Friday, December 7, 2012

Ronin #4 - Frank Miller art & cover

Ronin v1 #4 dc comic book cover art by Frank MillerRonin v1 #4 dc comic book page art by Frank Miller
Ronin v1 #4, 1984 - The traditional samurai delves deep into the Manhattan sewers, searching for someone of personal importance. Frank Miller's cover is the weakest of the series, but his interiors continues to dazzle. Forty plus pages (including five double page spreads) demonstrate a mastery of storytelling. Among the highlights are the techno-organic army on pages 10-11 and the clever film strip sequence on pages 44-45. Most compelling perhaps is the minimalist but powerful scene of slow, encroaching darkness (pages 21-22). This is number 4 of 6 Ronin issues with Miller art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Miller or Ronin issues. See also this blog's Frank Miller checklist.
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Miller wrap around cover pencils and inks = **
Miller story pencils and inks 48 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Miller issues, >more Ronin issues
Find on amazon: >the trade paperback

The Texan #5 - Matt Baker art & cover


The Texan v1 #5, 1949 - Buckskin Belle meets a handsome tenderfoot in the opening story by Matt Baker. The artwork is nicely done, although the inker is unknown to me. The first page is better than the rest, depicting the taming a wild horse. Baker's cover is a tad better, although why the cowboy embraces a woman during a gunfight is curious. Note that the cowboy's hat is shot clean off to heighten the tension. This is number 2 of 11 Texan issues with Baker art and/or covers. See today's posts, more Baker or Texan issues. See also this blog's Baker checklist.
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Baker cover pencils and inks = ***
"Peril on the Prairie"
Baker story pencils 9 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue>more Baker issues>more Texan issues

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Daredevil #50 - Barry Windsor Smith art & cover

Daredevil v1 #50 marvel 1960s silver age comic book cover art by Barry Windsor SmithDaredevil v1 #50 marvel 1960s silver age comic book page art by Barry Windsor Smith
Daredevil v1 #50, 1969 - A robotic threat from Star Saxxon proves more than a challenge for Daredevil. Curiously, his foe is mis-colored on the cover and has a somewhat different costume than the inside. The first of several issues by Barry Smith, his artwork is representative of his earliest efforts for Marvel. His emulation of comics veteran Jack Kirby is obvious, but primitive and poorly drawn. The cover layout mostly fails to elicit excitement or interest. Smith's only saving grace is his interior pages, which display a youthful enthusiasm. Kudos to inker Johnny Craig, who does his best to add polish and clarity. This is number 1 of 6 Daredevil issues with Smith art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Smith or Daredevil issues. See also this blog's Smith checklist or Top 10 Smith comics.
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Smith cover pencils (Johnny Craig? inks) = *
"If In Battle I Fall"
Smith story pencils (Johnny Craig inks) 20 pages = **
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Find on ebay: >this issue>more Smith issues>more Daredevil issues

Green Lantern v2 #88 - Neal Adams art & cover

Green Lantern Green Arrow #88 dc comic book cover art by Neal AdamsGreen Lantern v2 #88, 1972 - Like many of DC's 52-page bronze age comics, this issue is comprised mostly of reprints. Neal Adams supplies the montage-like cover (except for the bottom panel), showcasing the two original Green Lanterns. Not among his best efforts, details fall short on the small illustrations. Compensating for this is Adams' exquisite pencil sketch for Green Lantern #89. This rough cover increases anticipation for the next issue. An unpublished golden age tale by Carmine Infantino accompanies the silver age reprints. This is number 14 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 = **
Adams pencils only 1 page = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Adams issues, >more Green Lantern issues

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Marvel Two-in-One #55 - John Byrne art


Marvel Two-in-One v1 #55, 1979 - In part three of the Pegasus Project storyline, Black Goliath enters the fray, donning a new costume and renaming himself Giant-Man. John Byrne delivers yet another capably drawn tale, his last on the series. Joe Sinnott faithfully maintains the integrity of the pencils, while adding crispness and clarity. Quasar and Thundra also make appearances. Other artists in this issue include Keith Pollard and Joe Sinnott (cover). This is number 5 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. See also this blog's Byrne checklist.
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"Giants in the Earth" 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

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Swamp Thing #12 - Nestor Redondo art & cover

Swamp Thing v1 #12 1970s bronze age dc comic book cover art by Nestor RedondoSwamp Thing v1 #12 1970s bronze age dc comic book page art by Nestor Redondo
Swamp Thing v1 #12, 1974 - Traveling through different eras in time, the Swamp Thing encounters the same man at each juncture. Nestor Redondo's first cover for the series is skillfully composed and beautifully drawn. His story pages contain the same high level of draftsmanship, from the dinosaur's reptilian skin on pages 1-4 to the lions of ancient Rome on page 7 (see interior page above). Most impressive is the painstaking detail he infuses on nearly every page. This is number 2 of 13 Swamp Thing issues with Redondo art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Redondo or Swamp Thing issues. See also this blog's Redondo checklist or Top 10 Redondo comics.
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Redondo cover pencils and inks = ****
"The Eternity Man" Redondo story pencils and inks 20 pages = ****
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Redondo issues, >more Swamp Thing issues

Midget Comics #1 (Fighting Indian Stories) - Matt Baker cover

Midget Comics v1 #1 (Fighting Indian Stories), 1950 - An Indian raises his tomahawk to strike, just as another arrives to the rescue (presumably). Matt Baker's cover is capably designed and illustrated, leading the reader's eye from the masthead to the helpless victim. Native American-inspired patterns, icons and hand drawn letters further enhance the cover's appeal. Only two issues were published in this smaller format (about 5x7), both in the western genre. This is number 1 of 1 Midget Comics issues with Baker art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Baker issues. See also this blog's Baker checklist.
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Baker cover pencils and inks = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Baker issues

Monday, December 3, 2012

Power Man #45 - Jim Starlin cover

Luke Cage, Power Man v1 #45, 1977 Jim Starlin's Power Man takes up most of the cover layout, suggesting limited space (and time). His figure has bulk and mass, straining against the chains. His bronze age drawings tend to be slightly cartoonish at times, made more so in this case by the primary color palette. As far as I know, this is Starlin's only rendition of the character. Other artists in this issue include Lee Elias. This is number 1 of 1 Power Man issues with Starlin art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Starlin or Power Man issues. See also this blog's Starlin checklist or Top 10 Starlin comics.
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Starlin cover pencils and inks = ***
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Find on ebay:  >this issue, >more Starlin issues, >more Power Man issues

DC Comics Presents #54 - Don Newton art & cover


DC Comics Presents v1 #54, 1983 - Superman and Green Arrow take on a polluting corporation in this environmentally themed story. With twenty-three pages, Don Newton has room to vary panel sizes and layouts. His portrait of Superman on the opening splash page is impressive, taking great care in depicting the hero. Throughout the story, other panels (pages 9-10) seem to reinforce this. By comparison, Newton's cover is just satisfactory. This is number 1 of 1 DC Comics Presents issues with Newton art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Newton or DC Comics Presents issues. See also this blog's Don Newton checklist.
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Newton cover pencils (Dick Giordano inks) = ***
"The Price of Progress" Newton story pencils (Dan Adkins inks) 23 pages = ****
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Newton issues, >more DC Comics Presents issues

Sunday, December 2, 2012

3-D Comics (Tor #2A) - Joe Kubert art & cover

Tor v1 #2A st john golden age comic book cover art by Joe KubertTor v1 #2A st john golden age comic book page art by Joe Kubert
3-D Comics (Tor v1 #2A), October 1953 - Although technically titled "3D Comics", this issue has often been included in comic guides as part of the Tor series. Even more confusing, this is the earlier of two same-numbered issues whose contents differ. Joe Kubert's small cover illustration pales compared to his work inside. Though partially obscured by the 3-D printing effect, there is a high level of effort and detail on all the stories. The scene of a gigantic turtle's attack is one of many exquisitely drawn panels. Other artists in this issue include Russ Heath and Norman Maurer. This is number 1 of 5 Tor issues with Kubert art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Kubert or Tor issues. See also this blog's Kubert checklist.
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Kubert cover pencils and inks = *
Untitled story ("This is the story of man...") Kubert pencils and inks 8 pages = ****
Untitled story ("Why is man able to survive...") Kubert pencils and inks 6 pages = ****
Untitled story ("Imagine Yourself...") Kubert pencils and inks 3 pages = ****
"Danny Dreams" Kubert story pencils and inks 5 pages = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Kubert issues, >more Tor issues

Spectacular Spider-man v2 #17 - John Byrne cover

Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-man v2 #17, 1978 - Not long after his stint on The Champions, John Byrne's cover features one of the founding members, the Angel. More visceral than graceful, his artwork comes through despite the domineering masthead and clutter of word balloons. Other artists in this issue include Sal Buscema and Dave Hunt. This is number 1 of 5 Spectacular Spider-man issues with Byrne art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Byrne or Spectacular Spider-man issues. See also this blog's Byrne checklist.
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Byrne cover pencils (Joe Rubinstein inks) = ***
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Find on ebay: >this issue>more Byrne issues>more Spectacular Spider-man issues

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Christmas Parade v2 #2 - Carl Barks reprint & cover reprint

Walt Disney's Christmas Parade v2 #2, 1963 - Carl Barks' superb original cover has been drastically changed, replacing the Donald Duck figure and simplifying many details. Fortunately, with the exception of the back cover, "A Christmas for Shacktown", the inside front cover and inside back cover remain intact. All contents were originally from Donald Duck/Four Color Comics #367. See today's posts or more Barks or Christmas Parade issues. See also this blog's Carl Barks checklist.
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Barks issues, >more Christmas Parade issues

The Shadow v2 #3 - Bernie Wrightson art

The Shadow v2 #3 - Bernie Wrightson dc 1970s bronze age comic book page art
The Shadow v2 #3, 1973 - A large penitentiary draws suspicion from the Shadow and his team, leading them to the infamous mobster King Cobra. Series artist Michael Kaluta gets a hand from Bernie Wrightson, whose inks significantly enhance the artwork. The opening bank robbery scene (see interior page above) and the exploding prison walls (page 17) are but two of many fine panels. Though their respective styles work well together, few other collaborations come to mind (see House of Mystery #221). Prior to the first Shadow issue, Wrightson also did a stunning promotional ad in several DC issues, including Kamandi #2. This is number 1 of 2 Shadow issues with Wrightson art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Wrightson or Shadow issues. See also this blog's Wrightson checklist or Top 10 Wrightson comics.
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"Kingdom of the Cobra" Wrightson story inks (Mike Kaluta pencils) 20 pages = ****
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Wrightson issues, >more Shadow issues

Nick Fury, Agent of Shield #6 - Jim Steranko cover

Nick Fury Agent of Shield v1 #6 1960s marvel comic book cover art by Jim Steranko




Nick Fury, Agent of S.h.i.e.l.d. v1 #6, 1968 - By this issue, Jim Steranko no longer illustrates the interiors but manages to produce this outstanding cover. A spacesuit-garbed Nick Fury floats adrift while the Earth explodes in the distance. The rough photographic texture of the moon nicely complements the smattering of stars in the background. Devoid of blurbs or titles, the setting suggests the vast silence of space. Not since the EC comics of the 1950s has a science fiction cover made such an artistic contribution. This is number 6 of 7 Nick Fury issues with Steranko art and/or covers. See today's posts or more Steranko or Nick Fury issues. See also this blog's Jim Steranko checklist or Top 10 Steranko comics.
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Steranko cover pencils and inks = *****
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Find on ebay: >this issue, >more Steranko issues, >more Nick Fury issues