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

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Shock Illustrated #2 - Al Williamson art
Shock Illustrated #2Shock Illustrated v1 #2, 1956 - Evading the newly enacted comics code, EC produced several adult-targeted magazines. Each story combined text and artwork in near equal proportion. Al Williamson's tale of murder and infidelity is superbly drawn. His brushwork is supple and masterful. Although confined to black and white, his use of greytone screens increases both depth and

Wonder Comics v2 #20 - Frank Frazetta art
Wonder Comics v2 #20 Wonder Comics v2 #20, 1948 - The Silver Knight must conquer the Barghest, a panther-like creature, before it ravages the countryside. There seems to be a dispute whether Frank Frazetta's inked part or all of this medieval-era tale. Some panels show greater effort than others, with varying degrees of success. His style appears in most of the character faces, but most

Strange Adventures #117 - 1st Atomic Knights
Strange Adventures #117Strange Adventures v1 #117, 1960 - In the deadly aftermath of World War Three, an ex-soldier named Gardner Grayle recruits a team of ordinary people to overturn a local tyrant. Dressed in medieval armor that protects them from ray guns, the Atomic Knights attempt to bring justice, law and order back to a devastated and chaotic world. Oddly enough, the team isn't featured or

Gorgo #13 - Steve Ditko art & cover
Steve Ditko Gorgo v1 #13, 1963 - The film that exposes Gorgo to the world consequently leads to his capture. Steve Ditko's first few pages are minimal, bordering on monotonous. As the action increases, however, panels become more detailed and complete. The interaction between human characters is frankly more interesting, with faces full of expression and individuality. Once again, the Ditko

Excalibur #27 - Barry Windsor Smith art
Barry Windsor-Smith Excalibur v1 #27, 1990 - Suddenly transported to another dimension, Nightcrawler and Phoenix come face to face with the mysterious Nth Man. Barry Smith, a seasoned veteran of Marvel mutant books, steps in as a guest artist on the series. His layouts are strong and vary wildly throughout. However, Bill Sienkiewicz's typically loose inking style is a mismatch for the pencils.

Iron Fist #5 - John Byrne art
Iron Fist #5 Iron Fist v1 #5, 1976 - Searching for Colleen Wing in London, Iron Fist must contend with a master swordsman calling himself Scimitar. John Byrne employs small, sequential panels to showcase the hero's martial arts moves. Though a bit overdone, it seems more appropriate than other Marvel super-hero titles. The story's highlight is the opening splash (see interior page below),

Pictorial Romances #4 - Matt Baker art + 1st issue
Pictorial Romances #4 Pictorial Romances v1 #4, 1950 - Saving all her money, Ginger spends a week at a posh resort to experience (for a short time) the life of the rich and glamorous. Matt Baker's art is generally straightforward and dependably laid out. There's little visual interest, perhaps with the exception of a dream-like panel of an underwater kiss (see interior page below). This title

Nickel Comics #1 - 1st Bulletman
Nickel Comics #1 Nickel Comics v1 #1, 1940 - Jim Barr is a scientist and criminologist who creates an antitoxin for evil. Experimenting on himself, he unexpectedly increases his mass and brain power. Vowing to fight crime, he invents an anti-gravity helmet and becomes Bulletman. Also making their first appearances in separate stories are Warlock the Wizard (who can summon a giant decapitated hand

Battle #68 - Jack Kirby cover, Kirby / Steve Ditko art, Kirby / Al Williamson art
Jack Kirby Battle v1 #68, 1960 - Two Jack Kirby tales occupy this issue, each finished by a different inker. In the first, an American pilot grows bored with reconnaissance missions, until he encounters the enemy. Al Williamson's inks add little enhancement, with the exception of the more heavily detailed splash page. Kirby's second story deals with a young soldier's first run-in with an enemy

Mystery In Space #7 - Alex Toth art
Mystery In Space #7 Mystery In Space v1 #7, 1951 - Unlike his work for Dell, Alex Toth's DC issues during the 1950s were almost always inked by someone else. Consequently, the artist's spontaneous lines were often dampened or reworked. This tale, featuring a science fiction writer at the Venusian Olympics, stumbles due to uninspired layouts and mediocre drawings. This story was later

Creepy #85 - Walt Simonson art
Creepy #85Creepy v1 #85, 1977 - After bragging to the press, a tv actor named Oliver Munday travels to the Himalayas to hunt the yeti and bring back its carcass. The snowy settings call for the use of more white space, but Carmine Infantino's pencils provide plenty of clarity. Walt Simonson's inks reinforce the idea, while adding more definition. His distinctive, graphic approach dominates most

Tomahawk #130 - Neal Adams cover
Neal Adams Tomahawk v1 #130, 1970 - An impending disaster is revealed this Neal Adams western cover. The layout is a bit convoluted with a lot of graphic elements. Some of the detail gets lost further into the background. Adams' run on this series ends with a whimper rather than a bang. Other artists in this bronze age comic include Frank Thorne. This is 13 of 13 Tomahawk issues by Adams. - -

Amazing Spider-Man #300 - 1st Venom
Amazing Spider-Man #300Amazing Spider-Man v1 #300, 1988 - The alien symbiote that was Spider-man's black costume finds a new host in Eddie Brock. Fusing with the failed  journalist's body, Venom mimics the hero's powers down to the webbing. When his wife Mary Jane is threatened by the new creature, Peter Parker reverts back to his original red and blue costume. Written by David Michelinie and

Star Trek v3 #25 - Jim Starlin cover
Jim Starlin Star Trek v3 #25, 1986 - The four figures on this Jim Starlin cover dominate the layout, but contradict the worm's eye perspective of the background. Kirk's face also seems belabored and stylistically different from that of his female companion. Competently rendered, this Starlin effort suffers mostly from inconsistent and overcrowded elements. Other artists in this copper age

Jonah Hex #1 - 1st issue
Jonah Hex #1 Jonah Hex v1 #1, 1977 - Hired by a wealthy industrialist landowner, Jonah searches for his missing and possibly kidnapped son. The trail eventually leads to a "boy-fighting" ring among prevalent gamblers. This first issue begins Jonah Hex's second series, following his long stint on Weird Western Tales. It is, however, the character's first self-titled series. This Michael Fleisher


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