Monday, May 7, 2012

World of Krypton v2 #4 - John Byrne / Walt Simonson cover

World of Krypton v2 #4, 1987 - In an efficient use of space, John Byrne embeds the planet Krypton right into the cover's masthead. While I could do without the tearful Superman, the layout is well constructed and balanced. The inks by Walt Simonson seem to make less of an impact than previous covers. Other artists in this issue include Mike Mignola and Carlos Garzon. This is number 4 of 4 World of Krypton issues with Byrne art and/or covers and 4 of 4 World of Krypton issues with Simonson art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Byrne, Simonson or World of Krypton issues. See also this blog's Byrne checklist or Simonson checklist.
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Byrne cover pencils / Simonson inks = ***
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Adventures Into The Unknown #96 - Al Williamson art


Adventures Into The Unknown v1 #96, 1950 - A traveling salesman has a recurring nightmare that turns into a premonition. This all-too-brief Al Williamson tale is quite frankly disappointing. The pencils are hurried and the inks sloppily applied. Three panels are repeated on the final page, appropriate for the storyline but damaging to the overall aesthetic. This story has also been reprinted in Unknown Worlds #47. Other artists in this issue include Ogden Whitney (cover). This is number 3 of 5 Adventures Into The Unknown issues with Williamson art and/or covers (not including reprints). See today's posts or more Williamson or Adventures Into The Unknown issues. See also this blog's Williamson checklist.
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"Annals of the Occult" Williamson story pencils (and inks?) 3 pages = *
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Williamson issues, >more Adventures Into The Unknown issues

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Man-Thing #7 - Mike Ploog art

Man-Thing v1 #7 marvel 1970s bronze age comic book cover art
Man-Thing v1 #7 marvel 1970s bronze age comic book page art by Mike Ploog
Man-Thing v1 #7, 1974 - Deep in the Florida Everglades, the Man-Thing discovers living Spanish conquistadors from centuries past. Mike Ploog contributes both pencils and inks to the story, his only solo effort on the title. His inking is especially good, using subtle brushwork on character conversations (pages 15-16) and more forceful delineations in scenes of violence (see interior page above). Coupled with two tremendous splash pages, this is easily his best work of the series. This is number 3 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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"The Old Die Young" Ploog story pencils and inks 18 pages = *****
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Ploog issues, >more Man-Thing issues

Zorro / Four Color Comics v2 #976 - Alex Toth art

Zorro Four Color #976  1950s dell comic book page art by Alex Toth
Walt Disney's Zorro / Four Color Comics v2 #976, 1959 - Plotting to take control of California, a man called the Eagle and his conspirators disrupt the ammunition supplies. Like some of his previous Zorro features, Alex Toth's illustrations are outstanding. "Gypsy Warning" has all the hallmarks of a Toth story, including finely crafted faces and figures, deft brushwork and detailed backgrounds (see interior page above). His shorter story, though enjoyable, doesn't quite match the standards of the first. This is number 5 of 8 Zorro issues with Toth art and/or covers (not including reprints). See today's posts or more Toth or Zorro issues. See also this blog's Toth checklist.
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"Gypsy Warning" Toth story pencils and inks 26 pages = ****
"A Double For Diego" Toth story pencils and inks 6 pages = ***
"The Four R's of Learning in Spanish California" Toth back cover pencils and inks = *
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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Green Lantern v2 #79 - Neal Adams art & cover

Green Lantern Green Arrow #79 dc comic book cover art by Neal AdamsGreen Lantern Green Arrow #79 dc comic book page art by Neal Adams
Green Lantern / Green Arrow v2 #79, 1970 - Neal Adams' cover just meets expectations, despite the atypically conservative layout. Set on an indian reservation, Green Lantern and Green Arrow aid a local tribe, helping them retain their 100 year old lumber rights. The ghostly visage and message of a long-dead indian chief is perfectly dramatized on page 16. Equally superb is Green Lantern's rescue efforts in a tenement fire on pages 7-10 (see interior page above). Masterfully laid out and carefully paced, Adams' outstanding pencils are further enhanced by the inks of Dan Adkins. This is number 5 of 15 Green Lantern issues with Adams art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Adams or Green Lantern issues. See also this blog's Adams checklist or Top 10 Adams comics.
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Adams cover pencils and inks = ***
"Ulysses Star Is Still Alive"
Adams story pencils (Dan Adkins inks) 24 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Adams issues, >more Green Lantern issues

Friday, May 4, 2012

Christmas Parade #2 - Carl Barks, Al Hubbard art

Christmas Parade v1 #2 dell donald duck comic book page art by Carl Barks
Walt Disney's Christmas Parade v1 #2 (Dell Giant), 1950 - Donald Duck's nephews Huey, Louie and Dewey obsess over an erector set as the holidays draw near. Carl Barks cleverly uses a Christmas card motif for the opening splash, showing the boys peering into a toy store window. Soon, Uncle Scrooge, Grandma Duck, Daisy Duck and Gladstone Gander are drawn in due to humorous circumstances. Like the previous issue, Barks uses small flourishes to enhance the yuletide mood, including decorative initial caps on many of the panels. Superbly paced and lovingly drawn, the story is warmly conveyed and memorably engaging. This tale was first reprinted in Gold Key's Christmas Parade #6. Al Hubbard makes a small but notable contribution: a masthead illustration of Goofy for one of the activity pages. The interior page shown above is by Barks. This is number 2 of 5 Christmas Parade issues with Barks art and/or covers and number 1 of 6 Christmas Parade issues with Hubbard art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Barks, Hubbard or Christmas Parade issues.  See also this blog's Carl Barks checklist or Hubbard checklist.
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"You Can't Guess" Barks story pencils and inks 25 pages = *****
"Bamboozlers" Hubbard text illo pencils and inks 1 page = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Barks issues, >more Hubbard issues, >more Christmas Parade issues

Rom (Spaceknight) #17 - Frank Miller cover

Rom v1 #17, 1981 - The X-men guest star in this two-part storyline, conveniently attracting new readers to the title. Frank Miller's cover seems spontaneously drawn but suffers from the inker's lack of clarity. Alongside Rom, Wolverine is prominently featured, the path of his claws leading the eye from the masthead to the title character. Miller places the moon directly behind the child's head, suggesting an innocence with its resemblance to early Byzantine halos. This is number 3 of 4 Rom issues with Miller art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Miller or Rom issues. See also this blog's Frank Miller checklist.
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Miller cover pencils (Al Milgrom inks) = **
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Miller issues, >more Rom issues

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Swamp Thing #3 - Bernie Wrightson art & cover

Swamp Thing v1 #3 1970s bronze age dc comic book cover art by Bernie Wrightson Swamp Thing v1 #3 1970s bronze age dc comic book page art by Bernie Wrightson
Swamp Thing v1 #3, 1973 - A remnant from the previous story, the Patchwork Man makes his first full appearance along with the white-haired Abigail Arcane. Unlike the previous issues, this tale has an abundance of small panels, particularly toward the end. Still, there are some outstanding scenes, including the Swamp Thing's destructiveness on page 3 and the mountaintop explosion on page 8. Equally superb are the masterfully designed sequences on pages 3-5 that emphasize extreme heights through vertical panels (see interior page above). This story was later reprinted in DC Special Series #14 and Roots of the Swamp Thing #2. This is number 3 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 Patchwork Man"
Wrightson story pencils and inks 23 pages = ****
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Wrightson issues, >more Swamp Thing issues

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Adventures of the Fly #4 - Jack Kirby art & cover? Neal Adams art?


Adventures of the Fly v1 #4 1960 - Overall a lackluster issue artistically, there are questions as to who drew what depending on the source. There is consensus that Jack Kirby pencilled the cover, although it seems mediocre compared to other 1960s works. The painting on the fine artist's canvas looks consistent with his style but the rest of the layout looks unlikely. A 1998 checklist also lists Kirby pencils on "Muggsy's Masterpieces" but the Overstreet guide disputes this. More likely the artist provided layouts, culminating in the terrific spread on pages 6-7. Neal Adams supposedly drew a bottom panel on the first page of "Duped by the Dazzler" (see interior page above) but I have my doubts. Feel free to share your own opinions. This is number 3 of 3 Adventures of the Fly issues with Kirby art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Kirby or Adventures of the Fly issues. See also this blog's Kirby checklistAdams checklist or Top 10 Adams comics.
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Kirby cover pencils? layout? = *
"Muggsy's Masterpieces" Kirby partial story pencils? layouts? 7 pages = **
"Duped by the Dazzler" Adams partial story pencils? 1 panel = *
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Find on ebay: >this issue>more Adams issues, >more Kirby issues, >more Adventures of the Fly issues


Marvel Classics Comics #9 / Dracula - Nestor Redondo art


Marvel Classics Comics v1 #9 / Dracula, 1976 - Although reprinted from the Pendulum Classics paperback series, Nestor Redondo's art is even more impressive in color. Like his earlier issue, this Bram Stoker adaptation is one of his lengthiest stories at nearly 50 pages. Despite the abundant narration and text, the panels are generally roomy. Many scenes excel artistically, but the stormy shipwreck on page 17 and Miss Murray's evening walk on page 21 stand out. The characters' period clothing and interior flourishes all benefit from Redondo's outstanding brushwork. Other artists in this issue include Gil Kane and Tom Palmer (cover). This is number 2 of 2 Marvel Classics Comics issues with Redondo art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Redondo or Marvel Classics Comics issues. See also this blog's Redondo checklist or Top 10 Redondo comics.
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"Dracula" Redondo story pencils and inks 48 pages (first time in color) = ****
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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Twilight Zone #1 - Frank Frazetta art


Twilight Zone v1 #1, 1962 - After four tryout issues, Gold Key premieres a regular series based the sci-fi television show. All stories were newly written for the comics medium. In this first issue, Frank Frazetta appears to have contributed partial inks to two Reed Crandall tales. The first, about an explorer who discovers another civilization, has only scant indications of Frazetta's talent. The second story, about a ghostly woman on a sailboat, is more obviously by his hand (especially in the faces) but still doesn't enhance the art significantly. The artwork falls well below his standards, but the works are more peculiar given the rarity of Frazetta's comics work after the 1960s. "Voyage to Nowhere" was later reprinted in Mystery Comics Digest #3. Other artists in this issue include George Evans. This is number 1 of 1 Twilight Zone issues with Frazetta art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Frazetta or Twilight Zone issues. See also this blog's Frazetta checklist or Top 10 Frazetta comics.
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"Perilous Journey" Frazetta partial story inks (Reed Crandall pencils) 10 pages = *
"Voyage to Nowhere"
Frazetta partial story inks (Reed Crandall pencils) 11 pages = **
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Frank Frazetta issues, >more Twilight Zone issues

Aquaman #60 - Don Newton art

Aquaman v1 #60 dc 1970s bronze age comic book cover artAquaman v1 #60 dc 1970s bronze age comic book page art by Don Newton
Aquaman v1 #60, 1978 - Midway through this title's bronze age run, Don Newton takes over the artistic reins. His portrait of a determined Aquaman on the opening splash is somewhat marred by too much text. That aside, his drawings are softer and more fluid than that of his predecessors. The King of Atlantis seems even more commanding and regal than usual. Other artists in this issue include Juan Ortiz, Vince Colletta and Jim Aparo (cover). This is number 1 of 4 Aquaman issues with Newton art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Newton or Aquaman issues. See also this blog's Don Newton checklist.
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"Scavenger, Ravenger, Plunderer, Thief!" Newton story pencils (John Celardo inks) 11 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Newton issues, >more Aquaman issues