Friday, December 26, 2008

Man Of Rock

One of the cooler Christmas presents I got was the new Joe Kubert biography, Man Of Rock by Bill Schelly. I haven't got a chance to start reading it yet but it looks to be a fantastic look at one of the most legendary artists ever to grace the four color page. It's much more in depth than I thought it would be. If you're a fan of comic art, this book is a must have.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Conan The Barbarian #44

While we're on the subject of John Buscema, here's another great cover by the master. You could tell he much preferred drawing Conan to regular superheroes. This cover just jumps out at you. Buscema was second only to John Romita at Marvel in drawing females. His Red Sonja was just breathtaking. This issue came out in November, 1974, right when this title was hitting its stride. Conan was definitely one of the highlights of 1970's Marvel.

Silver Surfer #4 1969

This is my all time favorite Marvel cover. This beauty by John Buscema has everything. It's powerful, graceful, and contains all the majesty and wonder of the Silver Age Marvel Universe. Buscema was a fantastic craftsman and storyteller. I much preferred his version of the Surfer and Thor to Jack Kirby's. This is Silver Age Marvel at its very best.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Superman's Christmas Adventure

During the Golden Age Of Comics, there were a couple of one shot Christmas specials featuring the greatest hero of them all. The first one came out in 1940 and was produced in conjunction with Bailey's department stores. I believe there were reprints of previous adventures with new Christmas covers. The second one came out in 1944 and was sponsored by Kennedy's Boys Shop.

Spaceman Discovers Christmas 1958

Continuing with the space theme, we have Santa spreading the joy of the holidays to one of the many extraterrestial species approaching Earth at the time. If Santa was our good will ambassador, I don't think we'd ever have to worry about an alien invasion.

Christmas On The Moon 1958

Eleven years before we actually landed on the moon, we had this cool one shot from Christmas, 1958. This was the time that the Space Age was just starting to happen and we had a lot of space related themes. It's one of my favorite times in history. The Apollo 17 crew came closest to spending Christmas on the moon. They were there in early December, 1972. Maybe some day this title will come true for some lucky future astronaut.

Christmas In Disneyland 1957

Dell Comics put out this beauty in 1957, two years after the park opened. All of Walt's gang are at the park to celebrate the holidays and tell stories of their recent exploits. All the kids got their whopping quarter's worth of entertainment that year for sure.

World's Finest #37

I was perusing some old Golden Age covers to find some Christmas themed images when I realized that this Win Mortimer cover from World's Finest #37, November-December, 1948, would make great wrapping paper. Not the cover itself, mind you. I definitely don't believe in defacing comics, especially Golden Age DC. The marketing geniuses at Warner Brothers should take a look at this beauty and develop some cool wrapping paper for next year. I know I'd wrap all my presents with it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Curt Swan A Life In Comics

Perhaps my favorite book about comic creators is this in depth biography of the fantastic Curt Swan. He was always in my top two favorite artists and I was thrilled with this book. Interspersed throughout the book are interviews with many of the legends of the industry Curt worked with, like Murphy Anderson, Julie Schwartz, Joe Kubert, Carmine Infantino, and many others. Unfortunately, the book came out several years after Curt died so there couldn't be any signed copies but Murphy and Julie signed several copies that were put out as a limited edition, which I was lucky enough to get.

I believe that shot of the three of them was taken in Kansas City at the convention where I met Curt back in the early 90's. I remember him wearing that same jean jacket when I met him. This book is fantastic and is highly recommended if you like great comic art.

The Comic Book Makers

Periodically I'll recommend some great comic book related books that cover the history and backgrounds of the creators of this great medium. The first one I'm going to cover is The Comic Book Makers, the memoir of the legendary co-creator of Captain America Joe Simon. Co-written with his son Jim, it's a very in depth look at the career of Mr. Simon from the Golden Age Of Comics to the present. It's chock full of great art and stories about such luminaries as Captain America, The Boy Commandos, Sandman, and many, many more. I was lucky enough to get an autographed copy when I ordered it several years ago.

If you're interested in the history of comics, this book is a must read!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Battle Of The Planets

One of my favorite cartoons as a kid was Battle Of The Planets. I just really dug the Star Wars type space adventure from Japan, although at the time I didn't realize it was an Americanized version of a popular Japanese show. Anyway, I was very excited when I found out Gold Key put out a Battle Of The Planets comic series. It only lasted 5 issues but I enjoyed the four color adaptation with art by DC Silver Age artist Win Mortimer. This cover is from #2, cover dated August, 1979.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Boris Karloff Tales Of Mystery

Boris Karloff Tales Of Mystery was a cool horror suspense title that Gold Key published in the 1960's. It featured contributions from such talents as Joe Orlando, Tom Gill, and Reed Crandall, among others. They also featured great painted covers, which were a Gold Key specialty. Dark Horse Comics acquired the rights to this series and is putting out an archive reprinting the first several issues of the series. Hopefully it will sell well and the whole series will be reprinted. It doesn't come out until next summer but it will be worth the wait.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Incredible Hulk Special #1

I just bought the Incredible Hulk DVD the other day and I decided to get out some of my old Hulk issues. One of my favorite ones is this gem from 1968. Featuring an outstanding cover by the great Jim Steranko, this issue features the green giant in the land of the Inhumans. It's great Silver Age Marvel fare with interior art by the vastly underrated Marie Severin and a pretty good script by Gary Friedrich. It's good old fashioned fun in the mighty Marvel way.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Starman Archives

Perhaps my favorite archive is the Golden Age Starman Archives. It's chock full of fantastic art and cool stories. So I was quite surprised and pleased to see
this link to a Starman Archives Vol. 2 coming out next year. I didn't think DC was putting out Archives anymore so this is a pleasant surprise. This should finish the Jack Burnley run, one of the finest super hero comics of the 1940's.

Happy Days #1

As a kid I read a few of the Gold Key TV comics but I had no idea they did a comic of my favorite live action show of the time. Like a lot of late '70's kids, I loved The Fonz and the rest of the Arnold's gang. I looked forward to Tuesday nights at 7 almost as much as Saturday morning. I would have snatched up the six issues they put out of the Happy Days comic in 1979 if I ever saw them. The only place I ever saw Gold Keys was either Clint's, the local comic book store, or Woolworths. I'm surprised I missed them. The series was typical Gold Key TV adaptations, heavy on the humor with average art. An artist named Bill Williams did the art for all four stories in #1, cover dated March, 1979. I think I'll try to find these at the next convention I go to.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

All Star Companions

I'm a big fan of Golden Age DC and the Justice Society in particular. I've always wanted to get the back issues of All Star from the '40's but since they were so expensive I had to settle for the Archives which are great. But my favorite books concerning the JSA are Roy Thomas' All Star Companions, published by Twomorrows Publishing. It contains an issue by issue run of every issue of All Star plus all the JSA revivals through the years, including my favorite, the 1980's All Star Squadron, in its three volumes. Volume 1 goes through the 1940's All Star in exacting detail. It also contains a lot of new and unseen art by many of the greats of the Golden and Silver Ages. I had Roy sign the beautiful Murphy Anderson cover when I met him a few years ago.

Volume Two sports a cover by Carlos Pacheco and continues looking at the 1940's All Star plus the 1980's All Star Squadron. It contains info on the Junior Justice Society club and other various JSA related stuff, plus the ususal original art and unseen goodies.

My favorite volume is #3. Not only does it have a gorgeous cover by the great George Perez, it covers the 1970's era of the JSA, which is when I first discovered them. It covers the '70's All Star, the Adventure Comics stories and all the JLA-JSA team-ups. It also features interviews with many of the principals during that time. It also has a lot of beautiful art including this awesome Superman comission by the one and only Jack Burnley, in my opinion the best artist of the Golden Age of comics.

If you any interest in the JSA, these books are a must have.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I case I don't get to post tomorrow, I, along with my pals Jay, Diana, and Alan, would like to wish everybody a Happy Thanksgiving. Now go eat a lot and watch football!! Cover of Comic Cavalcade #18 from December, 1947 by EE Hibbard.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Dick Dillin 1978

Dick Dillin was one of most unsung artists of the 1970's. Before he died tragically in 1980, he drew over 10 years' worth of the adventures of DC's greatest super team, the Justice League Of America. Like Curt Swan before, Dillin didn't do a lot of covers during this time, but there were some beauties by some of the new blood coming into DC in 1978. Issue #155, from June, 78, features a great cover by the underrated Al Milgrom.

Joe Staton, who was more known for his work on Green Lantern and the Justice Society, drew this cover for #157, August, 78.

And finally, Rich Buckler drew this cover for the first part of the annual JLA/JSA team up in issue #159, October, 78.

The interior art by Dillin and Frank McLaughlin was fantastic and was some of my favorite art of the Bronze Age. I'm glad I had the chance to meet Frank at a convention and let him know he was my favorite inker, not only on JLA but The Flash as well. These are truly some special childhood books.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Curt Swan 1978

As an eight year old kid in 1978, I was instantly enamored with Superman. The movie was coming out at the end of the year and I was enjoying him every Saturday morning on the Superfriends cartoon. One of the main reasons I enjoyed him that first full year of collecting comics was the wonderful art of Curt Swan. His clean, neat style made it easy for a kid to read and follow the stories every month. At this point in his career, Swan didn't do a whole lot of covers. But that was OK because there were many great cover artists at DC during this time. One of the preeminent ones on Superman was Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, one of the most underrated artists in comics history. His Superman covers were gorgeous, as this one from Superman #321 from March, 1978 attests.

This run of issues were the first ones I remember getting as a kid. My mom used to take me to Woolworths a lot and she would let me buy the Whitman three packs of comics they would sell. Sometimes they would be several issues in a row of a particular title. I might be wrong, but I think I got these three issues of Superman in one of these packs. All three covers were by Rich Buckler and he kept Garcia Lopez' style intact. These are issues #'s 324-326, June-August, 1978.

Of course, all these issues have beautiful Swan art on the inside. These books are just some small examples of how DC was great in the late '70's.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Jim Aparo 1978

I thought I'd share some of the great covers by my favorite artists during the year that I first started reading comics full bore. I had actually started collecting in 1977 but 78 was the first year I started getting them on a weekly basis. I figure I might as well start with the fantastic Jim Aparo. This great cover is from Adventure #459, September, 1978, one of the first Dollar comics I remember getting.

Jim drew every character great. He had tons of practice drawing The Brave And The Bold every month. This fantatic cover from #144, November 78 is indicative of the great work he did on this book for most of the 70's.

His other notable work at the time was the short lived Aquaman book, which only lasted about a year but it contained wonderful work. This issue, #62, June-July, 78, was one of my earliest comic purchases.

I could go on and on since Jim was one of the most profilic artists DC had in the 70's. I'll most some more of my favorite artists' best work from this seminal year in the near future.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Veterans Day!

Today's a very special day. Take time out to thank any veteran you know for all the service they've done for our great country. Cover of Military Comics #24 by Alex Kotsky.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Joe Johnston To Direct Cap Movie!

Over on the Ain't It Cool News website, they've linked to an announcement that Rocketeer director Joe Johnston has signed on to direct the Captain America movie that's coming out in 2011. The Rocketeer is one of my all time favorite movies and is the closest adaptation to a comic I've seen in film. He'll do a fantastic job with Cap and the best news is the movie will be set in World War II. He got the period look down perfect in The Rocketeer. I haven't been this excited about a movie in a long time. I hope I won't be disappointed. I don't think I will be. Hopefully this scene will be in it.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Classic Adventure Part III

Perhaps the coolest Golden Age character DC had was the Sandman. He had that classic Film Noir look to him and his stories had that great dark crime novel feel to them. First drawn by Creig Flessel, Wesley Dodds' alter ego had a good run in the 40's until he was revamped by the Simon and Kirby team later in the decade, turning him into more of a generic superhero. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Flessel at a convention in 1994 and he was generous enough to do a sketch of his signature character for me.

Flessel just recently passed away and he will defintely be missed. The cover above of #60 was cover dated March, 1941.

Classic Adventure Part II

This historic issue of Adventure marked the debut of Rex "Tick-Tock" Tyler, the legendary Hourman. Created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Bernard Baily, he made his debut in this issue, cover dated March, 1940. He proved to have staying power and was a member of the JSA for many years. I preferred his adventures with them to his solo stories but they're still pretty fun to read. The cover to this debut issue is by his co-creator Mr. Bailey, who also had a hand in the creation of the Spectre.

Classic Adventure Part I

I thought I'd pay tribute to one of DC Comics' longest running series. Adventure Comics started out not long after Superman made his debut. Issue #1 was cover dated November, 1938 and featured just generic action stories. Not long afterwards it became the home to Justice Society stalwarts Sandman, Hourman, and Starman. The Starman series, drawn by the brilliant Jack Burnley, is my favorite Golden Age series. The art had a freshness to it that most of the other strips didn't have. I really like this particular cover from #65 in August, 1941. It's reprinted in one of my top five favorite archives, the Starman Archives Volume 1. If you're at all interested in good Golden Age comics, this is a must have!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Mike Kaluta Shadow Sketch

Continuing the creepy sketch theme, here's a beauty by the great Mike Kaluta that I got in 2002. The Shadow was one of the greatest comics of the 70's and this sketch demonstrates why. The simplicity of it blows me away. He did this in about 30 seconds. It was one of the first sketches in my book and is still one of the best ones in there.

William Stout Frankenstein Sketch

I don't have a lot of Halloween themed sketches but this one is by far the coolest one I have. Legendary fantasy artist William Stout did this sketch of the Frankenstein Monster several years ago and it really rocks. I should get a horror themed sketchbook going.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

More Kid Art

I recently found some more of my childhood art in a how to draw comics book I had when I was 9 or 10 years old. Needless to say, I didn't take up art as a career thank goodness.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sugar & Spike

There were several great Halloween themed covers of the classic Sheldon Meyer created humor title Sugar & Spike. The first one is #25 from October/November, 1959.

It seemed like they had a Halloween theme issue almost every year. This is from #31 from October/November, 1960.

I really like this one from #37, October/November, 1961.

1962's effort is from #43.

Six issues later came the 1963 Halloween issue.

1964's cover cracked me up.

1965's offering was from #61.

#67 was the last Halloween themed issue for a couple of years for unknown reasons.

The Halloween themed issues came back with the last issue of the series, #98 from 1971.

Hope you enjoy this great look at Halloween in the 60's, DC humor style.

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