Sunday, October 7, 2012

Marvel Two-in-One #53 - John Byrne art & cover

Marvel Two-in-One v1 #53, 1979 - After the demise of the 1950s Marvel Boy, his stellar-powered wrist bands are passed down to another hero, who promptly names himself Quasar. The Pegasus Project storyline begins, capably drawn by John Byrne and Joe Sinnott. Though their collaborative cover falls short, their interior artwork is clean, clear and streamlined. Deathlok the Demolisher makes a cameo appearance toward the end, setting up the next issue. This is number 3 of 8 Marvel Two-in-One issues with Byrne art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Byrne or Marvel Two-In-One issues. 
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Byrne cover pencils (Joe Sinnott inks) = **
"The Inner War" Byrne story pencils (Joe Sinnott inks)
17 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Byrne issues, >more Marvel Two In One issues

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Tim Holt #23 - Frank Frazetta cover

Tim Holt v1 #23 golden age western comic book cover art by Frank FrazettaTim Holt v1 #23, 1951 - Bank robbers are foiled by Tim Holt and his men on this vividly colorful cover. Frank Frazetta's layout shows a wide depth of field, reinforced by the various hues. A background pole leads the eye from the masthead to the title character, identifying him as a focal point. George Evans' inks are delicate, but are not detrimental to Frazetta's impressive pencils. This is number 3 of 3 Tim Holt issues with Frazetta art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Frazetta or Tim Holt issues. See also this blog's Frazetta checklistTop 10 Frazetta comics or the original cover to this issue.
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Frazetta cover pencils (George Evans inks) = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Frazetta issues, >more Tim Holt issues

DC Comics Presents #36 - Jim Starlin art & cover

DC Comics Presents v1 #36, 1981 - The third Starman (Prince Gavyn), introduced only a year before in Adventure Comics #467, joins forces with Superman against the alien Mongul. Unlike previous issues in this series, Jim Starlin handles both pencilling and inking chores. The resulting pages are visually engaging, combining inventive layouts with precise rendering. Perhaps most compelling is the expertly choreographed fight between Superman and Mongul on pages 19-21. This is number 5 of 7 DC Comics Presents issues with Starlin art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Starlin or DC Comics Presents issues. See also this blog's Starlin checklist or Top 10 Starlin comics.
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Starlin cover pencils and inks = ***
"Whatever Happend to Starman?" Starlin story pencils and inks 25 pages = ****
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Starlin issues, >more DC Comics Presents issues

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Thing #17 - Steve Ditko cover

The Thing v1 #17, 1954 - This wizard-themed cover is unrelated to the inside stories, but it's among Steve Ditko's best. A darkened room is illuminated by the brazier's fire, revealing an ominous creature in the smoke. The layout masterfully repeats the cobweb in the background, increasing depth. On the right, a mystical book's pages fall in stairstep fashion, leading the eye to Ditko's signature. Most impressive is his inking, adding definition and texture to an already superb drawing. This is number 5 of 5 The Thing issues with Ditko art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Ditko or Thing issues. See also this blog's Ditko checklist.
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Ditko cover pencils and inks = *****
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Ditko issues, >more The Thing issues

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Conan the Barbarian #12 - Barry Windsor Smith art, non-attributed Bernie Wrightson art & cover

Conan the Barbarian v1 #12 marvel comic book cover art by Bernie Wrightson  Conan the Barbarian v1 #12 marvel comic book page art by Barry Windsor Smith
Conan the Barbarian v1 #12, 1971 - Barry Smith inks his own story pencils for the first time on the series, showing the beginnings of a neoclassical style. Fine lines and sensitively applied textures permeate the pages. Though his rendition of a octopus-like dweller borders on silly (see interior page above), there's enough of Smith's impressive artistry to compensate. This story was first reprinted in Savage Tales #4 (black & white). Bernie Wrightson inks Gil Kane's cover, but with little impact. His back-up tale (later reprinted in Giant-size Conan  #5) is more significant, adding depth and modeling to Kane's pencils. This is number 12 of 22 Conan the Barbarian issues with Smith art and/or covers and number 1 of 1 Conan the Barbarian issues with Wrightson art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Wrightson, Smith or Conan the Barbarian issues. See also this blog's Smith checklist, Wrightson checklistTop 10 Wrightson comics or Top 10 Smith comics.
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Wrightson cover inks (Gil Kane pencils) = *
"The Dweller in the Dark" Smith story pencils and inks 16 pages = ****
"The Blood of the Dragon" Wrightson partial 
story inks (Gil Kane pencils) 2 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Smith issues, >more Wrightson issues, >more Conan the Barbarian issues

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Batman #245 - Neal Adams art & cover

Batman v1 #245 dc comic book cover art by Neal AdamsBatman v1 #245 dc comic book page art by Neal Adams
Batman v1 #245, 1973 - Coerced by a political boss, a computer scientist takes part in framing a mayoral candidate. Neal Adams' illustrations continue to impress, displaying a mastery of layout and draftsmanship. Like his cover design, the artist uses lighting throughout the story to establish mood. Batman's confrontation of the scientist (see interior page above) is a perfect example, using a silhouetted lamp to add depth and contrast. Dick Giordano is credited as inker, but too many panels and pages suggest that Adams contributed as well. Other artists in this issue include Irv Novick. 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 = ***
"The Bruce Wayne Murder Case"
Adams story pencils, partial inks (Dick Giordano inks) 15 pages = ****
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Adams issues, >more Batman issues

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Chamber of Darkness #5 - Jack Kirby art & cover

Chamber of Darkness v1 #5, 1970 - A fighter pilot crawls from his plane's wreckage, finding himself in the middle of Communist China. As adept as Jack Kirby's story pages are, his cover art is even better. Note how the pilot's torso and arms help frame the ghostly figure from below. The background wall's intricate patterns not only have an Asian influence, but suggest the ancient and exotic. The cover inks are more sensitively applied than the interiors, thanks to Bill Everett. Other artists in this issue include Johnny Craig and Paul Reinman. This is number 2 of 2 Chamber of Darkness issues with Kirby art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Kirby or Chamber of Darkness issues. See also this blog's Kirby checklist.
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Kirby cover pencils (Bill Everett inks) = ****
"And Fear Shall Follow" Kirby story pencils (John Verpoorten inks) 7 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Kirby issues, >more Chamber Of Darkness issues

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Frogmen #3 - Frank Frazetta art

The Frogmen v1 #3 dell 1960s silver age comic book page art by Frank Frazetta
The Frogmen v1 #3, 1962 - Off the coast of Alaska, a difficult underwater task beckons commercial divers Steve Randall and Jim Collins. Like the previous issue, Frank Frazetta does some partial inks over George Evans' terrific pencils. His contribution seems more evident this time, highlighting details and adding modeling and depth where needed. The underwater scenes are especially good, where the artist's meticulous brushwork results in beautiful fluid and dappled effects. This is number 2 of 2 Frogmen issues with Frazetta art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Frogmen or Frazetta issues. See also this blog's Frazetta checklist or Top 10 Frazetta comics.
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"The Ice Under the Ice" Frazetta story partial inks (George Evans pencils) 32 pages = ****
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FInd on ebay: >this issue, >more Frazetta issues, >more Frogmen issues

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