #5, 1952 - This Korean War-era comic centers around an American GI and his misadventures. The lead story, about the lead character's run-in with the local black market, benefits from some terrific artwork by Alex Toth. His more cartoonish rendition of Joe's pal, Sgt. McGurk, hints at the more comedic aspects of the tale. This contrasts against the more violent panels (especially page 5 panel 1) that seem inappropriate by today's standards. That aside, Toth seems to toggle between the different types of scenes with relative ease. This is number 1 of 4 Joe Yank issues with Toth art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Toth or Joe Yank issues. See also this blog's Toth checklist.
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"Black Market Mary" Toth story pencils 8 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Toth issues >more Joe Yank issues

Top 10 Bernie Wrightson comics

Top ten comics by Bernie Wrightson, comic book artistMy own top ten list of best comics (art and/or covers) by the artist. I've chosen and ranked them relative to his body of comic book work to date. Feel free to share your own recommendations in the comments section.

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1.
Swamp Thing #1
2.
House of Secrets #92
3.
House of Mystery #186
4.
Swamp Thing #2
5.
Creepy #62
6.
Eerie #58
7.
Swamp Thing #8
8.
Swamp Thing #10

9.
Swamp Thing #5
10.
House of Mystery #209

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See today's posts more top 10 lists or this blog's Bernie Wrightson checklist. See also more series checklistsartist checklists or readers polls.