Thursday, December 21, 2006
Perhaps Jack Burnley's best known comic feature in the early '40's was Starman, which he co-created with writer Gardner Fox. He did the cover and interior art for this strip, which had a nice sci-fi kind of flair to it. This book was by far the best drawn strip of the Golden Age. The realistic, yet dynamic, style was practically unheard of then. I highly highly recommend the Starman Archives. It reprints most of the run and is just beautiful. The stories and concept hold up really well after over 60 years. Starman was always one of my favorite members of the Justice Society and his solo adventures were great as well. This particular issue is from July, 1941 and also features a Sandman story by Creig Flessel, another outstanding artist who is still with us. The Sandman Archives is another must have. I think Adventure might have been my favorite book back then if I were a comic reading kid. It was a great anthology book.
Here's another iconic cover from the great Jack Burnley, from February-March, 1942. Burnley was great at composing covers, making sure that the action was dynamic enough to capture the reader's attention. He didn't do a whole lot of interior art in Batman or Superman, although he did draw the daily Superman newspaper strip for quite a while. He had a unique style that was much more developed than a lot of the artists of the time. That had to do with his prior newspaper experience. A lot of the artists doing comics at the time were kids just starting out. Burnley had several years under his belt and his art definitely had a more polished look to it. Alex Ross did a version of this cover as a painting a while back which was beautiful but nothing captures the feel of the times like the original. Burnley was truly one of a kind.
It's a sad day for fans of the Golden Age Of Comics. Jack Burnley, who drew many outstanding covers for several different titles for DC, has passed away at the age of 95. Burnley cut his teeth doing sports cartoons for his local newspaper before getting into the comics field in 1940. He was one of the first artists outside of their creators to draw Superman and Batman. In fact, he was the first one to draw them together, on the cover of New York World's Fair Comics in 1940. He's also responsible for my all time favorite comic book cover, the classic Superman #23, which I have posted elsewhere on this site. Here's another awesome Burnley cover, the immortal Superman #24, from September-October, 1943. It amazes me that two of the all time greatest covers were back to back in the fall of '43. He was a unique talent that will definitely be missed.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
In our last holiday cover from 1948 we find our heroes once again using their powers for the greater good by helping a sick Santa build toys for all those cool 40's kids. The art chores this time around were by Bob Oskner. I hope everybody out there in blogland has a great holiday season!!
From 1947, we see our heroes once again helping Santa deliver presents to all the good DC buying boys and girls of the world. E.E. Hibbard on the art chores once again. I really wish there would have been more holiday covers back then. I think they're really unique and capture the innocence of the times perfectly.
In this issue from Winter, 1945 there's actually a Christmas story featuring The Flash. The Story Of The First Santa Claus was definitely appropriate for this issue. I think this is my favorite of all the CC Christmas covers. I love the composition on it. E.E. Hibbard does the honors for the second year in a row. Great cover!
In the winter of 1944, our heroes have decided to spread their own Christmas cheer on this great E.E. Hibbard cover. I wonder what's in the boxes. Probably a big stack of Flash Comics, All-American Comics, and Sensation Comics. Whatever's in there, I bet little Timmy wakes up to a very merry Christmas!
Considering the season, I thought I'd post some Golden Age Christmas covers. Comic Cavalcade was a quarterly anthology book that featured The Flash, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman. This cover, from the Winter, 1943 issue, sports our heroes telling jolly ol' Saint Nick what they want for Christmas. I'm sure it had something to do with beating those darn Nazis!
Monday, November 27, 2006
We conclude our Cockrum tribute by posting this beauty from his second run of X-Men in the mid eighties. I always thought he was the quintessential X-Men artist due to his unique character design and dynamic action scenes. It made quite an impression on me as a kid and it continues to be some of my favorite stuff. He was also very nice to me when I met him around the time this issue came out. He was the first comics professional I met and he was great. A super guy all around. He will definitely be missed!
This is one of my favorite Cockrum covers. He did several covers for DC's Blackhawk revival in the 80's. This was actually a pretty good book. Written by Mark Evanier and drawn by Dan Spiegle, the revamp attempted to bring the Blackhawks back to what they were in the Golden Age. Cockrum really loved the characters and it showed in this gorgeous cover. Cockrum was arguably the best super team artist of all time along with people like George Perez and Dick Dillin.
The first major series work Dave Cockrum did was Superboy And The Legion Of Super-Heroes. He was well known for creating new costumes for several of the heroes that brought them up to date with the times. One of Cockrum's greatest strengths was costume design. He got the Legion job when Murphy Anderson, who Dave was assisting at the time, didn't want to do a backup Legion story because there were too many characters. Murray Boltinoff, who edited the book, liked Cockrum's work and offered him the job, which he gladly took. This issue, from February, 1974, was written by Cary Bates and featured the first Legion wedding between Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel. Cover by Nick Cardy.
I was really saddened to learn of the passing over the weekend of one of my favorite artists, the great Dave Cockrum, after a long illness. I was first exposed to his work on Uncanny X-Men in the early 80's. I loved his clean and very futuristic style. That style was very well put to use on his own creations, The Futurians. They were initially published in a Marvel Graphic Novel and then Cockrum published three issues through Lodestone Publishing. This first issue, cover dated October, 1985, featured a 27 page feature length story. Although it only lasted three issues, the entire series was reprinted a few years later with the "missing" fourth issue included. It was a cool series and it's well worth checking out.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
For the past several years, the famous Joe Kubert School has put together the monthly Preventive Maintenance Magazine for the U.S. Army. The magazine showed soldiers the proper way to take care of their equipment using comic book style drawings and scripts. Joe Kubert himself would do the covers and his students would do the interior pages in his style. Before the Kubert School took over, comic legends Will Eisner and Murphy Anderson took their turns putting out this very cool magazine. My friend who's in the service sent Joe several copies of PS to sign a few years ago and gave me this beauty from May, 2001. It's one of my favorite autographed pieces.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
In honor of all of our veterans past and present on this Veterans' Day, I've decided to post this great Jerry Grandenetti cover from Our Fighting Forces #13 from September, 1956. Our Fighting Forces was one of the DC Big Five war books and at this point just featured generic war stories mostly set in World War II. But when you have art by the likes of Grandenetti, Joe Kubert, Russ Heath, and Irv Novick, no DC war book was generic. This particular issue contained three stories by Bob Haney, "Hickory Foot Soldier", "Compliments Of", and "The Green Pigeon" plus "Beach Party", written by the most prolific chronicler of DC war comics, the one and only Robert Kanigher. So crack open some DC war comics today to celebrate our fighting forces.
Monday, November 6, 2006
One of my favorites cartoons growing up was Scooby's All Star Laff-A-Lympics, which featured different teams of Hanna Barbera characters facing off in Olympic style competition. You had the Yogi Yahooeys, featuring the 1960's HB characters like Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, and Quick Draw McGraw. You had the Scooby Doobies, with 70's characters like Scooby-Doo, Blue Falcon, and Dynomutt. And you had the Really Rottens, the villians who would try and mess things up for the other two teams. The show was great and to capitalize on its success, Marvel Comics produced a 13 issue series featuring the all the show's characters. Written and edited by former HB writer Mark Evanier and using HB model sheets as the basis for the art, the book captured the feel of the show very well. This issue features interior art by Jack Manning and Scott Shaw!. From March, 1978. For a lot more info on Hanna Barbera and comics in general, visit Evanier's excellent website www.newsfromme.com. It's a treasure trove of info on all sorts of great things. Be prepared to spend a lot of time there.
Here's a book featuring one of my favorite childhood obsessions. For a period of about five years or so in the mid 1970's, I was totally into The Harlem Globetrotters. My five year old mind couldn't get enough of Meadowlark Lemon, Curly Neal, and the boys. I'd wait with breathless anticipation for their every appearance on ABC's Wide World Of Sports. They were absolutely hysterical every time they were on. I was lucky enough to see them on a couple of occasions when they would come through Kansas City. Anyway, to coincide with the early '70's Hanna-Barbera cartoon, Gold Key produced a 12 issue run of Globetrotter comics based on the show. It was pretty standard kiddie fare for the time but it had the Globetrotters in it so that made it better in my eyes. Issue #3, from 1972, features a cover by Tony Tallerico and appearances inside from such Trotter stalwarts as Meadowlark Lemon, Curly Neal, and characters from the show Geese, Pab, PJ, Granny, and Dribble the dog.
Monday, October 30, 2006
One of the fun things about collecting comics is setting goals and then hopefully completing them. I've accumulated complete runs of different titles over the years but nothing like a good friend of mine, who, when he gets this one issue, will have a complete run of every DC war title ever printed. DC had what they called the Big 5 war titles. All American Men Of War, Our Army At War, Star Spangled War Stories, Our Fighting Forces, and GI Combat. All American Men Of War ran 116 issues from 1953-1966. Our Army At War ran 301 issues from 1952-1977. Star Spangled War Stories ran 202 issues from 1952-1977. Our Fighting Forces ran 181 issues from 1954-1978. GI Combat ran 245 issues from 1957-1987. This is a very impressive run and I'm quite impressed with my friend's commitment to completing it. This particular issue sports a great Joe Kubert cover plus 4 interior stories featuring art by Kubert, Ross Andru, Jack Abel, and Russ Heath. The very prolific Robert Kanigher wrote two of the stories and the other two were by Bob Haney and Bill Finger. From January, 1958.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
We conclude our look at 70's Marvel horror by taking a look at perhaps the greatest title a comic ever had. Giant-Size Man-Thing lasted 4 issues in 1974-75 and featured Marvel's answer to DC's Swamp Thing (although both characters were created at about the same time). This cover was by my favorite Marvel artist, John Buscema, who also did the interior art on the main story from a script by the underrated Steve Gerber (who created my favorite animated hero, Thundarr The Barbarian). The story had to do with Man-Thing going berserk in New York. That's all you really need, isn't it? This issue also contains reprints from the great Atlas monster books of the 50's by such greats as Jack "King" Kirby, Don Heck, and Bob Powell. Not a bad value for 50 cents, huh?
1972 was a good year for the horror genre at the House Of Ideas. In addition to Tomb Of Dracula, Werewolf By Night also made its debut. Although not as consistently good as TOD, Werewolf By Night featured some of the early work of the great Mike Ploog, whose style was the perfect fit for the book. This particular issue, from December, 1973, features a cover by the great John Romita, Sr., who didn't do a whole lot of horror work at this time. The interior art was by Gil Kane from a script by Marv Wolfman (how appropriate). This story is also reprinted in Marvel's Essential Werewolf By Night, which came out in 2005.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
We now jump ahead to the seventies as horror books started to become popular again due to a relaxation of the Comics Code. Perhaps the finest horror book to come from this period was Marvel's Tomb Of Dracula. Running 70 issues from 1972-79, this series was groundbreaking due in large part to the art of Gene Colan. Colan's moody use of shadows and his dark line brought true chills to this series. Most of the issues were written by Marv Wolfman but this first issue was scripted by Gerry Conway with cover art by Neal Adams. The entire series has been reprinted in Marvel's Essential Tomb Of Dracula series. I highly recommend these black and white reprints. It brings Colan's art a new level of creepiness. Great stuff!!
Here we have the companion mag to Creepy, Eerie. Once again Warren produced a great horror compilation mag featuring some of the major talents of the comic book field of the 1960's. This issue, cover dated November, 1967, sports a really nice painted cover by Dan Adkins. It was swiped from the movie The Mummy's Hand. Most of the interior stories in this issue were written by Archie Goodwin with art by such stalwarts as Roy Krenkel, Jeff Jones, Tom Sutton, Johnny Craig, Joe Orlando, and Ric Estrada. The book was edited by the company's founder, Jim Warren. A very cool book from a great time for black and white horror magazines.
In 1964, Warren Publications started publishing a magazine that would change the horror genre forever. Creepy was at the forefront of the new wave of comic magazines and put Warren on the map. The coolest thing about this series was the awesome display of talent in each issue. In this issue alone, you have a stunning Frank Frazetta cover and interior art by such greats as Angelo Torres, Joe Orlando, Al Williamson, Reed Crandall, Alex Toth, and Gray Morrow. The book had a definite EC feel, due to the fact that people like Torres, Williamson, and Orlando all worked for that company in their heyday. All stories in this issue were written by the great Archie Goodwin, who also edited the book. It was one of his first assignments in the comic field. From October, 1965.
Another great EC horror comic from the '50's was Vault Of Horror. Using most of the same creative talent as Tales From The Crypt, this series also did a great job scaring little kids over 50 years ago. One of the coolest things about this series and Tales From The Crypt were the narrators. Like the legendary Crypt Keeper, the Vault Keeper kept the narrative of the stories going in his own creepy way. This particular issue, from November, 1950, features an awesome cover by Johnny Craig. He also contributed the interior art on a couple of the stories inside, the others being done by Al Feldstein and "Ghastly" Graham Ingels. This issue was reprinted in Gemstone Publishing's Vault Of Horror five volume slipcase edition, which came out in 1982.
With Halloween fast approaching, I decided to post some of my favorite horror covers from the past 50 years or so. I'll start with this beauty from January, 1952. Tales From The Crypt was one of the first and best comics dealing with the macabre. Published by the lengendary EC Comics, this book thrilled and chilled many a comic reading kid of the '50's. This cover was by the very talented Wally Wood, who had a real flair for the genre. This particular issue featured five stories with great titles like "Well-Cooked Hams" and "Horror! Head...It Off" All stories in this issue were written by Al Feidstein with art by Jack Davis, Joe Orlando, Jack Kamen, and "Ghastly" Graham Ingels. Unfortunately, the paranoia generated by Dr. Fredric Wertham's book Seduction Of The Innocent brought an end to great comics like these. But they still live on in the minds of those lucky enough to have read them.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Here's some more simian madness from Julie Schwartz' crazy crew from August-September, 1963. Strange Sports Stories was a series that was tried out in several issues of B&B around this time. You could tell Carmine Infantino had a good time drawing these stories. They tested his unique design capabilities to the extreme. Gorillas playing baseball is a great concept. I'd be much more interested in the sport if giant apes played. The lead off story of this issue, "Gorilla Wonders Of The Diamond", was scripted by the profilic Gardner Fox and drawn by the always great Infantino and Giella team. Murphy Anderson inked Carmine on the cover. This story was reprinted in DC Special #7 in 1970.
In the 1960's, DC Comics super editor Julius Schwartz had a theory that putting gorillas on the covers of their books made them sell better. That theory was put to the test multiple times during that decade. One of the most enduring simian characters of the time was The Flash's enemy Gorilla Grodd. The Scarlet Speedster fought the super intelligent ape several times. This issue, cover dated March 1962, was by the regular Flash team of John Broome, Carmine Infantino, and Joe Giella. Cover by the amazing Infantino, who had few peers in character design. The Flash's rogues gallery has stood the test of time and are remembered fondly today. This story, "Reign Of The Super Gorilla", was reprinted in DC Special #16 in 1975.
One of the coolest things Marvel Comics did in the 1970's was put out a series of black and white magazines that dealt with subject matter a little different from the normal super hero comics they put out. My favorite was Planet Of The Apes. It debuted right at the height of Ape mania in 1974. It usually consisted of two stories, one new tale and an adaptation of one of the five Ape films. This particular issue, cover dated December, 1975, featured a really nice painted cover by Bob Larkin and interior art by Tom Sutton and Rico Rival. You've gotta love the caption Ape And Human United Against Mutated Monsters. Doug Moench wrote both stories in this issue. The series was edited by the great Archie Goodwin. The series lasted 29 issues and is a great example of the kind of quality Marvel was putting in its B&W line.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
One of the most celebrated comics of all time was Warren's short lived war series Blazing Combat. It was groundbreaking for its time due to its realistic and gritty war stories. It only lasted 4 issues, but the book was noted for its breathtaking art from greats such as Frank Frazetta (who drew this gorgoeus cover), Angelo Torres, Gene Colan, Reed Crandall, Jerry Grandenetti, Alex Toth, Dan Adkins, Gray Morrow, and John Severin. The issues are somewhat hard to find today and expensive, but worth it. Many of the stories were written by Archie Goodwin, who also edited the book. It's a must for fans of the war genre, right up there with the great DC war books which were being produced at the same time. The issue is cover dated April, 1966.
One of the only comics I was actively buying the last few years was the highly entertaining Futurama Comics. It captured the insanity and comic genius of that incredibly underrated show. Edited by Bill Morrison, the book had the look and feel of the series, which is only natural since Morrison was the art director of the show. There are rumors that the show is coming back and I hope they're true, since it was one of the best written shows of the past 10 years or so.
Sunday, October 8, 2006
To conclude my so called Flash trilogy of covers, I thought I'd show this classic from the Silver Age. The image of the Scarlet Speedster as a 1000 pound blog really cracks me up. The Flash was probably the most innovate comic of the Silver Age in my opinion. The creative team of Julie Schwartz, John Broome, Carmine Infantino, and Joe Giella always came up with interesting plots, great character designs, and beautiful art. Flash had the best rogues gallery back then with great characters like Gorilla Grood (a giant intelligent ape, what's not to love?), Captain Cold, The Trickster, Captain Boomerang, The Weather Wizard, and many more. These are some of the greatest comics of all time, not just the Silver Age. All of these stories have been reprinted in the continuing Flash Archives which are a great (and cheaper) way to get these great stories.
After the last post, I deciced to show the book that was the center of attention in that story. With a beautiful cover by E.E. Hibbard, Flash Comics #26 came out in February, 1942. There were a ton of thrills to be had in its 68 pages. In addition to the main Flash story, there were backup tales of Hawkman, Johnny Thunder, The King, Les Sparks, and The Whip. Flash Comics was one of the most popular comics of the Golden Age, with really nice art by the likes of Hibbard and the great Shelly Moldoff. I highly recommend the two volumes of Golden Age Flash archives and the Golden Age Hawkman archives to see more stories from this great series.
One of my favorite comics as a kid was this beauty from December, 1978. It had an innovative plot that impressed me greatly. It was one of the few times a comic book was an integral part of a comic book story. In the somewhat goofy plot, a comic (Flash Comics #26) has been coated with some sort of teleportation chemical and The Flash must keep it out of the hands of criminals who try to steal it at a comic convention. In a funny twist, two of the criminals dress up like Golden Age greats Green Lantern and Wildcat. The story still holds up today and is one of the funnest comics of the 1970's. Created by my favorite Flash creative team, Cary Bates, Irv Novick, and Frank McLaughlin. Cover by Al Milgrom and Dick Giordano.
One of the coolest characters in the Silver Age Of Comics was introduced with this nice Curt Swan cover in World's Finest #142. The Composite Superman had the combined powers of all the Legion Of Super Heroes and provided a formidable foe for Superman and Batman. As a little kid, I was very impressed with the character design, half-Superman and Half-Batman with a green face like Brainiac 5. I loved the Legion and I loved Swan so this was a no brainer. Written by Edmond Hamilton and pencils by Swan and inks by George Klein (part 1) and Sheldon Moldoff (part 2), this book came out in June, 1964 and was reprinted in World's Finest #223 (February, 1974) and DC Special #23 (February 1981). DC Direct also put out a beautiful action figure a couple of years ago. The sculpt looks amazingly like a Swan drawing. It's a must have figure, one of the best they've ever done.
Wednesday, October 4, 2006
My favorite book by far in junior high school was Marv Wolfman and George Perez' New Teen Titans. I was absolutely blown away by Perez' clean yet very dynamic style. He reminded me of Curt Swan on steriods. The character development in the book was top notch and it kept me coming back month after month. The characters created specifically for this series, Raven, Starfire, and Cyborg were brilliant creations that fit in effortlessly with the established Robin, Wonder Girl, Kid Flash, and Changling. There have been two Archive editions which have reprinted the first several issues. If you like well written and drawn comics, you can't go wrong with these stories.
Another book that adapted a great Saturday morning show. It was only natural that DC would put out a book based on the very popular Super Friends. Geared toward younger readers, it provided a nice alternative to the more adult Justice League book. I certainly enjoyed both books. Cover and interior art by the super Ramona Fradon. She was one of the first female artists to break into comics and, along with Marie Severin, was the best. I love her clean, cartoony style. She's also a great lady who I've had the pleasure of meeting and getting a commission from. Her run on Aquaman in the 50's and early 60's is exemplary. It's definitely worth checking out as is the Super Friends series. It was a big part of my childhood.
The Justice Society was the first super hero group created during the Golden Age Of Comics. Created by prolific writer Gardner Fox, the JSA appeared in issues #'s 3-57 of All Star Comics. This particular issue is an example of why the JSA was so groundbreaking for its time. This tale of religious tolerance was way ahead of its time. With art by Sheldon Moldoff, Stan Aschmeier, Joe Gallagher, and Bernard Baily, this issue was a real winner during the fall of 1944. Reprinted in All Star Archives Volume 5. This archive series is highly recommended. Volumes 0-11 reprints the entire JSA run and is a very fun read. They also give us looks at very early work by future legends Joe Kubert and Carmine Infantino. Also recommended is Roy Thomas' excellent All Star Companion from Twomorrows Publishing.
From February/March 1969 comes issue #3 of DC's fondly recalled adaptation of Ideal's seminal super hero action figure line Captain Action. CA was the first real super hero line, offering kids costumes of their favorite heroes from both DC and Marvel to put on their Captain Action figure. Besides the super heroes, they also offered Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, and The Green Hornet costumes as well. The comic series was a well conceived book that unfortunately only lasted 5 issues. The sales weren't that good and DC pulled the plug almost immediately. This great Gil Kane cover was typical of the high quality of the art in this book. Gil also wrote this particular story, introducing the villain from the toy line Dr. Evil to the comic series. This is a fun series that's well worth checking out.
This is one of my favorite covers from the fondly remembered Marvel Star Wars series. The House Of Ideas aquired the rights to George Lucas' space epic before the film even came out in 1977. Editor Roy Thomas wrote the adaptation using stills and an early version of the script. With art by Howard Chaykin, the adaptation whetted SF and comics fans' apetite for the movie. This particular cover by the amazing Carmine Infantino was probably my favorite of the whole run. Infantino was a master at cover design and his abilities are quite evident here. The spacing of the characters amid the backdrop of the massive Star Destroyer are riveting. Infantino also did the interior art of this issue inked by the prolific Terry Austin. Austin's understated inks kept Carmine's unique style intact. His style was so different from what I liked as a kid that I wasn't real crazy about the art at the time. However, I really like it now. It's really different and it gives the characters a different look which I think works really well. Script by the consistently good Archie Goodwin. From September, 1978.
Tuesday, October 3, 2006
For a long while in the 1960's and into the '70's, Dell Comics published several different adaptations of popular TV shows of the day. From June, 1966 to September, 1967, they put out a comic book version of one of my all time favorite shows, the great Hogan's Heroes. The creators did a pretty good job bringing the zaniness of the show to the comic page. Most of the art was by comic book veteran Sal Trapani. He did a good job combining the humor style with a little bit of WWII action. It only lasted eight issues before it was cancelled. There was a ninth issue but it was a reprint of #1. They're pretty hard to find nowadays but it's worth the effort. It's a very fun read.
Monday, October 2, 2006
I thought today I'd combine two of my favorite things, comics and Disneyland. Ever since the park opened in 1955, there have been comics celebrating Walt Disney's original (and in my opinion, only one that matters) Happiest Place On Earth. This particular issue was put out in 1965 to celebrate the ten year anniversary of the park. Most of the stories would center on the Disney characters enjoying the many fun attractions the park had to offer like the Skyway pictured on the cover. They served as good promotion for the park. I'm sure many little kids after reading about Mickey riding the Matterhorn would bug their parents until they agreed to go to the park for summer vacation. It would be cool to see a new comic devoted to the park but knowing Disney, they'd probably set it in Florida. Oh well, at least we have this beauty and others like it to show how great the original Disneyland was.
Monday, September 25, 2006
Another book I devoured at my library in the late 70's was this gem, also from Crown Publishing. Like its Superman volume, this was chock full of reprints spanning the then 30 year history of the Dark Knight. Featuring an intro by then DC president Carmine Infantino, this book features such great work by Bob Kane, the very underrated Jack Burnley, Shelly Moldoff, Jerry Robinson, Dick Sprang, Win Mortimer, Carmine Infantino, Irv Novick, and Neal Adams. Even Superman great Curt Swan tried his hand at Batman, drawing the story originally published in Batman #118. Needless to say, this book was a major part of my childhood and I was thrilled to get a copy at a very good price a few years ago.
One of my first exposures to the Man Of Steel was this black and white reprint hardcover put out by Crown Publishers in 1971. I used to go to my local library and check it out over and over. I couldn't get enough. It reprinted a wide range of stories from the very beginning in 1938 up to the then recent revamp of Superman by super editor Julius Schwartz. Featuring art by such greats as Joe Shuster, Wayne Boring, and Curt Swan, it was a great way to get new readers into the greatest super hero of all time. I was lucky enough to get my own copy a few years ago and it holds a special place on my bookshelf.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
One of the coolest things DC did in the 70's was putting together these great 100 page reprint books. It was the first chance a lot of the younger readers had to read stories from the Golden Age. Edited by E. Nelson Bridwell, the 100 Page Super Spectaculars featured a wide variety of tales concerning many different genres. Similar to the earlier DC Special, there were issues containing horror, romance, war, and of course super hero reprints. This Neal Adams cover is considered by some people the very best cover DC put out during this period. I'm not one to argue. It's simply gorgeous. It contains most of the classic Golden and Silver Age DC heroes in its wraparound splendor. Reprinted in this glorious 100 pager are the two part Justice League/Justice Society story from Justice League #21-22 by Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky, The Spectre story from More Fun Comics #55 by Jerry Siegel and Bernard Baily, the Johnny Quick story from Adventure Comics #190 (credits uncertain), the Dan Berry pencilled Vilgilante story from Action #146, an unpublished Golden Age Wildcat story by Bob Kanigher, and the Gardner Fox/Joe Kubert Hawkman story from The Brave And The Bold #36. The 100 pagers are some of the best comics of the so called Bronze Age (although I usually just refer to it as the 70's). They're definitely worth checking out.
Comic Calvalcade was another DC anthology title that came out in the early 1940's. This particular book featured Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and The Flash who shared silly adventures on every cover. I bet all the super villains wouldn't be so concerned with these three if they saw them spinning in circles wearing roller skates. Ah, the innocence of the 40's! I love this cover for so many reasons. I don't think the publishers today would ever have their major heroes doing stuff like this. It's great. In addition to the main three, this issue also contained tales of Johnny Everyman, Hop Harrigan, and Sargon The Sorcerer. Cover by E.E. Hibbard, who was the artist of The Flash at the time. Cover dated April/May, 1946.
World's Finest Comics was one of the many anthology titles DC put out during the Golden Age Of Comics. These anthologies served as sort of try outs for some of their second tier characters to see if they were popular enough to warrant their own title. This title was published in the wake of the success of the 1939/40 New York World's Fair comics. For a whopping 15 cents (which caused quite a stir among the kids who were used to paying only a dime for their comics), you got 100 pages of thrills featuring the likes of Superman, Batman, Red, White, And Blue, The Crimson Avenger, Johnny Thunder, Young Doc Davis, Zatara, The Sandman, The King, Lando, Man Of Magic, and Drafty #158. All of the covers during this period had Superman, Batman, and Robin appearing together playing games and generally goofing off. They are some of my favorite covers of the Golden Age. I love the innocence of these covers. This is my favorite WF cover. Batman at the bat is a great touch. Cover by Fred Ray, who drew many a beautiful cover during this time period. Autumn, 1941 issue. The Superman and Batman stories are reprinted in Superman: The World's Finest Archives Vol. 1 and Batman: The World's Finest Archives Vol. 1, respectively.
Monday, August 28, 2006
As comics historian Mark Evanier notes in his wonderful blog newsfromme.com, today would have been Jack "King" Kirby's 89th birthday. As tribute to one of the, if not most, influential creators in the history of comics, I thought I'd post one of my favorite Kirby covers from what I consider his best work for Marvel in the 60's. The fantasy and cosmic wonderment of the Norse gods fit him to a T. I'm sad to say I never got to meet him but his work will live on forever. So break out a Thor or Fantastic Four or Captain America or New Gods today to celebrate the King Of Comics.
We finish up our look at Action war covers with my favorite, this awesome piece of work by Jack Burnley. The dynamics of this cover took my breath away when I first saw it. This is my second favorite war cover next to Superman #23. I was amused by the title of the Americommando story in this issue. "A Right In Der Fuehrer's Face". Classic Golden Age stuff. From August, 1943. Reprinted in Action Archives Vol. 4.
From May, 1943, comes the third Burnley WWII cover in a row, this one with our hero transporting much needed medical supplies to our troops. One of the stories in this issue contains one of the first references of Superman actually flying instead of taking great leaps. This book also contains another chapter in the Supermen Of The U.S. Army feature. Reprinted in Action Archives Volume 4.
The lucky kids of this era get two great Jack Burnley covers in a row with this gem from Action #59, April, 1943. In a complete reversal of the cover scene, the main story has our hero reenacting the Cinderella story. Much different from crushing Nazi tanks with war bonds and stamps! Reprinted in Action Archives Volume 4.
From March, 1943, here's another Burnley effort that shows what you can do at home to support the war effort. I love the lack of political correctness in the poster Supes is producing. The times were much different then. Reprinted in Action Archives Volume 4.
There was a point in my life when I wanted to be an Architect. Even went so far as taking a year worth of classes in college chasi...
From the makers of Star Odyssey comes Cosmos: War of the Planets. Actually it should be said from the makers of Cosmos comes Star Odyssey, ...