The Human Torch 8, 1974 “The Painter of a Thousand Perils!”

Alright, so, Torch got his own series in the 1970’s…sort of…yes, it’s reprints, BUT the cover is brand new, and the reprints are good stuff! When you have villains as sinister as The Painter (Wilhelm Van Vile), and “Scar” Tobin, you know that your chances of survival are minimal! OK, maybe not, but these two evil-doers are definitely near the top of the cornball list, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s an awesome list.

When I look down at the credits box, and see Jack “King” Kirby (pencils), I understand that there will be a quality to this book that few others can even think of attaining. Frequent inker of the Silver Age (but also a good penciler and overall artist since the Golden Age) “Darlin” Dick Ayers, is a name most will remember from his inking in the early Marvel Age. He also did some great stuff in the military and western genres as well. The scripter, Robert Bernstein, is an enigma to me. I believe I’ve only heard his name once or twice before, and to my recollection, this is the only comic I own with his work in it. The cover is by one of my favorite unsung heroes of the Marvel Bronze Age, “Rampaging” Ron Wilson! A plot by Stan Lee and letters by Terry Szenics rounds out the creative team! Oh, and don’t miss the advert at the bottom! 

 

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Marvel Two-in-One 95, 1982 “The Power to Live, The Power to Die!”

After searching far and wide (OK, not really), I’ve finally purchased a book I’ve been wanting to buy for years! Why this book? Because I love N’Kantu, The Living Mummy, that’s why! With a backstory along the same lines as Imhotep, this former warrior prince of an African tribe was put down by politics. They embalmed him alive and with a special fluid that has kept him alive for centuries! In this story, we see Ben Grimm and Alicia Masters get caught up in an Egyptian-style caper with magic and mayhem!

This issue was scripted by the very capable David Anthony Kraft. He was one of those guys that was ready for anything, and even though he didn’t have many extended runs on any specific title, the work was there and on point. The recent passing of Alan Kupperberg (pencils) was quite a shock for me. Having been friends with him on social media for a couple for years, I found him to be very friendly, and always positive. The inker, Jon D’Agostino, is someone I know nothing about, but his work with Kupperberg looks very nice to my eyes. The cover was brought to us by the awesome Bronze Age duo of Ron Wilson and Chic Stone! Veterans Diana Albers (letters), George Roussos (colors), and Tom Defalco (editor), round out the team!

 

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Journey into Mystery 14, 1974 “When Wakes the Sphinx!”

Another post on the same day? Uh, yeah, because it’s Halloween (and there will be a few more, too!). Hopefully by the time this post hits the airwaves, I’ll be enjoying some great deals at WildPig Comics, in New Jersey. I’ll be looking to fill some gaps in my collection, especially in the Bronze Age era! For now, though, you’ll have to settle for this little gem! We get four stories, and each one brings a different thing to the table. The first is a tale about an alien invasion, but one with unexpected results…for the aliens that is! The second one is called “The Thing on the Moon,” and deals with a giant creature on the moon that was placed there by inhabitants of Earth. Thirdly, we see a foreign substance that can eat the flesh off of a man right down to the bone! The last story shows an attractive woman and the scores of men after her affections. She suckers one of them into giving her ten-thousand dollars, but after he sees her with another man, he’s plots his revenge!

The initial story is by Steve Ditko (art), and isn’t the best work he’s ever produced, but certainly better than most. He does a great job on the Sphinx in the story, though. The next one is by Don Heck (art), and he brings his usual talents to the table. The last two have artists who I’m not all that familiar with, in Doug Wildey and Harry Anderson. Both men do a solid job on their respective stories, and keep the book at an even pace as far as the artwork. All stories have scripts by Stan Lee. The cover, which is fantastic, is by none other than “Rampaging” Ron Wilson!

 

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Supernatural Thrillers 4, 1973 “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”

The title “Supernatural Thrillers” is probably most known for the Living Mummy character, but its beginnings were quite different. The first four issues contained stories based off of classic monsters! This one in particular is an adaptation of the classic story by Robert Lois Stevenson, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde! The story revolves around a certain doctor that is having a crisis of conscience. He believes that his scientific endeavors trump any sort of morality. Hammer Studios did a movie adaptation that was marvelous, so definitely check that out!

The team of creators on this book are foreign to me (with the exception of the artist) for the most part. The writer, Ron Goulart, is most known for his mystery and sci-fi work. The interior artwork is by Golden Age DC artist, Win Mortimer (Superman, Superboy). He was instrumental in that era’s consistency, and along with others like Bill Finger, Jerry Robinson, Joe Kubert, and more. Letters were by Jean Izzo and editing was Roy Thomas! The cover was by “Rampaging” Ron Wilson and Ernie Chan!

 

 

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Marvel Two-in-One #87, 1982 “Menace of the Microworld!”

I figured with Ant-Man still on people’s minds, we could journey into the past, and check out an appearance of this eccentric character. Not only do you get him, but also the blue-eyed Thing! The Thing gets sucked into a Microverse, and it’s up to Ant-Man (with an assist by Reed Richards) to bring him back in one piece. But what if Ben doesn’t want to come back? Just think about it for a minute. What if Ben is whisked away to a world where he’s adored, and not feared? Would anyone want to come back to a world where you feel tormented?

This was a great phase of this title, when you had regular artists like “Rampaging” Ron Wilson (pencils) and “Cheerful” Chic Stone (inks) bringing you fantastic interior work. Still fairly young in his Marvel career (but not comics in general), Tom Defalco (writer) gives us a solid story that emphasizes what Ben Grimm is really all about. Colors are by Christie Scheele, letters by Rick Parker and Michael Higgins. The editor is one that was an absolute rock for Marvel throughout the years, Mr. Jim Salicrup!

 

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Marvel’s Unsung Heroes! -Ron Wilson!

Happy birthday, Ron Wilson!

Magazines and Monsters!

Of course everyone knows names like Kirby, Buscema, Romita, and Colan, but there is a plethora of other guys (and girls), that need to be given a great deal of credit for the success of Marvel Comics. These others helped forge a new pathway, and their number needs to be counted. So, for the month of April, I’ll be spotlighting some of the work that these unsung heroes gave us all to enjoy over the years!

I’ll be presenting these in no specific order,  but rest assured, we’ll get a peek at a few names that you should recognize! First up is Ron Wilson, because his pencils have always been a favorite of mine, and I think he deserves more respect than he’s gotten over the years. From his great run on titles like Marvel Two-in-One, to more obscure titles like Chamber of Chills, you’ll see it…

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Vault of Evil #14, 1974 “Midnight in Haunted Manor”

 

It’s been a little while since I presented a horror comic, so I thought, “why not now!” Of course, when you make that decision, it must be a good one, so today we have Vault of Evil #14! This series presented some older material (mostly from the 1950’s), and showcased some of the greatest artists of all time! In this issue, we see some eerie stories, some of which don’t even have proper credits attached to them. We do know the artists, but not the writers. Four weird tales of horror adorned this issue, and believe me when I say, they nothing less than awesome!

The first story is rendered by Steve Ditko, and we all know that he can do “creepy” as well as anyone! The last story is one that is quite spectacular, and features artwork by none other than Gene Colan! Wedged in the middle of those two stories is one (The Albatross) by long time DC editorial stalwart, Joe Orlando. He was actually an assistant to Wally Wood early in his (Orlando’s) career! Any way you slice it, this title is one that every collector needs, provided you don’t have the originals! Cover by ‘Rampaging’ Ron Wilson and Frank Giacoia!

 

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Marvel Two-in-One #92 “This Evil Returning” and #93 “And One Shall Die” (1982)

In this double-sized post, I’ll be showcasing a two-part story featuring the Thing, as he takes on the menace of Ultron! The good news is, he wont have to face him alone. The bad news is, that even with Machine Man and Jocasta, he’s still in over his head! The entire series of Marvel Two-in-One was just something to marvel at (no pun intended). The myriad of stories and creators was a melting pot during the Bronze Age for some of Marvel’s best, and most talented creators. Especially when you look at the fact that most don’t get the recognition they deserve. Names like Ron Wilson, Chic Stone, Tom Defalco, David Anthony Kraft, Jo Duffy, Alan Kupperberg, and so on. These professionals gave it their all, and whether you want to admit it or not, were just as big a part of the industry as some of the more recognized names at that time. They kept characters roles expanding, as well as keeping them in-line with continuity and moving forward.

This great two-part story was given to us by Tom Defalco (writer), Ron Wilson (cover and interior pencils), Chic Stone (cover inks) Joe Rosen (letters), Don Warfield and George Roussos (colors), and edited by Jim Salicrup! The inking was done by committee, but at no time did the work suffer for it. Sometimes when you get too many hands in the pot, you have a recipe for disaster, but not here! Some really good character interaction plus great humor as well. Feast your eyes on these two books!

 

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Marvel Two-in-One #47, 1978 “Happy Deathday, Mister Grimm”

As we all know, the Yancy Street Gang is usually the type to tease, heckle, and even try to injure their former friend, Ben Grimm. But in this issue, they actually lend a hand in helping the Thing defeat the menace of the Machinesmith! Well, the issue in question doesn’t actually hold good tidings by the end for Mr. Grimm, but I can tell you that there are gangsters, and a game played between the members of the FF, including Agatha Harkness, and Franklin Richards. Also, a special appearance by that loveable letter carrier, Willie Lumpkin!

With a great story by the incomparable Bill Mantlo, pencils and inks by Chic Stone (great inker, and incredibly underrated penciler- just look at this issue!), colors by Bob Sharen, letters by Diana Albers and Gaspar, and edited by Roger Stern! And let us not forget the awesome cover by Ron Wilson, Joe Sinnott, and Irv Watanabe! This is one of those kooky issues that really is a great read. You get a fantastic heart-warming scene in the beginning with the FF and Ben, then some solid action with the Yancy Street Gang and robots, which are operating under the influence of a quirky villain like the Machinesmith. It’s all just perfection. It’s a no-brainer to grab this issue! Enjoy (and since I’m a day late with this post, look for part 2 of this story, later today) !

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Super-Villain Team-Up #1, 1975 “Slayers from the Sea”

After just purchasing this book recently (Baltimore Comic Con 2014), I felt compelled to spotlight this great book! These types of books have always caught my eye, and will always get my money, as well. When you have great characters like Namor and Dr. Doom in a book, it’s difficult to not have a good story, or at least enough crazy action and declarative statements on every other panel! Let’s face it, Doom and Namor have enough hot air between the two of them to float a balloon across the planet. But, that’s why we love them, isn’t it?

As if dealing with Doom isn’t bad enough, Namor must contend with his perennial foes Attuma and Tiger Shark as well! There’s also a third person to contend with too, as Dr. Dorcas is in the mix…wow, what a name for a villain. The story is broken into two “chapters”, with a different set of artists on the second half, but you can’t go wrong with either team to be honest. Written by Tony Isabella, pencils (chapter one) by George Tuska & Bill Everett, inks by Fed Kida, colors by I. Vartanoff, and letters by I. Watanabe. The second chapter was penciled by George Evans, and inked by Frank Springer, and the rest of the same crew from the first chapter to round out the rest of the team! There are some fantastic splash pages in this book, so get ready to be aroused!

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