Thursday, June 7, 2012

Zorro / Four Color Comics v2 #1003 - Alex Toth art

Zorro Four Color #1003 1950s dell comic book page art by Alex Toth
Walt Disney's Zorro / Four Color Comics v2 #1003, 1959 - Bandits kidnap Don Diego's faithful manservant, raising the ire of a certain caped crusader. Well paced and laid out, Alex Toth's drawings are spontaneously rendered but maintain just enough detail and clarity. A masterful demonstration of light and shade is shown on the interior page above. Even more impressive is opening panel in the second tale, a Spanish-style courtyard setting where Toth dapples shadows on the two foreground figures. These stories were later reprinted in Zorro v2 #5. This is number 6 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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"The Marauders of Monterey" Toth story pencils and inks 26 pages = ***
"The Enchanted Bell" Toth story pencils and inks 6 pages = ***
"Monterey's Famous Firsts" Toth inside back cover pencils and inks (black and white) = *
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Toth issues, >more Zorro issues

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Batman #232 - Neal Adams art & cover

Batman v1 #232 dc comic book page art by Neal Adams
Batman v1 #232, 1971 - Ras Al Ghul makes his first appearance, establishing himself as one of Batman's most fascinating foes. Neal Adams' cover depicts him in pencil, creating a powerfully omniscient image. Inside, both Robin and Ras Al Ghul's daughter are kidnapped and a worldwide hunt for them ensues. Traveling to Calcutta, India and Tibet, Adams beautifully captures and contrasts the settings. The splash on page 12 suggests the vastness of the Himalayas while a face is not-so-subtlely embedded in the mountainous background. There are too many finely rendered scenes to mention, including a brief recap of Batman and Robin's respective origins. This story was later reprinted in Limited Collectors' Edition #C-51 and Best of DC #51. See today's posts or more Adams or Batman issues. See also this blog's Adams checklist or Top 10 Adams comics.
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Adams cover pencils and inks = ***
"Daughter Of The Demon" Adams story pencils (Dick Giordano inks) 22 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Adams issues, >more Batman issues

Quick-Trigger Western #12 - Matt Baker art

Quick-Trigger Western v1 #12, 1956 - Putting aside his guns, Rand Hartley decides to live a quieter life, until a troublesome gang rides into town. Splendid layouts and clear storytelling are hallmarks of this Matt Baker tale. The artist intersperses open, borderless panels for emphasis and variety. This works exceptionally well for the most intense scene: as the hero is severely beaten by thugs ( see interior page above). Perhaps not coincidentally, two characters share the same last name as two artists in this issue (Hartley and Baker). Other artists in this issue include Bob Forgione, Jack Abel, Al Hartley and John Severin (cover). This is number 1 of 3 Quick-Trigger Western issues with Baker art and/or covers. See today's posts, more Baker or Quick-Trigger Western issues. See also this blog's Matt Baker checklist.
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"The Man Who Wouldn't Fight" Baker story pencils and inks 5 pages = ****
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Baker issues, >more Quick-Trigger Western issues

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Man-Thing #9 - Mike Ploog art & cover

Man-Thing v1 #9 marvel 1970s bronze age comic book cover art by Mike PloogMan-Thing v1 #9 marvel comic 1970s bronze age comic page art by Mike Ploog
Man-Thing v1 #9, 1974 - Frustrated by living in the swamp, an old woman's hatred begins to manifest itself into demonic forms. Mike Ploog's characters seem a bit too comical for the theme, yet his rendition of the Man-Thing continues to impress. Unfortuately, the meager inks of Frank Chiaramonte fail to add much needed definition to the pencils. The two page spread of corpses emerging from the bog (pgs. 26-27) is a squandered opportunity, with very little detail and an absence of depth. Ploog's hand is still evident but poorly served. This is number 5 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 = ***
"Deathwatch" Ploog story pencils (Frank Chiaramonte inks) 18 pages = **
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Ploog issues, >more Man-Thing issues

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Ben and Me / Four Color Comics #539 - Al Hubbard art & cover

Walt Disney's Ben and Me / Four Color Comics #539, 1954 - Based on the Disney animated short, the story chronicles the friendship between Benjamin Franklin and an inventive mouse. Al Hubbard opens with a large spacious panel, cleverly titled in letterpress type. His drawings are lively and organic, infusing the characters with humor and personality. To supplement the fictional tale, two biographical pages are also included. This is number 1 of 1 Ben and Me issues with Hubbard art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Hubbard or Four Color Comics issues. See also this blog's Hubbard checklist.
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Hubbard cover pencils and inks = ***
"Ben and Me" Hubbard story pencils and inks 32 pages = ****
"Inventions by Ben and Me" Hubbard back cover pencils and inks = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Hubbard issues

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Human Fly v2 #9 - John Byrne cover

Human Fly v2 #9, 1978 - This obscure John Byrne cover depicts a precarious rescue by the Human Fly. The woman's upraised arm is poorly foreshortened and disproportionate to her head. The worm's eye view seems to apply only to the foreground, resulting in a mildly distracting inconsistency. On the plus side, the background is nicely detailed and Terry Austin's inks do justice to Byrne's pencils. Curiously, of the two guest stars inside, the White Tiger appears on the cover rather than the more popular Daredevil. Other artists in this issue include Frank Robbins and Mike Esposito. This is number 1 of 1 Human Fly issues with Byrne art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Byrne or Human Fly issues. See also this blog's Byrne checklist.
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Byrne cover pencils (Terry Austin inks) = **
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Byrne issues, >more Human Fly issues

Friday, June 1, 2012

Pacific Presents #1 - Steve Ditko art

Pacific Presents v1 #1 - Steve Ditko art 1980s pacific comic book page
Pacific Presents v1 #1, 1982 - Another of Steve Ditko's strange but likable creations, the Missing Man fights crime with his extended free-floating limbs. Although some pages are populated with small, crowded panels, the characters are oddly distinctive and lovingly drawn. Equally noteworthy is a Rocketeer installment by Dave Stevens (art & cover), paying homage to both artist Frank Frazetta and the notorious pin-up Betty Page. This is number 1 of 3 Pacific Presents issues with Ditko art and/or covers. See today's post or more Ditko or Pacific Presents issues. See also this blog's Ditko checklist.
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Ditko partial cover pencils and inks = ***
"Missing Man Meets the Queen Bee" Ditko story pencils and inks 18 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Ditko issues, >more Pacific Presents issues

Top 10 Marshall Rogers comics

Top ten Marshall Rogers comic books My 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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 Detective Comics #481
DC Special Series #15
Madame Xanadu #1
 Detective Comics #478
Detective Comics #476
Detective Comics #475
Mister Miracle #24
Mister Miracle #22
House of Mystery #274

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