Marvel Classics Comics v1 #2, 1976 - I had always thought that Alex Nino's style was well suited for the science fiction genre. This adaptation of the H. G. Wells classic only reinforces my opinion. One of this lengthiest tales, this splendid Nino effort is actually a reprint of the Pendulum Classics paperback (originally printed in black and white). This larger format bolsters his unique futuristic drawings. In addition to two artfully drawn splash pages, the artist also completes a spectacular spread (pages 36-37) of the hero amidst an army of Morlocks. Other artists in this issue include Gil Kane (cover). Compare this issue to the earlier Alex Toth version in Four Color Comics v2 #1085. This is number 1 of 3 Marvel Classics Comics issues with Nino art and/or covers.
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"The Time Machine" Nino story pencils and inks 48 pages (first time in color) = ***

Alex Nino
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>this issue >Nino >Marvel Classics Comics
Jim Starlin
Ms. Marvel  v1 #12, 1977 - Encased in crystal, our heroine becomes the prisoner of the evil Elementals. Joining them is the sorceress Hecate, making her debut. Jim Starlin uses a tilted horizon line for a greater dynamic effect. His illustration is crisp and clear with an emphasis on the title character. And he stills manages to squeeze in four more figures into the layout. Other artists in this issue include Sal Buscema and Joe Sinnott. This is number 1 of 1 Ms. Marvel issues with Starlin art and/or covers.
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Starlin cover pencils / Joe Rubinstein inks = ***

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>this issue >Starlin >Ms. Marvel



Ms. Marvel v1
Marvel
1977-79

1
2-4
5-11
12 - Jim Starlin cover
13-23


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77 Sunset Strip v1 #1, 1962 - Following a handful of Four Color Comics issues, these LA detectives graduate into their own title. All three stories are approachable, thanks to Russ Manning's confident line. Each tale has its strengths, but the tale of Kookie's accidental exchange with a spy stands out as exceptional. Many scenes occur during the evening, calling for greater contrast and depth. The thin diagonal lines of rain also increase excitement and visual interest (see interior page below). A contents page on the inside front cover borrows panels from each of the respective stories. This is number 5 of 6 77 Sunset Strip issues with Manning art and/or covers.
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"The Mix Up" Manning story pencils and inks 10 pages = ****
"Blaze of Revenge" Manning story pencils and inks 12 pages = ***
"The Ruby Caper " Manning story pencils and inks 9 pages = ***
"It's Manslaughter"/"It's Murder" Manning text illos pencils and inks 1 page = **
"Business World Espionage" Manning i
nside back cover pencils and inks = ***

77 Sunset Strip v1 #1 dell tv 1960s silver age comic book page art by Russ Manning
Russ Manning
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>this issue >Manning >77 Sunset Strip

Eerie v3 #65, 1975The murderous Hacker returns to London on another killing spree. Following several clues, Lt. Smythe of Scotland Land gains entry into an exclusive gentlemen's club. Alex Toth's drawings are interspersed with ominous shapes. He also employs more than a few visual devices, including a panel dripping with viscous liquid. Not surprisingly, Toth's storytelling skills result in exemplary page designs. Bernie Wrighton contributes the issue's frontispiece: a rendition of Cousin Eerie relaxing in his library of horrors. Beautifully drawn, scene radiates with precise and textural linework (the hot pink color doesn't hurt either). Other artists in this issue include Paul Neary and Jose Ortiz. This is number 8 of 14 Eerie magazine issues with Wrightson art and/or covers (not including reprints).
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Wrightson inside front cover (duotone) = ****
"The Hacker is Back" Toth story pencils and inks 10 pages (black and white) = ***

Bernie Wrightson
Alex Toth
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>this issue >Toth >Eerie >Wrightson
Joe Kubert
Ragman v1 #1, 1976 - Ragman makes his first appearance in this issue, along with his prerequisite origin story. Joe Kubert's cover design borrows from an inside page, but its monochromatic washes dampen its impact. Although the interior art is credited to the Redondo Studio, it's clear Kubert provided some rough layouts. Pages 2-8 and 17 are most clearly consistent with his style (see interior page below). On pages 7-8, a rooftop battle is enhanced by strong vertical panels that suggest scale and height. Co-created by Kubert, Ragman also stands out for his unusually distinctive costume design. This is number 1 of 5 Ragman issues with Kubert art and/or covers. 
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Kubert cover pencils and inks = **
"Origin of the Tatterdemalion" Kubert art/layouts 17 pages = ***

Joe Kubert

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>this issue >Kubert >Ragman
Walt Simonson
Thor v1 #368, 1986 - While a visage of Thor looks on, Balder the Brave attempts to rescue damsels from their trollish captor. Walt Simonson's cover fills every available space, leaving just enough room for the masthead and headline. Though frenetic at first glance, the layout is actually nicely balanced and constructed. Other artists in this issue include Sal Buscema. This is number 43 of 55 Thor issues with Simonson art and/or covers.
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Simonson cover pencils and inks = ***

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>this issue >Simonson >Thor

Yellow Claw v1 #3, 1957 - A silhouetted Yellow Claw looms large over a tiny cadre of soldiers on the first story's opening splash (see interior page below). Jack Kirby delivers an especially powerful image, suggesting the villain's vast power and influence. All four of the artist's stories begin with a similarly compelling page. "The Yellow Claw Captured" utilizes a clever front page newspaper design that sets a distinctive tone. As in the previous Yellow Claw issue, Kirby inks his own pencils, demonstrating a rarely-seen capability. Other artists in this issue include George Roussos, Don Heck and Bill Everett (cover). This is number 2 of 3 Yellow Claw issues with Kirby art and/or covers.
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"The Microscopic Army" Kirby story pencils and inks 5 pages = ***
"Introducing UFO the Lightning Man" Kirby story pencils and inks 5 pages = ***
"The Yellow Claw Captured" Kirby story pencils and inks 4 pages = ***
"The Sleeping City" Kirby story pencils and inks 5 pages = **

Yellow Claw v1 #3 atlas crime comic book page art by Jack Kirby
Jack Kirby
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>this issue >Kirby >Yellow Claw
Joe Kubert
G.I. Combat v1 #133, 1968 - Joe Kubert drew a multitude of covers for this series, but rarely any stories, making this issue an anomaly. In "Operation Deathtrap", the crew of the Haunted Tank is dropped into Africa to disrupt a Nazi diamond mine. The artwork, by Mike Sekowsky and Joe Giella, clearly shows the hand of Kubert on many of the faces. Sadly, the contrast is a bit too obvious, diminishing the artwork as a whole (see interior page below). The artist's suspenseful cover, pin-up  and two-page spread are much better (the latter was reprinted in DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #21). A second tale, "Suicide Volunteer", tells of a height-challenged GI and his two beefy pals. This is Kubert on his own and at this best, combining skillful drawings with thoughtfully designed layouts.
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Kubert cover pencils and inks = ***
"Operation Deathtrap" Kubert partial story inks (Mike Sekowsky pencils) 12 pages = *
"Haunted Tank" Kubert pin-up pencils and inks 1 page = ***
"Battle Album" Kubert story pencils and inks 2 pages = ***

"Suicide Volunteer" Kubert story pencils and inks 7 pages = ***

Joe Kubert
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>this issue >Kubert >G.I. Combat
Frank Frazetta Buck Rogers 1950s golden age science fiction comic book cover / Famous Funnies #209
Frank Frazetta
Famous Funnies v1 #209, 1953 - Frank Frazetta begins the first of his series of now-classic Buck Rogers covers. In what seems to be an underground cavern, the hero defends himself against oncoming pursuers. His female companion faints at the inopportune moment. The layout is essentially a "good girl" cover, focusing less on Buck Rogers and more on the heroine's figure. Frazetta draws this more tastefully than most, carefully detailing the folds in his uniform and the curls in her hair. The textures of the cavern walls in the background create a nice contrast to the central figures. The artist does a splendid job despite the cramped cover dimensions. This is number 1 of 8 Famous Funnies issues with Frazetta art and/or covers.
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Frazetta cover pencils and inks = ****

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>this issue >Frazetta >Famous Funnies

Detective Comics v1 #499, 1981 - Trapped deep in a mine in West Virginia, Batman and the Blockbuster put aside their conflict to save a crew of locals. Don Newton's work is terrific throughout, enhanced by Dan Adkins' inks. Added details and textures are used in the underground scenes, made more prominent by the limited color palette. Newton delivers one of his more memorable efforts on the series. Other artists in this issue include Jim Aparo, Joe Giella and Jose Delbo. 
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"Allies in the Shadows" Newton story pencils (Dan Adkins inks) 17 pages = ***
Don Newton
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>this issue >Newton >Detective Comics
John Byrne
Doomsday Plus One v1 #5, 1976 - The prologue page is a reprint from Doomsday +1 #3, perhaps used by Charlton Comics as a cost cutting method. John Byrne's bullseye view is one of his more memorable covers on the series, although his interior art is quite a step down from previous issues. The layouts are less engaging than before, compounded by the poorly applied inks of Bruce Patterson. His minimal approach leaves out too many details, making this issue easily the worst of the series. Byrne's text illos on the letter pages are reprints from earlier panels. Steve Ditko also contributes two rather mediocre stand alone pages (see interior page below). This is number 5 of 6 Doomsday +1 issues with Byrne art and/or covers and number 1 of 1 Doomsday +1 issues with Ditko art and/or covers.
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Byrne cover pencils and inks = ***
"Rule of Fear" Byrne story pencils (Bruce Patterson inks) 20 pages = *
"The UFOs That Aren't There" Ditko story
pencils and inks 1 page = **
"A Long Way from Home" Ditko story pencils and inks 1 page = **


John Byrne
Steve Ditko
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>this issue >Byrne >Ditko >Doomsday +1

Strange Tales v1 #58, 1957 - When a scientist discovers an anti-gravity formula, he subsequently uses it to commit crimes. Al Williamson's splendid art lends weight to the story, supplemented by Ralph Mayo's terrific inking. In Matt Baker's tale, Communists kidnap a noted scientist for his groundbreaking discovery. Despite his notoriety on romance comics, this spy thriller is well within the artist's capabilities. His opening panels is especially well composed (see interior page below). Other artists in this issue include Gene Colan and Pete Morisi. This is number 1 of 2 Strange Tales issues with Williamson art and/or covers.
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"He Floats Thru the Air" Williamson story pencils (Ralph Mayo inks) 4 pages = ***
"The Secret of the Black Tube" Baker story pencils and inks 4 pages = ***

Matt Baker
Al Williamson
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>this issue >Baker >Williamson >Strange Tales
Frank Brunner
(Adventure into) Fear v1 #17 with the Man-Thing, 1973 - On Frank Brunner's third and final cover for the series, the Man-Thing is pitted against a super-powered antagonist. The image somewhat deviates from the title's usual horror theme, but is no less compelling. The artist does an especially skillful job with depicting the swamp creature's massive volume and bulk. Other artists in this issue include Val Mayerick and Sal Trapani. This is number 3 of 3 Fear issues with Brunner art and/or covers.
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Brunner cover pencils and inks = ***

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>this issue >Brunner >Fear

Limited Collectors Edition v1 #C-25 / Batman, 1974 - Collecting reprints from the 1940s-1970s, this issue boasts two Neal Adams works. The cover re-uses a splash page from Batman #251 and a Batman / Enemy Ace tale resides inside (from Detective Comics #404). Interestingly, comic book price guides fail to mention Adams' original work on both the center spread (Batman figure on sparse background) and the nicely detailed back cover diorama. Other artists in this issue include Carmine Infantino, Murphy Anderson, Bob Kane, Jerry Robinson and Irv Novick.
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Adams centerfold pin-up pencils and inks 2 pages = **
Adams back cover diorama pencils and inks = ***

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>this issue >Adams >Limited Collectors Edition >Batman

Captain Action v1 #2, 1969 - Although Wally Wood completed the first issue on his own, here he relinquishes the pencils to colleague Gil Kane. The results are more dimensional and dynamic pages. Kane's figure drawings are infused with a confident knowledge of anatomy. Counter-balancing his explosive layouts are two comparatively calm opening splash pages. Wood's superb inking not only adds detail where needed, but provides the definition and polish that makes this effort exceptional. Of their frequent collaborations during this era, this issue represents some their best work together. The cover is by Gil Kane. This is number 2 of 4 Captain Action issues with Wood art and/or covers.
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"The Battle Begins" Wood story inks (Gil Kane pencils) 23 pages = ****


Captain Action v1 #2 dc 1960s silver age comic book page art by Wally Wood
Wally Wood
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>this issue >Wood >Captain Action
Barry Windsor Smith

Beautiful preliminary sketch for the opening splash of X-men #186.

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>Smith original art >X-men
Bernie Wrightson
The Weird v1 #1, 1987 - What's weird is that Bernie Wrightson rarely did super-hero books in the 1970s, but embraced the genre in the 1980s. This limited series shows his first rendition of many DC heroes, including Superman, Martian Manhunter, Blue Beetle Black Canary and others. Wrightson's cover is less interesting than his interiors, which are lushly illustrated in his distinctive style. Among his best scenes is the opening splash of a rain-soaked Superman. This is number 1 of 4 The Weird issues with Wrightson art and/or covers.
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Wrightson cover pencils and inks = **
"Conception" Wrightson story pencils (Dan Green inks) 38 pages = ****

Bernie Wrightson
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>this issue >Wrightson issues >The Weird
Carl Barks
(Walt Disney) Uncle Scrooge v1 #69, 1967 - Scrooge and company head out west to start a cattle business. Naturally, they run into a cast of unseemly characters. Carl Barks meets expectations with his carefully composed cover. His interior story has its moments too, including several clever visual gags. The interior page below shows Barks at his best, using cacti and shadows to humorous effect. This is number 68 of 70 Uncle Scrooge issues with Barks art and/or covers (not including reprints).
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Barks cover pencils and inks = ***
"The Cattle King" Barks story pencils and inks 24 pages = ***


Carl Barks


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>this issue >Barks >Uncle Scrooge

Unearthly Spectaculars v1 #3 starring Jack Q Frost, 1967 - Jack Kirby's two pager about a real-life reincarnation seems to lack enthusiasm, especially compared to his other Harvey works from the same period. Most of the artwork this issue appears to have been drawn by his longtime collaborator Joe Simon. Al Williamson's tale is one of the few highlights in this rather unspectacular issue, despite being a reprint from Alarming Adventures #1. This is number 1 of 1 Unearthly Spectaculars issues with Kirby art and/or covers.
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"Logan's Next Life" Kirby story pencils 2 pages = *

Jack Kirby
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>this issue >Kirby >Williamson >Unearthly Spectaculars

Creepy v1 #122, 1980 - In Alex Toth's brutal Civil War tale, Union soldiers arrive at a Southern plantation house only to find a lone woman. There's a textural quality to the artwork, supported by heavy usage of black. The page layouts are splendid in their planning and execution. Toth's inks dominate Leo Duranona's pencils, but largely to their benefit. Duranona's style is not dissimilar, evidenced by "The Watcher", his solo work within the same issue. Other artists in this issue include Steve Gan, Carmine Infantino, Alfredo Alcala, Martin Salvador and Fred Carrillo. This is number 12 of 15 Creepy issues with Toth art and/or covers (not including reprints).
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"The Killing" Toth story inks (Leo Duranova pencils) 12 pages (black and white) = ***

Alex Toth
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>this issue >Toth >Creepy