Monday, November 7, 2011

Bugs Bunny Beach Party / Dell Giant #46 - Al Hubbard art

Dell Giant #46 / Bugs Bunny Beach Party, 1961 - One of Warner Brothers' lesser known properties, Mary Jane and Sniffles occupies the least amount of pages in this giant issue. Al Hubbard regularly drew the characters from the 1950s-on in various Dell comics. Here he delivers a short but sweet tale, drawn in his distinctively fluid style. Even surrounded by a plethora of other stories, his drawings stand out from the rest. Other characters featured in this issue include Daffy Duck, Road Runner, Porky Pig, Little Pancho Vanilla, Henry Hawk, Elmer Fudd and Tweety & Sylvester. See today's posts or more Hubbard or Bugs Bunny issues. See also this blog's Hubbard checklist.
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"The Silverware War" Hubbard story pencils and inks 4 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue>more Barks issues, >more Hubbard issues. >more Bugs Bunny issues

Batman Family #18 - Jim Starlin cover

Batman Family #18, 1978 - Jim Starlin successfully fits all the issue's characters in a layout that's both manageable and aesthetically pleasing. Batman and Robin are logically placed in the most prominent position. The finest details are relegated to the focal point: a pair of demonic hands emerging from the sewers. An inset of the Huntress appears below, announcing her inclusion to the series. Starlin, in a humorous touch, extends the sewer's ooze into her frame. Other artists in this issue include Juan Ortiz, Dave Hunt, Danny Bulanadi, Romeo Tanghal, Bob Layton, Vince Colletta, Michael Golden and Joe Staton. This is number 2 of 3 Batman Family issues with Starlin art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Starlin or Batman Family issues. See also this blog's Jim Starlin checklist or Top 10 Jim Starlin comics.
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Starlin cover pencils and inks = ***
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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Gene Autry and Champion #118 - Russ Manning art

Gene Autry and Champion v1 #118 dell western comic book page art by Russ Manning
Gene Autry and Champion v1 #118, 1958 - A novice deputy gets his chance to bring in a dangerous outlaw, and his friends shadow him to ensure nothing goes wrong. At only four pages, this is one of the shortest Russ Manning western tales I’ve seen. Regardless, his efforts are more than capable. The layouts have a clear, concise design and the panel sequences are comfortably paced. In general, Manning's drawings are comparable to his numerous other cowboy comics from the same era. This is number 1 of 1 Gene Autry and Champion issues with Manning art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Manning or Gene Autry issues. See also this blog's Manning checklist.
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"Mistaken Identity" Manning story inks 4 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Manning issues, >more Gene Autry and Champion issues

Frankenstein v2 #6 - Mike Ploog art & cover

Frankenstein v2 #6 marvel comic book cover art by Mike PloogFrankenstein v2 #6 marvel comic book page art by Mike Ploog
(Monster of) Frankenstein v2 #6, 1973 - Less thoughtfully composed than previous efforts, Mike Ploog's cover design squeezes too many elements in too confined a space (John Romita may have redrawn the monster's face). A busy first page opens to a double page spread that lacks drama and dynamism. Atop the layout, two silent and separate panel sequences converge on the main scene below. Despite this squandered opportunity, Ploog superbly renders the remaining pages. Primarily set in the bowels of a medieval castle, the artist draws the filth and squalor all too realistically. His depiction of the maniacal leader borders on farcical, but overall Ploog's brilliant drawings more than compensate. This is number 6 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 checklistTop 10 Ploog comics or an original page from this issue.
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Ploog cover pencils and inks = **
"In Search of the Last Frankenstein"
Ploog story pencils and inks 20 pages = ****
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Ploog issues, >more Frankenstein issues

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Flash Gordon v4 #4 - Al Williamson art & cover

Flash Gordon v4 #4 1960s silver age science fiction comic book cover art by Al WilliamsonFlash Gordon v4 #4 1960s silver age science fiction comic book page art by Al Williamson
Flash Gordon v4 #4, 1967 - Flash Gordon and friends fend off an ethereal, alien version of a pteranadon on this Al Williamson cover. The creature seems strangely incomplete, in contrast with the same scene inside. Still, the artist's contributions in this issue are exceptional. A Secret Agent X-9 tale separates the feature stories, while offering a brief change in genre. Williamson's two Flash Gordon tales are even more breathtaking, filled with fantastical landscapes and inventive creatures. His level of detail is painstaking, adding textural elements and bold brushwork to almost every panel. This issue is among the finest works of his long career. This is number 3 of 4 Flash Gordon v4 issues with Williamson art and/or covers (not including reprints). See today's posts or more Williamson or Flash Gordon issues. See also this blog's Williamson checklist.
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Williamson cover pencils and inks = ***
"Flash Gordon in the Lost Continent of Mongo"
Williamson story pencils and inks 13 pages = *****
"Secret Agent X-9 and the Key to Power"
Williamson story pencils and inks 5 pages = ***
"Flash Gordon and the Sentries of Dark Mountain" Williamson story pencils and inks 10 pages = *****
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Find on ebay: >this issue>more Williamson issues, >more Flash Gordon issues

Adventures of Jerry Lewis #101 - Neal Adams art, mis-attributed Adams cover

Adventures of Jerry Lewis v1 #101 - Neal Adams dc 1960s comic book page art
Adventures of Jerry Lewis v1 #101, 1967 - Originally The Adventures of Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis, the series was renamed after the sole comedian by issue #41. Neal Adams begins one of his earliest runs for DC, similarly continuing the style of talented series artist Bob Oksner. His own contemporary and more realistic approach emerges in panels here and there, mostly in the foreshortening and the inking details. While perhaps less forceful than his superhero works, these Adams issues are nonetheless fascinating. Despite the claim of some comic book guides, Oksner, not Adams, is the cover artist. This is number 1 of 4 Adventures of Jerry Lewis issues with Adams art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Adams or Adventures of Jerry Lewis issues. See also this blog's Adams checklist or Top 10 Adams comics.
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"Jerry the Astronut" Adams story pencils and inks 22 pages = ***
"Blue Boy"
Adams portrait pencils and inks 1 page = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue>more Adams issues>more Adventures of Jerry Lewis issues

Friday, November 4, 2011

Blazing Combat #1 - Frank Frazetta cover, Alex Toth art

Blazing Combat v1 #1, 1966 - Frank Frazetta's emotionally charged painting sets the tone for this war-themed magazine series. Warren Publishing, better known its horror titles Creepy, Eerie and Vampirella, makes it first and only foray into this genre. Although several fine artists contribute to this premiere issue, Angelo Torres stands out for his sobering depiction of the aftermath of the Civil War. His inks on character faces and figures is crisp and contemporary. Alex Toth's illustrations for the single page "Combat Quiz" generally meets expectations. Other artists in this issue include George Evans, Reed Crandall, Gray Morrow, Joe Orlando and John Severin. This is number 1 of 4 Blazing Combat issues with Frazetta art and/or covers and number 1 of 4 Blazing Combat issues with Toth art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Frazetta, Toth or Blazing Combat issues. See also this blog's Frazetta checklistToth checklist or Top 10 Frazetta comics.
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Frazetta cover painting = ***
"Combat Quiz" Toth pencils and inks 1 page (black and white) = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Frazetta issues, >more Toth issues>more Blazing Combat issues

Marvel Feature #12 - Jim Starlin art

Marvel Feature v1 #12 featuring the Thing and Iron Man, 1973 - Iron Man teams up with the Thing against the alien vampires known as the Blood Brothers. The story conveniently ties in with Captain Marvel, centered around the galactic threat of Thanos. Jim Starlin's drawings are a tad clumsy at times. His rendition of the Fantastic Four member often borders on humorous. Still, there are glimpses of the sequence designs that would become one of his hallmarks. Based on the success of this and the previous issue, The Thing would move onto his own own series, Marvel Two-in-One. Other artists in this issue include John Romita (cover). This is number 3 of 3 Marvel Feature issues with Starlin art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Starlin or Marvel Feature issues. See also this blog's Starlin checklist or Top 10 Starlin comics.
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"Bite of the Blood Brothers" Starlin story pencils (Joe Sinnott inks) 19 pages = **
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Starlin issues, >more Marvel Feature issues

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Unknown Soldier #219 - Frank Miller art, Joe Kubert cover

Unknown Soldier v1 #219, 1978 - One of Frank Miller's early works for DC, this back-up story chronicles the rise of the ancient Achaeans. His drawings lack polish and distinctiveness, made worse by the heavy-handed inks of Danny Bulanadi. The title page, with its use of darkened foreground shapes to increase depth, only hints of his potential. This story was later reprinted in The Art of Walt Simonson. Joe Kubert's cover design is also dampened by its noticeable lack of detail. Other artists in this issue include Fred Carrillo, Dick Ayers and Romeo Tanghal. This is number 1 of 1 Unknown Soldier issues with Miller art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Miller, Kubert, or Unknown Soldier issues. See also this blog's Miller checklist or Kubert checklist.
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Kubert cover pencils and inks = **
"The Edge of History" Miller story pencils (Danny Bulanadi inks) 5 pages = *

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Find on ebay: >this issue>more Kubert issues, >more Miller issues>more Unknown Soldier issues

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Strange Fantasy #9 - Steve Ditko art

Strange Fantasy v1 #9 golden age horror comic book page art by Steve Ditko
Strange Fantasy v1 #9, 1953 - One of his earliest professional works, Steve Ditko lends a hand on this odd little horror story. A young boy's hair begins to have a life of its own, and upon reaching manhood is instilled with a voracious appetite for flesh. As ridiculous as it sounds, these themes were fairly common during this era. Originally attributed as a solo piece, several sources now indicate that Ditko assisted another artist, possibly Seymour Moskowitz. The bottom of page one shows a faint "SS" signature, which could possibly be initials for the artists' first names (?). At any rate, the art is painfully mediocre and unfortunately bears no resemblance to Ditko's early style. This is number 1 of 1 Strange Fantasy issues with Ditko art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Ditko or Strange Fantasy issues. See also this blog's Ditko checklist.
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"Hair Yee-eee" Ditko partial pencils 6 pages = *
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Ditko issues, >more Strange Fantasy issues

Transformers #64 - mis-attributed Bernie Wrightson art, non-attributed Al Williamson art

Transformers v1 #64, 1990 - This Hasbro toy-themed series had a surprisingly long run during its time. Two decades later, the success of the Steven Spielberg-produced films bring a resurgence of renewed interest. Comic book guides erroneously credit the issue's inking chores to Bernie Wrightson rather than the actual artists Al Williamson and Dan Reed. Although contributing to only the first four pages, Williamson's work is sadly indistinguishable from the rest of the book. This is number 1 of 1 Transformers issue with Williamson art and/or covers. See today's posts or more WilliamsonWrightson or Transformers issues. See also this blog's Williamson checklist, Wrightson checklist or Top 10 Wrightson comics.
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"Deadly Obsession" Williamson story inks (Jose Delbo pencils) first 4 pages = *
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Williamson issues, >more Wrightson issues>more Transformers issues

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Crime Reporter #3 - Matt Baker cover

Crime Reporter v1 #3 - Matt Baker golden age crime comic book cover artCrime Reporter v1 #3, 1948 - A glamorous woman is taken aback by an intruder on this superb Matt Baker cover. The artist reveals the villain indirectly, through his reflection in the mirror. His decorative turban conveys his ethnicity, and the dagger his deadly intent. The woman is formally dressed and reeks of wealthy status. The overturned chair reinforces the suddenness of the moment, and the desk statue adds an exotic feel. Even the wafting smoke suggests the spontaneity of the crime. Baker's clever concept is further enhanced by his masterful composition and execution. This is number 2 of 2 Crime Reporter issues with Baker art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Baker or Crime Reporter issues. See also this blog's Baker checklist.
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Baker cover pencils and inks = *****
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Baker issues, >more Crime Reporter issues


The Sandman #1 - Jack Kirby art & cover (1st bronze age Sandman)

The Sandman v1 #1 dc bronze age comic book cover art by Jack KirbyThe Sandman v1 # dc bronze age comic book page art by Jack Kirby
The Sandman v1 #1, 1974 - After his first appearance in Adventure Comics #40, the Sandman would evolve from a pulp fiction detective into a more typical super-hero. Starting with Adventure Comics #72, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby would chronicle his escapades for the next 20 issues, leaving a lasting imprint on the character. Three decades later, they would introduce this further iteration of the Sandman, one of their last creative collaborations. New supporting characters would also be introduced which would be integral to Neil Gaiman's Sandman series of the 1990s. Kirby's cover displays a miasma of strange figures while focusing on the central characters. His trademark panoramic spread on pages 2-3 generally meets expectations, partially compensating for the more crowded layouts that follow. Toward the story's end his drawings seems hurried, as if racing toward the finish. This is number 1 of 4 Sandman issues with Kirby art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Kirby or Sandman issues See also this blog's Kirby checklist or an original page from this issue.
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Kirby cover pencils (Mike Royer inks) = ***
"The Sandman"
Kirby story pencils (Mike Royer inks) 20 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Kirby issues, >more Sandman issues

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