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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>this issue >Manning



The Aliens v1
Gold Key
1967

1 - Russ Manning cover & reprints


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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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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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>this issue >Baker >Ditko >Outer Space
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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(Walt Disney's) Donald Duck v1 #230, 1981 - Re-presenting the same stories in Donald Duck #134, the originals were first published in Donald Duck #52 and Walt Disney's Comics and Stories #194.

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Jim Starlin
Marvel Feature v1 #8 featuring the Ant-Man, 1972 - Nearing a deadline, this bronze age title resorts to reprinting the Wasp's origin from Tales to Astonish #44. Jim Starlin supplies a new cover, poorly drawn and extremely convoluted. Inside, his two of four framing pages (shared with P. Craig Russell) are just as disappointing. Figures are squeezed into panels rather than carefully placed. Perhaps the artist could have performed better with a greater allotment of pages. This is number 1 of 3 Marvel Feature issues with Starlin art and/or covers.
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Starlin cover pencils (Mike Esposito inks) = *
"Prelude to Disaster"
Starlin story pencils (Jimmy Janes inks) 2 pages = *


Jim Starlin
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>this issue >Starlin >Marvel Feature
Conan the Barbarian v1 #11 marvel comic book cover art by Barry Windsor Smith
Barry Windsor Smith
Conan the Barbarian v1 #11, 1971 - Despite the odd foreshortening, Barry Smith's cover is nicely composed and viscerally attractive. The interior story is his longest to date, giving him ample room to showcase his storytelling skills. His adaptation of Robert E. Howard's "Rogues In the House" pulsates with excitement, aided by two full page splashes and numerous large panels. Smith's figures and faces still border on the primitive, but their emotive power results in his finest Conan issue so far. This story was first reprinted in Marvel Treasury Edition #4. This is number 11 of 22 Conan the Barbarian issues with Smith art and/or covers.
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Smith cover pencils and inks = ***
"Rogues In the House" Smith story pencils (Sal Buscema inks) 34 pages = ****


Conan the Barbarian v1 #11 marvel comic book page art by Barry Windsor Smith
Barry Windsor Smith
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Teen-age Romances #45 comic book cover by Matt Baker circa 1950s

Teen-age Romances v1 #45, 1955 The last issue of the series features a warm and inviting Matt Baker cover. His cozy fireplace scene is softened by the looser rendition and the use of greytones. Though looking elsewhere, the woman's figure leads the reader's eye down to her lover's admiring gaze. Baker's artfully composed cover re-packages an issue full of reprints. Among these are "Love Me... Love My Boss" and "Coal Town Girl" from Pictorial Romances #16, and "I Scorned Love" and "I Played Hard-to-Get" from Teen-Age Romances #18. This is number 42 of 42 Teen-age Romances issues with Baker art and/or covers.
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Baker cover pencils and inks = ***

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Joe Kubert
Mystery in Space v1 #111, 1980 - DC revives one of their longest running science fiction titles from the 1960s. Joe Kubert tries to fit too many elements within the layout, and his bisected cover design makes little sense. Steve Ditko's story of time machines and fairy tales is only marginally better. The best effort by far belongs to Marshall Rogers, chronicling a robot's time travel to the distant past. His drawings are beautifully detailed (see interior page below), capturing both cold technology and prehistoric savagery. This story was later reprinted in Shadow of the Batman #4. Other artists in this issue include Dan Spiegle, John Calnan, John Celardo and Jim Aparo. This is number 2 of 6 Mystery in Space issues with Kubert art and/or covers, number 1 of 4 Mystery in Space issues with Ditko art and/or covers and number 1 of 1 Mystery in Space issues with Rogers art and/or covers.
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Kubert cover pencils and inks = **
"Viewpoints" Rogers story pencils and inks 6 pages = ****
"Once Upon a Time Machine" Ditko story pencils and inks 7 pages = ***


Steve Ditko

Marshall Rogers
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Walt Simonson
Marvel Comics Presents v1 #1, 1988 - Beginning as a bi-weekly, this series featured popular Marvel characters in several stories. Walt Simonson supplies the wrap-around cover, showcasing Wolverine (front), Man-Thing and Master of Kung Fu (back cover). Whether in partial or full view, the artwork seems poorly planned and hurriedly drawn. Additional shapes and lines are added to elicit excitement, but serve as distractions instead. This overworked effort is far below Simonson's usually high standards. Other artists in this issue include John Buscema and Tom Sutton. This is number 1 of 1 Marvel Comics Presents issues with Simonson art and/or covers.
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Simonson wrap-around cover pencils and inks = *

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Aztec Ace v1 #4, 1984 - Carried over from the cover, the opening splash displays an intriguing image of the mask of King Tut. The story pencils are complex yet Nestor Redondo handles the inking adeptly. Fine details abound throughout the story, only slightly diminishing toward the end less defined. This is number 4 of 8 Aztec Ace issues with Redondo art and/or covers.
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"Necropolis Nights" Redondo story inks (Dan Day pencils) 28 pages = ***

Nestor Redondo
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>this issue >Redondo >Aztec Ace