Monday, December 26, 2011

Read 'Em And Weep, Early Comic Art Prices

Thought I would end the year by posting more prices from the past, read 'em and weep! The Rocket's Blast Comic Collector was the best way to find original comic art from both dealers and collectors who sold items every issue back in the early days of collecting. Bernie Bubnis, also know as "The Sucker" was one of these collector/dealers with his amusing ads selling some great material, but don't take my word for it, looks at these prices. How about starting out with some Golden Age gems from artists, such as John Romita. A Captain America splash page from Young Men #26 would only set you back thirty dollars, or page three with Cap, Torch and Namor was only $35, other pages cost $20 each. A Bill Everett splash of Subby from the same issue was listed for $30, but if you wanted a Bob Powell Sub-Mariner splash from Human Torch #36 you could have it for the same low price! This guy had Toth, Infantino, Kubert, all the greats at mind-blowing prices and being the nice guy he was, he even had "poor boy" pages for mugs like me for $3 each, such as Mike Sekowsky Justice League of America #25 pages. A Curt Swan splash page from Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olson #79, "Jimmy's Forgotten Girl Friend", was a whopping $10. A Frank Frazetta Li'l Abner daily from 2-15-63 was only twenty five dollars, but the best deal for me was the Murphy Anderson complete Atomic Knights story from Strange Adventures #150, sixteen pages for $75 and please add $2 for postage.

Honest Jack's Old Paper Museum and Junk Shop was one professional from a 1970 issue selling comics and art, including Andru & Esposito Metal Men or All-American Men of War pages for $5 and $4 respectively. Honest Jack "The Children's Friend" as he called himself had Bill Everett Tales to Astonish #88 Sub-Mariner pages for only $10 each. Alberto Giolitti's Tonto, Sergeant Preston, or Gunsmoke pages ran ten to seven dollars each, however I would hold out for a complete four page story "Trick Shot" from Have Gun ,Will Travel for the sum of $25. Wally Wood's Total War #1 page 13 was twenty bucks or Fred Ray's Tomahawk #85 splash page "A Noisy Welcome" was ten smackers. Johnny Thunder pages by Alex Toth from National's All-American Western #120- #123 were only $15 to $10 dollars each, or Jimmy Wakely panel pages sold for $7. Finally, Jack had the complete Golden Gladiator story "Thunder of the Chariots" by Russ Heath from Brave and the Bold #1 from 1955. Seven pages for $120, even though it was missing page 3, which was he said was destroyed, not exactly complete, but very cheep!

Gary Dolgoff has become a big time dealer since his small ad from many years ago, but those prices, they can take your breath away. How about some Steve Ditko Amazing Spider-Man pages from issue #22 page 4 or #23 pages 6, 7,or 19 for $17.50 each! You could have Ditko Dr. Strange pages for the same price if Spidey was not your bag. Dick Ayers' Sgt. Fury pages from issue fourteen, pages 8, 11-13, 16 and 17 cost ten bucks each, or you could have the Human Torch splash page one from Strange Tales #63 for the same price. Iron Man pages from Tales of Suspense #60, pages 2, 6, 8, and 13 by Don Heck were $10. Avengers pages by Heck #11 were also ten each for page 5, 11, 13, 15, 17, and 19.


Lots of great pages for not much money. Werner Roth X-Men pages from issue #18, were $15 for the page one splash and ten bucks for pages 3-5, 7-15, 17 and 19. Larry Lieber pages from Strange Tales #113 or Tales of Suspense #43 were six American dollars, but some DC prices were just as great. Gil Kane's Green Lantern #24 page 12 was ten dollars and a Batman page from Detective Comics #374, page 10 was only $8. Joe Kubert war pages from any of his titles ran again around ten dollars as well, or you could have a Irv Novick All-American Men of War cover for just $10. Covers, splashes, and pages for less than the cost of shipping today, those truly were the good old days.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Make Mike Marvel: Deathlok The Demolisher

With his first appearance in Astonishing Tales #25, Deathlok the Demolisher was a Marvel series inspired by the cyborg craze of the 1970s written by Doug Moench and illustrated by Rich Buckler. Colonel Luther Manning was a tough American soldier from Detroit who after suffering a fatal injury on the battlefield, awoke as a reanimated experimental cyborg under the Deathlok Project in a post-apocalyptic future. A power hungry scientist named Simon Ryker rebuilt the warrior incorporating many new "improvements" including a symbiotic computer that communicated with Manning to often provide strategy in his numerous battles. With his enhanced mechanical and cybernetic  physiology, Deathlok now has superhuman strength and stamina as well as increased agility and reflexes. The cyborg's woven metal-mesh body suit and body armor incorporated on his right arm and half his scarred face made him a frightening opponent, coupled with his prior expert military training.  Equipped with a helium-neon laser pistol, standard issue for the U.S. Army of the future and a perfectly balanced throwing dagger, Deathlock skill as a killing machine lives up to his name in his many bloody conflict. Finally escaping from Ryker's control, Manning dreams of regaining his humanity and reuniting with his family, as he fights the military and corporate entities that have taken over the United States. Moench tight scripts have Deathlok fighting the War-Wolf, Ryker's Super-Tank and even his own clone drawn in Bucklers bold style over their initial twelve issue run. With many incarnations since its debuted, Deathlok still survives today in the Marvel Universe, ever waiting to be reborn once again.

Monday, December 12, 2011

My Greatest Adventure: Anthro

DC Comics in the 1960s always had some interesting new ideas for characters they would often promote in their signature anthology book, Showcase, and issue  #74 was no exception, introducing the prehistoric cave boy called Anthro. Caught between two different and conflicting worlds, Anthro was the first Cro-Magnon boy with intellegence who had some very unusual parents. His Neanderthal father was a fierce warrior  and leader of his people's Bear Tribe, while his deceased mother was from a mysterious lost race that gave him the wisdom and intellect not yet seen by his race. Equipped with only his quick wit and problem solving skills, our stone age hero was superior to his peers in every area, as he excelled in hunting and even showing compassion to his enemies. An unbelievable quality never seen before in this savage time. Not accepted by the brute force of the old ways, Anthro was the new hope for an age of reason in the dawn of civilization. Artist Howie Post was the perfect choice to illustrate the cave boy with his rough and rugged style for its debut issue and his short-lived six issue self-titled series that soon followed.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

National Cartoonist Society Profile: Stan Goldberg

Born in New York City in 1932. I started my career in 1949 as a staff artist for Timely Comics (which is now Marvel). I was also in charge of the color department. In 1958 I went freelance and continued to color all of Marvel Comics for about ten years. As "Stan G" I was responsible for all the color costumes for all the classic Marvel superheroes and villains of the 1960s. During the period from 1949 to the late 1960s I illustrated adventure stories, drew gag cartoons, pop art for advertising, and illustrated all the teen titles for Marvel, Kathy, all the Millie the Model titles, Patsy Walker, etc. From '68 to '70 I drew the teen titles from DC Comics...Scooter, Binky, and Debbie's Dates. Since 1968 I've been drawing many of the titles and covers for Archie Comics, and for five years I drew the Archie Sunday strip. Some of my other illustrations have appeared in childrens books, greeting cards and magazines: McCalls, Redbook, Seventeen, etc. I was given the Ink Pot Award at the San Diego Comics convention in 1994 when I drew the most improbable paring of Archie Meets The Punisher, a Marvel-Archie crossover book.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Jack Kirby Splash Pages!

Born Jacob Kurtzberg on August 28th, 1917, the artist drew under many names before finally landing on Jack Kirby. Growing up on the tough streets of New York's Lower East Side, Jack discovered at an early age he had a talent for drawing. Starting out as an "in-betweener" for Popeye cartoons, he later decided to leave animation in 1939, for more work in the syndicated newspaper strips. Joining with another budding artist, Joe Simon, they quickly found work in the new art medium called comic books. The team worked together nearly two decades, but are best know for their first iconic creation, Captain America, which they created for Timely Comics in 1940. From there, Kirby co-created literally hundreds of characters for National and other companies including the Boy Commandos, Challengers of the Unknown, ManhunterFighting American, The Newsboy Legion , and Sandman. But it wasn't until 1961 when Kirby's true legacy was to be discovered within the pages of Marvel Comics with writer Stan Lee. Now christened "The King" by Lee in all their titles, Jack either created, co-created, or revamped Marvels "A" list of characters such as The Avengers, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America, The Fantastic Four, Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandoes, The Mighty Thor, and The X-Men, just to name a few. Always a fast penciller, Kirby was teamed with some of the greatest inkers in the field as shown in these 1960/70s splashs such as Vince Coletta and Joe Sinnott. Why "The King" did so many splashes is anyone's guess; dramatic flair, a time saving element, or perhaps he just loved composing dynamic images for his books. In 1970, Kirby returned to his roots at DC Comics and continued his influence on the medium by creating such popular characters as the  The Forever People, Mister Miracle, The New Gods, The Demon, and Kamandi, The Last Boy on Earth. Embellished by artist Mike Royer for many of these later DC splashes, he added numerous new characters to DC's growing stable with his popular "Fourth World" series. Jack returned to Marvel Comics in 1975, pencilling once again Captain America, The Black Panther, and his new Devil Dinosaur, and The Eternals series, before slowing down and returning to more animation work. Poor health forced the artist to retire in 1987, but he was still active in comic fandom with his many convention appearances. Jack Kirby eventually passed away on February 6th, 1994, but is recognized by fans and professionals alike as the true master of the comic art form. So in the traditional proclamation made following the accession of a new monarch...Long live the King!



Friday, November 25, 2011

Foreign Favorites: Bruno Brazil

Offered here is another one of the many fantastic strips to come from Belgium and a personal favorite of mine. Created by writer Michel Regnier and artist William Vance, Bruno Brazil first appeared in a 1967 issue of Belgium's weekly magazine, Tintin. A strip spawned by the spy craze, it was a rough mixture of Mission: Impossible and the The Dirty Dozen. Bruno Brazil is the leader of a motley crew of mercenaries known as the "Cayman Commandos" who takes on special espionage missions around the globe. Along with main characters "Gaucho" Morales and the lovely lash-wielding heroine called the "Whip", Bruno drives his unsavory team to the limit on every adventure, whether fighting Mafia Chieftains, counterspies, or island dictators. Regnier dynamic scripts and Vance's lush illustrations packed these tales with exciting characters, exotic locals, lots of violence and a break-neck pace that always made the feature a suspenseful thrill ride with a loyal fan following even today.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Gus Arriola...In His Own words

Here is a short biography written by the artist in the 1960s for a trade publication who was one of my favorite cartoonists with his entertaining feature Gordo... I was born in the northern part of Mexico, now known as Arizona, July 23, 1917. I was reared in Los Angeles, California and was graduated from high school directly into the M.G.M. Cartoon Department as a story-sketch man on Tom 'n' Jerry cat and mouse series. That was in 1937. I created and sold Gordo, June 1941, to United Features Syndicate. Ten months after Pearl Harbor I joined the Army Air Force's Motion Picture Unit where I spent three and a half years making animated training films. A post-war search for an ideal home led me from Los Angeles to La Jolla, California for three years, thence to Phoenix, Arizona for five...then I finally found it in Carmel, California where I settled in an old redwood house by the beach, with my wife, Frances, my swinging son, Carlin, and Smelly Dave, the funniest, most charming of countless cats we've owned.

I'm interested in GOOD everything: music, books, food, wine, friends and times. I work alone on story and art. Consequently I lack enough time to enjoy all the GOOD. My working habits are sporadic. I spend from six to sometimes twelve hours a day in my studio at home. My mind works twenty-four hours a day. I rough out strips and Sunday pages on tissue...and ink them in over a light board. I like to vary material from nutty continuities or social satires, to single, daily gags. Sunday pages are my favorite. I love color. I try to work color and design into the Sunday pages to help ease my frustration of not having the time to paint.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Gold Key Comics...Tragg and the Sky Gods

When Don Glut got the chance to write for Western Publications in the early 1970s, one of his first stories he produced was a rejected idea he had for Jim Warren about a caveman encountering the world's first werewolf.  Appearing in Gold Key's Mystery Comic Digest #3, "Cry of the Dire Wolf" introduced Tragg and his lovely mate, Lorn fighting both saurians and the supernatural in a thrilling tale drawn by Filipino great, Jesse Santos. Another appearance followed the next year in the same anthology title, but editor Del Connell didn't want another dinosaur book since they already had great success with both Turok, and Tarzan. However in 1975, Erich Van Daniken's books were suddenly all the rage, Western wanted to develop a alien book in the same vein, so Tragg and the Sky Gods debuted in June of 1975. A strong mixture of science fiction and Stone Age action, the story revolved around the space aliens (Sky Gods) whose experiments on a prehistoric couple (Tragg and Lorn) creating the first Cro-magnons who eventually lead their Neanderthal brothers in revolt against the alien race. Lasting just twelve short issues in various anthology books and his own title, Santos commitments to other projects left the pencilling chores to Dan Spiegle, though Jesse still did the fantastic painted covers for the series.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Make Mine Marvel: Iron Man

Tales of Suspense #39 from March of 1963 was the debut of one of Marvel Comics most inspiring new heroes, the "Golden Avenger" known as Iron Man was written by Stan Lee and initially drawn by Don Heck. Millionaire inventor Tony Stark while in Vietnam was kidnapped by the evil warlord Wong-Chu, who demanded the industrialist to build him the world's most powerful weapon. With an injured heart from his sudden capture, Stark fabricated an iron suit with built in pacemaker to keep him alive during this grueling ordeal until he eventually escaped by the sacrifice of another fellow scientist. Though Jack Kirby helped create the early look of the character in his bulky grey iron suit, Steve Ditko later greatly streamlined the flexible suit of armour, now forged in flashing gold-and-red. After fighting hordes of Vietnamese villains, Iron Man finally returns to America to work as Tony Stark's bodyguard, to be always close at hand when danger strikes. With a legion of various armour changes over the decades, Iron Man has become one of Marvel's hottest and long-lasting properties, especially with its blockbuster silver screen treatments with Robert Downey Jr. in the title role.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Direct Currents: The Haunted Tank

Back in May of 1961, DC Comics introduced another of their unusual war titles with The Haunted Tank, appearing for the first time in G.I. Combat #87 by writer Robert Kanigher and artist Russ Heath. The story revolved around a Yankee Sergeant named Jeb Stewart who commanded a Stuart M3 tank during World War II that was possessed with the spirit of the Confederate General, James Ewell Brown. This ghost was chosen by by the spirit of Alexander the Great to watch over future brave warriors, including the noble crewmen of this chosen "haunted" tank. Sgt. Stuart was the only soldier able to see the spirit who appeared in times of trouble to guide their tank out of many dangers. Sporting a Confederate Flag in honor of their shared namesake, the Sargent's courage under fire greatly impressed the spectre, while his crew often thought their senior top-kick was either shell shocked or suffering from excessive heat stroke. Eventually Jeb Stewart was transferred with his crew to a number of different tanks across the European Theater, but the loyal ghost of J.E.B. never once left his side.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Society of Illustrators Profile: Frederic Remington

Born in Canton, New York in 1861, Fredric Sackrider Remington spent many hours in the saddle riding with his father as a boy which started his lifelong love for horses that would help inspire the artist in his future career. Attending military school and a brief stint at Yale University, Remington was more interested in drawing and sports than his academic studies, so hearing tall tales of adventure on the frontier, he ventured West in 1881 to seek his fortune. Raising sheep and herding cattle in Montana did not provide much money, but he did end up with a bag full of drawings which he sold to Harper's Weekly upon his return. As much at home on the Western plains as with his society friends back East, Remington saw the Old West was quickly disappearing, so he decided to return many times to document the people, customs and landscapes of this dying tradition. In 1886 his work appeared in St Nicholas, Harper's Weekly, and Outing magazines, followed by offers from various other publications of the day. Thrilling the American public with his accurate Western scenes, the artist left the print media and turned to painting for exhibition in 1903. His equal care and attention to authentic detail in his paintings and sketches carried over to his budding interest in sculpture in 1898, where he was the first American to use the lost wax process. During the Spanish-American War, Remington went to Cuba as an artist/reporter where he met and developed an enduring friendship with the legendary rough rider, Teddy Roosevelt. Upon his death in 1909 from an appendicitis at age 48, Roosevelt spoke about this robust and energetic friend at his funeral," The soldier, the cowboy and rancher, the Indian, the horse and cattle of the plains will live in his pictures, I verily believe for all time."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Comic Art Legend: Jesse Marsh

Born in Monrovia, California in 1907, little is known of Jesse Marsh's early life, though he joined Disney's Animation Studio at age thirty two doing breakdown animation on film classics such as Pinocchio and Fantasia. After a two year stint in WWII, he returned to Disney as a storyboard artist and idea man on various Donald Duck and Pluto cartoons among other features. While still at Disney, art director Tom McKimson at Western Printing encouraged Marsh to draw comics in his spare time, with his first assignment a Gene Autry cowboy book in 1945. Numerous children's books and comics soon followed until Marsh was fortunate enough to be chosen to do a Tarzan one-shot in February of 1947. Marsh's moody style inspired by Milton Caniff and Noel Sickles helped promote Burroughs ape-man for the next fifteen years on that blockbuster title. Best known for his one hundred sixty one issues of Tarzan he illustrated, the artist also worked on many of Western's licensed properties like Rex Allen, The Range Rider, Annie Oakly, and Jonny Mack Brown, just to name a few. Even though he produced thousands of pages over his twenty years at Western Printing, he also found time to work on Walt Disney's syndicated Treasury of Classic Tales Sunday page drawing Davy Crockett and Nikki, Wild Dog of the North. Drawing countless other projects such as Zorro for the foreign markets and ghosting the Flintstones were on his board in 1965, before diabetes caused his retirement due to failing eyesight. Now wanting to paint at his leisure, the artist unfortunately passed away within a year in 1965.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

National Cartoonist Society Profile: Sheldon Moldoff

Being the first of many "ghosts" to assist Bob Kane on Batman and Robin's many adventures, "Shelly" Modoff was an early favorite with DC's legion of fans in his long career with National. One of only a handful of  cartoonists  at the dawn of the Golden Age, the artist's solid drawing style helped him  last well into the Silver Age...I was born April 14, 1920 in Manhattan, and had no formal art training, but learned to draw on the streets of New York with chalk. My favorite artists include, Norman Rockwell, Walt Disney, Alex Raymond, Milt Caniff, Hal Foster, and Willard Mullin. I sold my first cartoon at age seventeen, and was Bob Kane's first assistant on Batman. Was the Golden Age creator of the Black Pirate and Hawkman. I was also the cover artist who introduced the Green Lantern and The Flash at National. Ghosted Batman for Bob Kane from 1953-1967. Story-boarded the Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse animated series plus hundreds of other short films. Produced the original full length feature Marco Polo Jr show. Created comic book giveaways for Red Lobster, Shoney's Big Boy, Captain D's, Burger-King, Blockbuster, Atlanta Braves, and many others.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

V.T. Hamlin...In His Own Words

Here is a brief explanation, published years ago by cartoonist V.T. Hamlin about working on his world famous caveman, Ally Oop he created in 1932, and illustrated for over forty years. It's still being published today by the only husband and wife team in syndiction, Jack and Carole Bender...I'm an outdoors man myself, and my life has been a pleasantly exciting one, and often quite hazardous. I actually dislike violence, although I was a football player, a semi-pro boxer, a race car driver and any number of other crazy things. Now, I mostly the Florida Keys, with a fly rod or, in late summer, on the Yellowstone River, which I navigate mostly in a rubber boat. My character Alley Oop, with whom I have been most intimately associated for the past thirty years, is a kindly and gentile soul...albeit his physical appearance belies it. Physically, Oop is the man I would loved to have been myself. Mentally, I figure maybe I'm a notch or two up on him, but not much more than that.

My methods of just sort of happens, if you get what I mean. Sometimes I know what I'm going to put down on that strip of blank paper. More often than not, however, I don't...and I'm often surprised at what I do put there. Now, I'm not just saying that for effect; it's the truth. As a young newspaper man in the Southwest, mostly in and around Fort Worth and Houston, Texas, I became fascinated by geology...especially the part devoted to the Mesozoic Age, the age of the reptile. In those days (1926) not many people knew much of anything about dinosaurs. So, being the good reporter that I was, I decided to tell them. What better way than with Alley Oop?


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Nick Cardy's "Three Day Free Home Trial!"

Nick Cardy is probably best known for his thirty nine issues of DC's Aquaman where he helped create the King of the Seven Seas lovely wife, Mera, and the evil villain, Ocean Master. His equally successful forty three issue run on National's Teen Titans was also an instant fan favorite, coupled with the artist's uncanny ability to draw very attractive female characters. Cardy's great skill with pen and ink soon made him DC's primary cover artist for the mid-1970s where he illustrated many titles including Superman, Action Comics, The Brave and the Bold, Batman, Flash, Ghosts, The Witching Hour, Bat Lash, Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen, World's Finest and numerous 100 Page Giant comics, just to name a few. Working more in the superhero genre in his long career with National, it's great to find a moody Cardy horror story drawn in his clean distinct style from DC's The Witching Hour #8 in this 1970 tale entitled...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Foreign Favorites: Lieutenant Blueberry

Created in 1963, Lieutenant Blueberry was written by Jean-Michel Charlier and illustrated by artist Jean Giraud for the French magazine Pilote for their first story entitled "Fort Navajo." One of the most exciting and authentic Westerns to date, Mike Blueberry was a disillusioned solder assigned to the mythical Seventeenth Regiment to the U.S. Calvary assigned to the New Mexico territory. As well as his soldering duties, Blueberry usually ended up fighting his own private wars against lots of different foes, from marauding Apaches to savage gunrunners. With the help of his trusty sidekick, Jimmy McClure, the two adventurers enjoy fighting, whiskey, wild women, and gambling in their many stories together. Jean Giraud, who signed the work simply as Gir, made each character distinct and original, with his wonderful attention to detail, fantastic locals, and dramatic use of color. Considered by many to be one of the best strips in European comics, Gir left the strip to follow other projects after a few years. However, the talented artists Colin Wilson and William Vance both picked up the reigns at one time to continue these mighty yarns of the American wild west.