Pencil Ink comic book blog: art and artists 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s

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Richard Dragon, Kung Fu Fighter #4 - Wally Wood art
Richard Dragon, Kung Fu Fighter v1 #4, 1975 - Ric Estrada takes over as regular series artist, chronicling the adventures of the deadliest man alive. Wally Wood also begins his run as inker, bringing an artistry and refinement absent from previous issues. His inks completely dominate, so much so that the pencils appear to be his as well. Most impactful are the close-ups of characters' faces (see

Queen of the West Dale Evans #4 - Russ Manning art, mis-attributed Alex Toth art
Queen of the West Dale Evans v1 #4, 1955 - The young princess of Sulania visits the humble western town, using the occasion to runs away from her guardians. Russ Manning's opening title panel is inordinately small. Fortunately, his subsequent layouts pick up the pace. A combination of framed and open panels increase visual interest. On page 10, a chase scene broadly suggests the spaciousness of

Walt Disney Comics Digest #23 - Carl Barks reprint
Walt Disney Comics Digest v1 #23, 1970 - Featuring Big Red, Super Goof and Brer Rabbit, many of these digests reprinted stories and artwork by Carl Barks. Included in this edition is "Water Ski Race", first published in Donald Duck #60. Other artists in this issue include Tony Strobl.  - - - - - - - - - - Home / Barks / Walt Disney Comics Digest >this issue >Barks >Walt Disney Comics Digest

Two-Gun Western v2 #9 - Al Williamson art
Two-Gun Western v2 #9, 1957 - Excitedly anticipating a shootout, a young boy narrates a confrontation between two of the best gunfighters west of the Mississippi. Aside from the opening scene (see interior page below), Al Williamson mostly populates the tale with small, varied panels. His reliably drawn pencils are further refined by Ralph Mayo's inks. Faces and figures have more definition,

Monsters on the Prowl #11 - Jack Kirby / Steve Ditko cover reprint, Kirby reprint
Monsters on the Prowl v1 #11, 1971 - With some alterations, the Jack Kirby / Steve Ditko cover was reprinted from Journey Into Mystery #62. Inside, Kirby's "I Was a Slave of the Living Hulk" tale comes from the same issue. Other artists in this issue include Ralph Reese, who provides the only new material in the book. - - - - - - - - - - Home / Ditko / Kirby / Monsters on the Prowl >this issue

Zorro / Four Color Comics v2 #920 - Alex Toth art
Walt Disney's Zorro / Four Color Comics v2 #920, 1958 - In this complete two-part story, a corrupt commandante surrounds a Spanish mission in pursuit of his quarry. Alex Toth's art is a bit more hurried than the previous issue and adheres more strictly to a nine panel grid. Regardless, the artist makes do with the layouts, offsetting the repetitive pace with more varied drawings. Toth's

World's Finest #267 - Don Newton art
World's Finest v1 #267, 1981 - Captain Marvel and his heroic colleagues gather at the Rock of Eternity to do battle with (as ridiculous as it sounds) the New Monster Society of Evil. Don Newton's initial pages are frankly mediocre. Soon afterwards, larger panels allow for more dynamic and interesting scenes. Inker Bob Smith retains much of original lighting and figure drawing, two of Newton's

Captain Marvel v2 #32 - Jim Starlin art & cover
Jim Starlin b>Captain Marvel v2 #32, 1974 - Thanos, having achieved godhood, becomes a much more serious threat to Captain Marvel and his allies. With a couple of exceptions, Jim Starlin's layouts are more tempered this issue. The opening splash is boldly consistent, but even more so is the two-page center spread of the Destroyer's confrontation with Thanos. Though superbly composed, a slight

Solar Man of the Atom #2 - Barry Windsor Smith art
Barry Windsor Smith Solar Man of the Atom v1 #2, 1991 - In part two of his origin, the hero heads into the heart of the failing power plant to avert a catastrophe. Though only six pages, Barry Windsor Smith's artwork sizzles. Large panels full of fine details are carefully planned within thoughtful layouts. Each story contains a different two-page illustration on the center spread, when

Twilight Zone #55 - Walt Simonson art
Twilight Zone v1 #55, 1973 - In a fantasy tale seems out of place for the Twilight Zone, a old gnome seeks an honest man for his daughter to marry. In this exemplary early work by Walt Simonson, each panel is lovingly detailed. Textures abound in the background foliage, wooden vehicles, and the medieval characters that populate this story. The intricacy of the artwork is striking and complex,

Mister Miracle #22 - Marshall Rogers art & cover (Top 10)
Marshall Rogers 8.  Mister Miracle v1 #22, 1977 - Scott Free descends into the bowels of Apokolips, provoking a final confrontation with Darkseid. Marshall Rogers' last story for the series is also his finest. Vince Coletta seems to have inked page 6, but the majority of the book is finished by a pair of compatible inkers and perhaps Rogers himself. The layouts are in constant motion,

Justice League of America #228 - Alex Nino art
Justice League of America v1 #228, 1984 - The Martian Manhunter returns, pursued by ships from his own home planet. His crash landing beckons the JLA to investigate. George Tuska's pencils are quite ordinary, but benefit from Alex Nino's distinctive inks. His influence is most deeply felt on the first few pages where details abound (see interior page above). Unfortunately, remaining page show a

Going Steady #12 - Matt Baker cover & reprint
Matt Baker Going Steady v1 #12, 1955 - In an unusual but creative move, Matt Baker provides a viewpoint from inside a fireplace looking out. The reddish hue from the interiors continues out toward the young couple and their surroundings. The figure drawings are impeccable in their rendition and positioning. Note the thicker lines and shadows, which separates the couple from the background.

Aztec Ace #1 - Nestor Redondo art
Aztec Ace v1 #1, 1984 - Nearly a decade after leaving mainstream comics, Nestor Redondo returns to participate in this series about an indigenous time traveling hero. His first appearance in this lengthy tale greatly benefits from Redondo's polished inking. The textural quality of his brushwork has always been one of his strengths. Of the two splashes, page 23's depicting an winged serpent god

Marvel Premiere #6 / Doctor Strange - Mike Ploog cover, Frank Brunner art
Mike Ploog Marvel Premiere v1 #6 featuring Doctor Strange, 1973 - His first pencils on the series, Frank Brunner struggles with the layouts and character's facial expressions. Sal Buscema's inks compound this further, adding too much detail and definition in many cases. The opening splash is the sole standout, and appears to have been inked by Ralph Reese (?). Mike Ploog's cover fares much

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