Tarzan v1 #481953 - The Brothers of the Spear and their army come to the aid of a besieged city. Rather than fight the attackers, the two men negotiate the deposition of their corrupt king Hanool. Russ Manning's drawings continue to evolve, but he still struggles with faces. Most noteworthy are his pacing and layouts. Combining open and framed opens (see interior page above), the artist brings depth and interest to the story. Other artists in this issue include Jesse Marsh. This is number 10 of 133 Tarzan issues with Manning art and/or covers (not including reprints).
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Untitled Brothers of the Spear story Manning pencils and inks 6 pages = **

Russ Manning
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The Phantom v2 #73 charlton comic book cover art by Don Newton
Don Newton
The Phantom v2 #73, 1976 - To defeat the decrepitly evil Master Raven, the Phantom makes an uncommon alliance with an assassin named the Torch. Don Newton's exceptionally painted cover is only slightly marred by the masthead and graphics. Inside, his first two pages are quietly devoid of dialogue, building up the suspense. Aside from a rudimentary splash, the majority of pages are passionately drawn and fully detailed. The artwork's finest moments showcase the main villain (see interior page below) in all his repulsiveness. This is arguably Newton's best work of the series. This is number 6 of 7 Phantom issues with Newton art and/or covers.
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Newton cover painting = ****
"The Torch" Newton story pencils and inks 21 pages = *****

The Phantom v2 #73 charlton comic book page art by Don Newton
Don Newton
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Matt Baker
It Rhymes with Lust v1, 1950 - Possibly the first American graphic novel, this square-bound digest boasts over one hundred pages of Matt Baker art. Printed in black and white, but the artist applies screens throughout the story to increase depth (see interior page below). There are also fewer panels per page due to the smaller format. Neither of these seem to diminish the beauty of Baker's drawings, however. This is his longest comic book story by far, made more remarkable by the inclusion of twelve superb splashes. His cover of a femme fatale, seductive and conniving, is as good as any of his romance covers from the same period.
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Baker cover pencils and inks = ***
Untitled story Baker pencils and inks 126 pages (black and white) = ****

Matt Baker
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Showcase v1 #57 Enemy Ace dc comic book cover art by Joe Kubert
Joe Kubert
Showcase v1 #57 featuring Enemy Ace, 1965 - Not only does this issue mark the character's fourth appearance, but his first solo book as well. Joe Kubert's dramatic cover is partially diminished by the abundant text, but he more than compensates on the interiors. Enemy Ace meets his match in a Canadian fighter pilot known as the Hunter. The artist draws each aerial dogfight with a palpable enthusiasm. On page 19, burning Allied planes fall like leaves around a display of war trophies. This clever metaphor conveys the human cost behind Enemy Ace's reputation. This is number 8 of 19 Showcase issues with Kubert art and/or covers.
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Kubert cover pencils and inks = ***
"Killer of the Skies"
Kubert story pencils and inks 24 pages = ***

Showcase v1 #57 Enemy Ace dc comic book page art by Joe Kubert
Joe Kubert
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Frank Frazetta
Creepy v1 #10, 1966 - Steve Ditko tells of a wealthy collector, whose determination to find a obscure  book becomes his undoing. The layouts are purposely repetitive, along intermittent panels of glazed, exhaustive eyes. The artist's high level of detail throughout is not uncommon in his magazine works. The occult theme certainly fuels his enthusiasm. While Ditko's art dazzles the eye, Frank Frazetta's cover is merely adequate in color and composition. Other artists in this issue include Rocco Mastroserio, Angelo Torres, Jay Taycee, Gene Colan and Gray Morrow.
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Frazetta cover painting = **
"Collector's Edition" Ditko story pencils and inks (black and white)  8 pages = ****

Steve Ditko


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>this issue >Ditko >Frazetta >Creepy
Captain America v1 #126 marvel comic book cover art by Jack Kirby
Jack Kirby
Captain America v1 #126, 1970 - Jack Kirby's handiwork is fairly obvious on this dynamic cover. It does appear the two heroes may have been modified by John Romita, especially the Falcon. The layout is a bit clumsy as well, particularly the insertion of the villain Diamond Head on the far left. While not as impactful as his previous Captain America covers, Kirby just meets expectations. Other artists in this issue include Gene Colan and Frank Giacoia. This is number 12 of 34 Captain America issues with Kirby art and/or covers.
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Kirby cover pencils (John Romita inks) = ***


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>this issue >Kirby >Captain America
John Byrne / Walt Simonson
World of Krypton v2 #3, 1987 - Superman's father Kal-El looks upon a giant globe on this compelling third cover of the series. The layout looks deceptively simple, but the details reside within the orb itself. John Byrne's spaceships look even better with Walt Simonson's inking. The yellow structures above and below are a nice complement to the pale blues and purples of the central focal point. Other artists in this issue include Mike Mignola and Carlos Garzon. This is number 3 of 4 World of Krypton issues with Byrne art and/or covers and 3 of 4 World of Krypton issues with Simonson art and/or covers.
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Byrne cover pencils / Simonson inks = ***

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>this issue >Byrne >Simonson >World of Krypton
Barry Windsor Smith
Originally published in Tower of Shadows #5, this Barry Smith page comes from one of his handful of bronze age horror stories.

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Man-Thing v1 #1 marvel 1970s bronze age comic book cover art by Frank Brunner
Frank Brunner

Man-Thing v1 #1, 1974 - After a ten issue run in the mystery series Fear,  Man-Thing gets his own title starting with this issue. Continuing from Fear #19, the story is also noteworthy for Howard the Duck's second appearance. Frank Brunner illustrates this terrific cover, depicting the Man-Thing within his natural environment. Despite the mud and ooze, the color palette infuses the monster with an unearthly glow. Note also how the vines and branches form an oval-shaped frame around the character. Other artists in this issue include Val Mayerick and Sal Trapani. This is the only Man-Thing series cover by Brunner.
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Brunner cover pencils and inks = ****


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Russ Manning
(Captain Johner and) The Aliens v1 #1, 1967 - For the first time, this comic collects some of the back-up tales from Magnus Robot Fighter. Specifically, they originate from issues #1, #3, #4, #6, #7, #8, and #10. Largely overshadowed by the main feature, these stories were acutely drawn by Russ Manning. The artist also supplies the electrifying new cover.
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Manning cover pencils and inks = ****

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Donald Duck Four Color Comics #199 - Carl Barks 1940s dell comic book cover art
Carl Barks
Walt Disney's Donald Duck / Four Color Comics v2 #199, 1948 - Driving through an old western town, Donald sees a reward for bringing in cattle rustlers. He's subsequently deputized and raring to go. Carl Barks is meticulous in depicting the various cowboy characters and the rocky terrain of the region. The locale is less exotic than pervious tales but no less well drawn. Barks' cover is a masterpiece, using the guns and bullet paths to radiate out from the focal point. There is a suggestion of purity as well as resolve in the face of danger. This is number 9 of 43 Donald Duck issues with Barks art and/or covers (not including reprints).
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Barks cover pencils and inks = *****
I
nside front cover Barks pencils and inks (black and red duotone) = ***
"Sheriff of Bullet Valley" Barks story pencils and inks 32 pages = ****
Inside back cover Barks pencils and inks (black and red duotone) = ***
B
ack cover Barks pencils and inks = ***

Donald Duck / Four Color Comics v2 #199 - Carl Barks 1940s comic book page art
Carl Barks
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The Aliens v1
Gold Key
1967

1 - Russ Manning cover & reprints


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Marshall Rogers
Batman Dark Detective v1 #5, 2005 - Captured by the Joker, Silver St. Cloud bides her time while awaiting the Batman's rescue. In the meantime, the dark knight must confront both the Scarecrow and Two-Face separately. Marshall Rogers demonstrates plenty of effort, especially in his depictions of the dark knight. On page 6, tumultuous free-form panels effectively depict the Scarecrow's lunacy. Rogers' artwork is still distinctive, but far from his best efforts. This is number 5 of 6 Batman Dark Detective issues with Rogers art and/or covers.
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Rogers cover pencils (Terry Austin inks) = ***
"Everybody Dance Now" Rogers story pencils (Terry Austin inks) 22 pages = **


Marshall Rogers
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>this issue >Rogers >Batman Dark Detective
Outer Space v1 #21 charlton sci-fi comic book cover art by Steve Ditko
Steve Ditko
Outer Space v1 #21, 1959 - Despite the annoying size and placement of a contest graphic, Steve Ditko delivers a more than capable science fiction cover. Human captives are tethered to a small spacecraft, while an alien ship looms in the distance. The diminishment of the figures nicely form the perspective, leading the eye toward the background. Inside, a Matt Baker story tells of a young scientist whose work helps avoid a nuclear war. Sadly, the artist's style is only partially recognizable due to Vince Colletta's insensitive inking. Like some Baker works of the same period, his contribution is uncredited and mostly unattributed. Other artists in this issue include Sal Trapani and E. H. Hart. This is number 4 of 5 Outer Space issues with Ditko art and/or covers.
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Ditko cover pencils and inks = ***
"Blueprint for SurvivalBaker story pencils (Vince Colletta inks) 5 pages = *

Matt Baker
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Fantasy Masterpieces v2 #8, 1980 - This title reprints the first Silver Surfer series by Stan Lee and John Buscema. Later on, early Warlock stories by Jim Starlin were added as a supplement. This particular issue contains a reprint from Strange Tales #178.


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>this issue >Starlin >Fantasy Masterpieces
Neal Adams
World's Finest v1 #258, 1979 - A Kryptonian disease transforms Batman into a mutated hybrid, as portrayed on Neal Adams' fine cover. Not only are the lead characters prominent in the layout, but strong diagonal lines heighten the tension. Inside, Don Newton draws a more light-hearted  tale of Captain Nazi's search for a mate. The artwork seems to maintain the usual level of craft on Newton's Shazam stories. Kurt Schaffenberger's inks also add a friendlier tone to the pencils. Other artists in this issue include Jose Garcia Lopez and Jose Delbo.
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Adams cover pencils and inks = ***
"The Courtship of Captain Nazi" Newton story pencils (Kurt Schaffenberger inks) 15 pages = ***


Don Newton
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>this issue >Adams >Newton >World's Finest
Conan the Barbarian v1 #12 marvel comic book cover art by Bernie Wrightson
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 below), there's enough of Smith's impressive artistry to compensate. This story was later reprinted in Savage Tales #4 (black & white). Bernie Wrightson partially inks a back-up tale by Gil Kane (later reprinted in Giant-size Conan #5). Though his contribution is small (and non-attributed), the effort does enhance the story's aesthetic. 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.
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"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 = ***

Bernie Wrightson
Conan the Barbarian v1 #12 marvel comic book page art by Barry Windsor Smith
Barry Windsor Smith
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>this issue >Wrightson >Smith >Conan the Barbarian

Secret Origins of Super-Heroes / DC Special Series v1 #19, 1979 - The various origins of Robin, Supergirl, Elongated Man and others are showcased here. Most impressive is a Joe Kubert Hawkman tale from Brave and the Bold #43. Despite what comic book price guides say, no Jack Kirby work resides in this issue. Other artists in this issue include Carmine Infantino. Cover by Al Plastino and Dick Giordano.

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>this issue >Kirby >Kubert >DC Special Series
Flash Gordon v4 #5 1960s silver age science fiction comic book cover art by Al Williamson
Al Williamson
Flash Gordon v4 #5, 1967 - In Al Williamson's last issue of this series, he opens with a merely adequate cover. Flash Gordon seems more of an adventurer than space hero, dressed in more understated garb. A full page splash of a familiar, yet alien swamp begins the first of two Williamson stories. The exotic settings and subsequent action scenes are impeccably drawn. Curiously, the inks on page 8 appear to be by another hand, perhaps colleague Al McWilliams? In the second tale, Williamson's art surpasses the first with its outstanding draftsmanship. A mix of open and overlapping panels add greater depth while framing meticulously detailed scenery and dynamically posed figures. The artist's keen sense of lighting and mood also contribute to this exceptional work. This is number 4 of 4 Flash Gordon v4 issues with Williamson art and/or covers (not including reprints).
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Williamson cover pencils and inks = ***
"Flash Gordon and the God of the Beastmen"
Williamson story pencils and inks 10 pages = ****
"Terror of the Blue Death"
Williamson story pencils and inks 13 pages = *****

Flash Gordon v4 #5 1960s silver age science fiction comic book page art by Al Williamson
Al Williamson
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My Experience v1 #22, 1950 - Jan unwittingly becomes an accessory to a robbery, forcing her to flee from town to avoid arrest and embarrassment. Faces and figures are crudely drawn in this early piece by Wally Wood. However, his distinctive take on lighting and shadows is apparent in many scenes (including the interior page below). The actual crime, portrayed in a rain-drenched sequence on pages 3-4, is especially dramatic. Compared to Wood's other romance tales from the same era, this example is among the few that foretell his later potential. This is number 3 of 3 My Experience issues with Wood art and/or covers.
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"I Dated Disaster" Wood story pencils and inks 9 pages = ***

Wally Wood
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>this issue >Wood >My Experience

The Real McCoys / Four Color Comics v2 #1071, 1960 - Starring Walter Brennan, this television comedy ran for an impressive seven year run. Dell capitalizes on its popularity with this premiere issue. Unlike most of his works for this publisher, Alex Toth's artwork is largely disappointing. Layouts are uninspired and his drawings are rendered erratically throughout the book. The entire issue seems rushed with the minimum of effort. The second feature, "Gettin' Grandpa's Goat", is marginally better (see interior page below) but falters toward the end. This is number 1 of 2 Real McCoys issues with Toth art and/or covers.
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"Wild Wheels" Toth story pencils and inks 19 pages = **
"Gettin' Grandpa's Goat"
Toth story pencils and inks 12 pages = **
"The Think Alikes"
Toth inside back cover pencils and inks = **
"Fair Measure"
Toth inside back cover pencils and inks (black and white) = **
"The Apology" Toth inside back cover pencils and inks = **

Real McCoys / Four Color Comics #1071 dell comic book page art by Alex Toth
Alex Toth
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