Monday, December 12, 2016

Superman #400 - Jim Steranko, Jack Kirby, Bernie Wrightson, Al Williamson, Steve Ditko, Walt Simonson, Frank Miller, Marshall Rogers, John Byrne art


Superman #400, 1984 - This thick anniversary issue boasts many of comicdom's best writers and artists. A select handful drew story pages while most did single page pin-ups. Some of the more unexpected contributors include the French artist Moebius, Will Eisner (creator of the Spirit), Wendy Pini (Elfquest), Jerry Robinson (golden age Batman artist) and Leonard Starr of Little Orphan Annie fame. Nine artists featured on this blog are included in this celebratory issue, with varying degrees of success. Frank Miller's pages, though conceptually interesting, is the visually weakest with the exception of his subdued back cover. Al Williamson's sequence has both his pencils and inks, a rarity in his 1980s DC comics. Jack Kirby, Walt Simonson, Marshall Rogers, and John Byrne all perform splendidly with their tasks. Both Bernie Wrightson and Steve Ditko submit the finest pin-ups in the book, though neither artist had much experience with the title character. The most stunning pages in the issue are five double page spreads by Jim Steranko. Large imposing figures are placed upon a sequence of mostly vertical panels. Told in a narrative format, the layouts bear a similarity to the artist's "Outland" movie adaptation. Photographic and op art textures are Steranko hallmarks, and he uses them masterfully here. Other artists in this issue include Joe Orlando, Brian Bolland, Mike Kaluta, Jack Davis, Mike Grell, Klaus Janson, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Howard Chaykin (cover). This is number 2 of 3 Superman issues with Williamson art and/or covers.
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Byrne pencils and inks 1 page pin-up = ***
Ditko
pencils and inks 1 page pin-up = ****
Kirby
pencils (Terry Austin inks) 1 page pin-up = ***
Miller story pencils and inks 4 pages = **
Miller back cover pencils and inks = ***
Simonson pencils and inks 1 page pin-up = ***
Steranko story pencils and inks 10 pages = ****
Rogers story pencils (Terry Austin inks) 7 pages = ***
Williamson story pencils and inks 8 pages = ***
Wrightson pencils and inks 1 page pin-up = ****

Jim Steranko
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See: today's posts / Superman / Kirby / Byrne / Williamson / Miller / Ditko / Steranko / Rogers / Simonson / Wrightson
Find on ebay: >this issue >Steranko >Williamson >Byrne >Ditko >Kirby >Miller >Rogers >Simonson >Wrightson >Superman

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