Saturday, April 7, 2012

Man-Thing #5 - Mike Ploog art & cover (1st Ploog Man-Thing)

Man-Thing v1 #5 marvel 1970s bronze age comic book cover art by Mike Ploog
Man-Thing v1 #5 marvel 1970s bronze age comic book page art by Mike Ploog
Man-Thing v1 #5, 1974 - A circus clown gives in to despair in this somber, yet eerie tragedy. Artist Mike Ploog, already a veteran of Marvel anti-heroes, begins his run on the title. His interpretation is looser and more viscous than his predecessors, sometimes bordering on the cartoonish. Inker Frank Chiaramonte does his best to add definition without impeding the original intent of the pencils. Ploog's best contribution, however, is his outstanding cover. I especially like how the clown's festive costume contrasts against the Man-Thing's drab colors. This is number 1 of 7 Man-Thing issues with Ploog art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Ploog or Man-Thing issues. See also this blog's Ploog checklist or Top 10 Ploog comics.
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Ploog cover pencils and inks = *****
"Night of the Laughing Dead"
Ploog story pencils (Frank Chiaramonte inks) 19 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Ploog issues, >more Man-Thing issues

Ghost Rider #5 - Frank Frazetta cover

Ghost Rider v1 #5 comic book cover art by Frank FrazettaGhost Rider v1 #5, 1951 - Swinging from unseen rafters, the Ghost Rider swings to the rescue of a saloon girl while a gunman narrowly misses. Smoke emitted from the weapon's discharge takes too much prominence, adding little to the scene. Interestingly, Frank Frazetta replaces the ceiling with an abstract liquid pattern, suggesting movement and emphasizing the strongly diagonal layout. Frazetta's cover is deceptively simple, but exciting nonetheless. This is number 4 of 4 Ghost Rider issues with Frazetta art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Frazetta or Ghost Rider 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 Ghost Rider issues

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Phantom v2 #71 - Don Newton art & cover

The Phantom v2 #71 charlton comic book cover art by Don NewtonThe Phantom v2 #71 charlton comic book page art by Don Newton
The Phantom v2 #71, 1976 - The Phantom confronts a giant arachnid, hidden within the caves of a remote mountaintop. Don Newton delivers his best work yet, starting with a magnificent splash of the hero standing watchful over his African domain. Rich and textural, his drawing captures the lush foliage of the jungle. The remaining pages are nicely laid out, but the artwork excels due to Newton's incomparable draftsmanship throughout. Rounding out the issue is "Witchman's Revenge", a two-page text story that reuses and alters Newton panels from previous issues. This is number 5 of 7 Phantom issues with Newton art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Newton or Phantom issues. See also this blog's Don Newton checklist.
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Newton cover painting = **
"The Monster of Zanadar" Newton story pencils and inks 21 pages = *****
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Newton issues, >more Phantom issues

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Tower of Shadows #6 - Wally Wood art, Steve Ditko reprint


Tower of Shadows v1 #6, 1970 - This ongoing horror title begins to insert reprints to supplement the original material. The Wally Wood story pits the legendary Beowulf against a ghost-like creature. The artist's opening splash is a spacious view of a medieval castle. Despite the smallish panels that follow, Wood delivers a terrific tale of swords and sorcery. A Steve Ditko reprint from Strange Tales #78 rounds out the book. Other artists in this issue include Gene Colan, Tom Sutton, Dan Adkins and Marie Severin (cover). This is number 2 of 4 Tower of Shadows issues with Wood art and/or covers. See more Wood or Tower of Shadows issues. See also this blog's Ditko checklist or Wood checklist.
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"The Ghost Beast" Wood story pencils and inks 7 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Wood issues, >more Ditko issues, >more Tower of Shadows issues

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Swamp Thing #2 - Bernie Wrightson art & cover

Swamp Thing v1 #2 dc comic book cover art by Bernie WrightsonTop ten comics by Bernie Wrightson, comic book artist
Swamp Thing v1 #2 dc comic book page art by Bernie Wrightson
Swamp Thing v1 #2, 1973 - A mob of grotesqueries overwhelm the Swamp Thing with their sheer numbers, bringing him to the mountaintop castle of the villainous Arcane. Bernie Wrightson's inking is noticeably softer and more textural on several pages, perhaps aided by another artist? The effect perfectly enhances the two incredible splashes, especially the atmospheric view of the Un-Men and their captive (see interior page above). The Swamp Thing's mystical transformation on page 21 and the ensuing chase on page 22 are two of many magnificently drawn scenes throughout. This story was later reprinted in the Original Swamp Thing Saga/DC Special Series #2. This is number 2 of 10 Swamp Thing issues with Wrightson art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Wrightson or Swamp Thing issues. See also this blog's Bernie Wrightson checklist or Top 10 Wrightson comics.
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Wrightson cover pencils and inks = *****
"The Man Who Wanted Forever"
Wrightson story pencils and inks 24 pages = ****
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Wrightson issues, >more Swamp Thing issues

Western Roundup #18 - Alex Toth art

Western Roundup v1 #18 dell comic book page art by Alex Toth
Western Roundup v1 #18, 1957 - This Dell Giant features Roy Rogers, Johnny Mack Brown, Rex Allen and numerous other western heroes starring in their own respective stories. A quaint Flying A's Range Rider tale by Alex Toth also resides in this issue. A local store is burglarized, coinciding with the arrival of traveling performers. The artwork is slow to build interest, but Toth's draftsmanship quickly comes to the fore. His action scenes (pages 5-6) are particularly good, drawn naturally and without exaggeration. Every line and brushstroke is carefully placed, resulting in one of his best short stories for Dell. This is number 1 of 2 Western Roundup issues with Toth art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Toth or Western Roundup issues. See also this blog's Toth checklist.
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"Hidden Treasure" Toth story pencils and inks 8 pages = ****
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Toth issues, >more Western Roundup issues

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Fear #16 / Man-Thing - Frank Brunner cover

Adventure into Fear v1 #16, 1973 - On this environmentally-themed cover, the Man-Thing emerges in the wake of the bulldozer's path. Frank Brunner's lines are thicker than his previous effort, losing some of the finer nuances of his style. Still, the approach does add volume and weight to the three central figures. Other artists in this issue include Val Mayerick and Sal Trapani. This is number 2 of 3 Fear issues with Brunner art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Brunner, Fear or Man-Thing issues. See also this blog's Brunner checklist or Top 10 Brunner comics.
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Brunner cover pencils and inks = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue>more Brunner issues>more Fear issues

Monday, April 2, 2012

Canteen Kate #2 - Matt Baker art & cover

Canteen Kate v1 #2 st john 1950s golden age comic book cover art by Matt BakerCanteen Kate v1 #2 st john 1950s golden age comic book page art by Matt Baker
Canteen Kate v1 #2, 1952 - Set during the Korean War, the misadventures of a female canteen owner continues. Matt Baker delivers four beautifully drawn stories of varying lengths. "Bring Em Back Alive" is slightly better, due to its mysterious plot and settings. "Scuttlebutt", where Kate herself is mistakenly offered up for sale, seems pretty suggestive. The issue's highlight is Baker's cover, a portrait of the title character that is straightforward yet striking. This is number 2 of 3 Canteen Kate issues with Baker art and/or covers. See today's posts, more Baker or Canteen Kate issues. See also this blog's Baker checklist.
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Baker cover pencils and inks = ****
"Rugged Rug-cutters"
Baker story pencils and inks 8 pages = ***
"Scuttlebutt"
Baker story pencils and inks 2 pages = ***
"Bring Em Back Alive"
Baker story pencils and inks 6 pages = ***
"Much Ado About Mushrooms"
Baker story pencils and inks 9 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue>more Baker issues, >more Canteen Kate issues

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Thriller #12 - non-attributed Alex Nino art & cover


Thriller v1 #12, 1984
- The final issue of this series ends with a whimper, not a bang, concluding the complex storyline. Alex Nino's drawings lack the boldness of previous issues, but remain faithfully consistent. More dialogue- and character- driven, the art is efficiently laid out and paced. Highlights include the impressive war room on the opening splash, the following two page spread of a desolate landscape, and the optimistic final page. A tad less impressive is Nino's atypically confusing cover. This is number 4 of 4 Thriller issues with Nino art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Nino or Thriller issues. See also this blog's Alex Nino checklist.
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Nino cover pencils and inks = ***
"New Year's Resolution: Downtime"
Nino story pencils and inks 23 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Nino issues, >more Thriller issues

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