Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Piracy #2 - Wally Wood, Al Williamson art

Piracy v1 #2 ec comic book cover art by Reed CrandallPiracy v1 #2 ec comic book page art by Al Williamson
Piracy v1 #2, 1954 - In his tale of skin diver's search for a sunken galleon, Al Williamson's contemporary style seems particularly well suited. Several panels are burdened with abundant text and dialogue (page two especially), yet his drawings maintain a high standard. Augmented by Angelo Torres' inks, the underwater scenes are eerie and convincing (see interior page above). Wally Wood tells of an intense dislike between a ship captain and his crewman. The artist fills each page with a plethora of details including the frigate's rigging, masts and woodwork. Framed and open panels toggle back and forth, increasing variety and interest. Wood's EC artwork is often exquisite and this issue is no exception. Other artists in this issue include Jack Davis and Reed Crandall (art and cover). This is number 2 of 2 Piracy issues with Wood art and/or covers and number 2 of 2 Piracy issues with Williamson art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Williamson, Wood or Piracy issues. See also this blog's Williamson checklist or Wood checklist.
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"A Fitting End" Wood story pencils and inks 6 pages = ****
"The Shell Game" Williamson story pencils (Angelo Torres inks) 6 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Williamson issues, >more Wood issues, >more Piracy issues

Monday, August 6, 2012

Giant-size Man-Thing #1 - Mike Ploog art & cover, Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby reprints

Giant-size Man-Thing v1 #1 marvel 1970s bronze age comic book cover art by Mike Ploog artGiant-size Man-Thing v1 #1 marvel 1970s bronze age comic book page art by Mike Ploog art
Giant-size Man-Thing v1 #1, 1974 - Regular series artist Mike Ploog illustrates the Man-Thing's first giant-size annual (his second-longest bronze age tale after Marvel Spotlight #2). Two splash pages accompany the many spacious panels within the story. His drawings lack definition on certain pages, but his best work occurs on the climactic fight scene on pages 30-32. Ploog captures the same scene on the cover, but with more impact, excitement and visual appeal. Reprints from Jack Kirby (Strange Tales Annual #2 and Tales of Suspense #15) and Steve Ditko (Amazing Adventures #11) round out the book. This is number 1 of 1 Giant Size Man-Thing issues with Ploog art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Ploog, Kirby, Ditko or Man-Thing issues. See also this blog's Kirby checklistDitko checklistPloog checklist or Top 10 Mike Ploog comics.
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Ploog cover pencils and inks = *****
"When the Last Flame Dies" Ploog story
pencils (Frank Chiaramonte inks) 25 pages = ***
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Find on ebay:
>this issue, >more Ploog issues, >more Kirby issues, >more Ditko issues, >more Man-Thing issues

Sea Hunt #9 - Russ Manning art


Sea Hunt v1 #9, 1961 - Unlike the previous issues, Russ Manning illustrates the entire book, including four stories and various educational pages. In the three main features, Mike Nelson is hired for his diving expertise, running afoul of both thieves and spies. Not surprisingly, these showcase Manning's astute drawing skills. The most exciting scenes are near water or underwater, where the artist employs more dramatic lighting and layout (see interior page above). Hard pressed to find a standout, all four stories are enjoyable and aesthetically pleasing. This is number 5 of 8 Sea Hunt issues with Manning art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Manning or Sea Hunt issues. See also this blog's Russ Manning checklist.
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"Underwater Coverup" Manning story pencils and inks 10 pages = ***"Deep Divers" Manning story pencils and inks 1 page = **
"Suspicious Waters" Manning story pencils and inks 9 pages = ***
"The Gribet Hunt" Manning story pencils and inks 3 pages = ***
"The Bay Bandit" Manning story pencils and inks 8 pages = ***
"The Red Tide" Manning story pencils and inks 1 page = **
"Animals of the Sea" Manning inside back cover pencils and inks (black and white) = **
" Birds of the Sea" Manning back cover pencils and inks = ***
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Find on ebay:
>this issue, >more Manning issues, >more Sea Hunt issues
Find on amazon:
>this tv show

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Incredible Hulk v2 Special #1 - original Jim Steranko cover

Jim Steranko's cover for ol' greenskin's first annual, Incredible Hulk v2 Special #1. Plenty of contrast, good allocation of whites and blacks. See today's posts or more Steranko or Incredible Hulk issues. See also this blog's Steranko checklist, Top 10 Steranko comics or more artworks
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Find on ebay: >more Jim Steranko original art

Weird Mystery Tales #1 - Jack Kirby, Bernie Wrightson art


Weird Mystery Tales v1 #1, 1972 - Credited in price guides for the opening splash, Bernie Wrightson only draws the series host, sharing space with Jack Kirby's title page. Originally done for Spirit World magazine, "Horoscope Phenomenon" retains a nightmarish feel. The reduction to the smaller format has little impact on Kirby's competent story art. Other artists in this issue include Jack Abel and Michael Kaluta (cover). This is number 1 of 3 Weird Mystery Tales issues with Wrightson art and/or covers and number 1 of 3 Weird Mystery Tales issues with Kirby art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Kirby, Wrightson or Weird Mystery Tales issues. See also this blog's Kirby checklistWrightson checklist or Top 10 Wrightson comics.
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Wrightson partial splash page pencils and inks = **
"Horoscope Phenomenon or Witch Queen of Ancient Sumeria?" Kirby story pencils (Mike Royer inks) 10 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Wrightson issues, >more Kirby issues, >more Weird Mystery Tales issues

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Quick-Trigger Western #13 - Al Williamson art, non-attributed Matt Baker art


Quick-Trigger Western v1 #13, 1956 - A stagecoach robbery goes awry, forcing the thief to escape via disguise. Al Williamson's bold opening splash sets the tone, drawn in almost painterly detail (see interior page shown above). His approach becomes a tad less effective on subsequent pages, as certain panels lose clarity. Matt Baker's story about two very different brothers is less dramatic, but equally enjoyable. His splash of a bucking horse cleverly leads the eye from background to foreground to inset panel. Though not attributed by comic book guides, Baker performs admirably. Both Williamson and Baker tales were later reprinted in Western Gunfighters v2 #2. Other artists in this issue include Gene Colan, Joe Maneely and John Severin (cover). This is number 1 of 2 Quick-Trigger Western issues with Williamson art and/or covers and number 2 of 3 Quick-Trigger Western issues with Baker art and/or covers. See today's posts, more Williamson, Baker or Quick-Trigger Western issues. See also this blog's Williamson checklist or Baker checklist.
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"Outlaw's Hideout" Williamson story pencils and inks 5 pages = ***
"The Wild One" Baker story pencils and inks 5 pages = ***
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Find on ebay:
>this issue, >more Williamson issues, >more Baker issues, >more Quick-Trigger Western issues

Captain Marvel v2 #26 - Jim Starlin art & cover

Captain Marvel #26 marvel 1970s bronze age comic book cover art by Jim StarlinCaptain Marvel #26 marvel comic 1970s bronze age comic page art by Jim Starlin
Captain Marvel v2 #26, 1973 - The Thing is lured into a carefully laid trap, trading blows with an enraged Captain Marvel. The Kree warrior's face has been modified on Jim Starlin's cover (most likely by John Romita) but the overall effort is still lackluster. Inside, the artist's rendition of the Thing is more comical than intended, but his innovative sequences more than compensate. His pencils are further polished by Dave Cockrum's smooth inking. Starlin's action scenes culminate in a splash page of the villain Thanos (his second appearance since Iron Man #55). This story was later reprinted in Life of Captain Marvel #1. This is number 2 of 12 Captain Marvel issues with Starlin art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Starlin or Captain Marvel issues. See also this blog's Starlin checklist or Top 10 Starlin comics.
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Starlin cover pencils (John Romita? inks) = *
"Betrayal" Starlin story pencils (Dave Cockrum inks) 20 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Starlin issues, >more Captain Marvel issues

Friday, August 3, 2012

Batman #237 - Neal Adams art & cover

Batman v1 #237 dc comic book cover art by Neal AdamsBatman v1 #237 dc comic book page art by Neal Adams
Batman v1 #237, 1971 - Set in Rutland, Vermont during their annual Halloween Festival, the heroes track a murderer dressed as the grim reaper. Although too many elements mar Neal Adams' cover, the same scene works more successfully on an interior splash (page 8). Superbly drawn throughout, the artist shows a mastery of pacing in addition to his rendering skills. Highlights include keenly designed panel sequences of Halloween parade floats (pages 2-3) and a car-bomb explosion (page 18). Interestingly, this Denny O' Neil story includes input from science fiction author Harlan Ellison and artist Bernie Wrightson. Rounding out the book is a Batman story reprinted from Detective Comics #37. 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 (Dick Giordano inks) = ***
"The Night Of The Reaper"
Adams story pencils (Dick Giordano inks) 25 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Adams issues, >more Batman issues


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Atom and Hawkman #39 - Joe Kubert cover

Atom and Hawkman v1 #39, 1968 - Consolidating both The Atom and Hawkman series, DC brings both heroes together in one title. Joe Kubert, Hawkman's best artist during the golden and silver age, makes a logical choice as cover artist. A bit busier than I prefer, the layout leaves little room for breathing space. Kubert partially offsets this with his keen draftsmanship. Other artists in this issue include Murphy Anderson / Joe Giella. This is number 1 of 7 Atom and Hawkman issues with Kubert art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Kubert or Atom and Hawkman issues. See also this blog's Joe Kubert checklist.
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Kubert cover pencils and inks = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Kubert issues, >more Atom and Hawkman issues

Top 10 Mike Ploog comics

Top ten Mike Ploog 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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1.
Frankenstein v2 #2
2.
Frankenstein v2 #3
3.
Frankenstein v2 #1
4.
Frankenstein v2 #4
5.
Kull #11
6.
Planet of the Apes #6
7.
Planet of the Apes #8
8.
Man-Thing #5
9.
Man-Thing #7
10.
Marvel Spotlight #3
















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

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