Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Jack Kamen Bondage Covers

Comic book artist Jack Kamen (1920-2008) us most famous for his stories for E.C.'s line of horror comics. Kamen's stories often featured sleek, ice-cold women plotting to murder their husbands or the object of murder themselves. Kamen's squeaky clean style radiated 1950's era wholesomeness while telling unsettling stories of infidelity, murder and revenge. Before working for E.C., he did artwork for a variety of publishers who took advantage of his skills at drawing women.

Claire Voyant #4, 1947.

Jo-Jo Comics #16, June 1948.

The Saint #1, August 1947.

Zoot Comics #11, December 1947.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Bernie Wrightson

Husband, father and comic book artist Bernie died yesterday, March 18, 2017. Anyone who had visited this blog more than once probably knows my affection for him and his work. Almost everything you have seen posted on this blog grew out of my fascination with Wrightson and his work. He opened me up to a whole world of art, from his contemporaries and The Studio gang, to the EC artists, Roy Krenkel and earlier masters like Alex Raymond, J.C. Coll and N.C. Wyeth. Thank you Bernie, for all the wonderful art you've given us over the years.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Science-Fiction Plus

Science Fiction Plus was a large format science fiction and fact magazine first published by Hugo Gernsback in March 1953. The magazine featured top writers like Clifford Simak, Frank Belknap Long, Robert Bloch and Philip Jose Farmer. It also had covers and illustrations by legendary science-fiction artists Alex Schomburg, Frank R. Paul, Virgil Finlay and Lawrence Sterne Stevens. Sadly, the magazine only published seven issues.

Science-Fiction Plus, March 1953. Cover art by Alex Schomburg.

Science-Fiction Plus, April 1953. Cover art by Alex Schomburg.

Science-Fiction Plus, June 1953. Cover art by Alex Schomburg.

Science-Fiction Plus, August 1953. Cover art by Frank R. Paul.

Science-Fiction Plus, October 1953. Cover art by Frank R. Paul.

Science-Fiction Plus, October 1953. Back cover art by Frank R. Paul.

Science-Fiction Plus, December 1953. Cover art by Frank R. Paul.

All these magazines are for sale at my eBay store.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Larry Ivie Tribute by Sandy Plunkett

Artist Sandy Plunkett has started a blog paying tribute to the late Larry Ivie and his collection of comic book art. The Larry Ivie Tribute blog is here.

Something about the project copied from the blog: "In his lifetime, artist / writer / historian Larry Ivie amassed a wide-ranging collection of of original comic art. Some of this material has never been published and a good deal more had never received adequate reproduction. The intent of this blog is to share the collection with fellow enthusiasts and to generate discussions about comic art and the artistic process."

The blog is full of wonderful published and unpublished art by the likes of Al Williamson, Frank Frazetta, Roy Krenkel and lots of other named and unnamed comic artists of the golden age. Check out a couple samples below, and be sure to visit Sandy's sites for lots of new treats.

Layout for a Fiction House cover, unknown artist.

Tarzan by Roy Krenkel.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

EC's Saddle Romances

Saddle Romances was a short-lived EC Pre-Trend title. It ran for three issues from 1949 - 1950. It featured the art of later renowned EC stalwarts such as Al Feldstein, Graham Ingels and Wally Wood (in collaboration with Harry Harrison). The title's numbering was continued from Saddle Justice. After only three issues, EC's acclaimed science fiction title Weird Science picked up with #12.

Saddle Romances #9, Nov-Dec 1949. Cover art by Graham Ingels.

Saddle Romances #10, Jan-Feb 1950. Cover art by Al Feldstein.

Saddle Romances #11, Mar-Apr 1950. Cover art by Al Feldstein.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Mechanix Illustrated, 1940's and 1950's

November 1949.

January 1956.

March 1956.

July 1956.

All for sale here.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Bernie Wrighson Frankenstein Portfolio

The first of Bernie Wrightson's three Frankenstein portfolios. This was released by Tyrannosaurus Press in 1977 in a signed and numbered limited edition of 1000.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

New Book on Reed Crandall

A new book on Reed Crandall has been announced from TwoMorrows Publishing. The author is an expert on Crandall and has been working on it for a long time. I'm sure it will be an excellent resource on an artist too often overlooked by today's fans.

From the publisher's website: "From the 1940s to the ’70s, Reed Crandall brought a unique and masterful style to American comic art. Using an illustrator's approach on everything he touched, Crandall gained a reputation as the “artist’s artist” through his skillful interpretations of Golden Age super-heroes Doll Man, The Ray, and Blackhawk (his signature character); horror and sci-fi for the legendary EC Comics line; Warren Publishing’s Creepy, Eerie, and Blazing Combat; the THUNDER Agents and Edgar Rice Burroughs characters; and even Flash Gordon for King Features. Comic art historian Roger Hill has compiled a complete and extensive history of Crandall’s life and career, from his early years and major successes, through his tragic decline and passing in 1982. This full-color hardcover includes never-before-seen photos, a wealth of rare and unpublished artwork, and over eighty thousand words of insight into one of the true illustrators of the comics."

It is scheduled in July, order a copy through your local comic store or pre-order direct from the publisher.

In the meantime, below are some scans for Reed Crandall's art on some covers of Modern Comics.

Modern Comics #77, September 1948.

Modern Comics #78, October 1948.

Modern Comics #79, November 1948.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Al Feldstein Science Fiction Paintings

First Landing, circa 1992

Cover for Squa Tront #3, 1969. This painting hung in EC publisher Bill Gaines' office.

Weird Fantasy #11 recreation.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Frank Frazetta Creepy Covers

Creepy #1, April 1965.

Creepy #3, June 1965.

Creepy #4, August 1965.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Swamp Thing Around the World

Bernie Wrightson's run on Swamp Thing is some of the most reprinted art of that era. The muck monster has been particularly popular in Europe, with many foreign language publications of the saga. This point will highlight a few, but by no means all of them.

The cover on the right is from one of my favorite editions. They were published in Denmark by Rune Press. These were the first foreign Swamp Thing comics I bought. They are large, magazine-sized and the first album reprints the first issue and the origin story from House of Secrets #92. The next two volumes, Patchwork Manden and Varulvens Nat reprint the next four issues. The books are printed in black and white with glorious reproduction, every fine line and twist of the brush shows up. These must have been printed from the original negatives or first generation stats. I don't know if the series continued to reprint the rest of Wrightson's run on the title. The only possible drawback to this edition would be if they did not reprint all of Wrightson's issues of Swamp Thing. Below is a panel from Swamp Thing #4.

The French publisher Les Editions du Fromage printed a beautiful set of Wrightson's complete run in two volumes. These boast the same superior reproduction of the Dutch editions but are slightly smaller in size, they measure 7.25" x 10.5". The first volume reprints the story from House of Secrets #92 and the first five issues of Swamp Thing, the second volume the remaining issues #6-10.

They were published sometime in the late-1970's and worth the sometimes hefty price if you really appreciate Wrightson's fine linework. Short of an IDW Artist Edition, this is the best presentation you will see of this historic run. Below are a couple panels from this edition.

Next up is a set of two German volumes: Das Ding Aus Den Sumpfen and Die Nach Der Fledermaus. These both measure a little over 6" x 10" and are printed in color. They were printed in 1990 by the publisher Carlsen Verlag.

The coloring in them as the same as DC's The Roots of the Swamp Thing reprint series from 1986. The first volume reprints issues #1-5 and the second volume reprints the remaining issues and the Swamp Thing story from House of Secrets #92.

Another German offering is Die großen Phantastic-Comics #57 - Sumpfding - Ein Leben für die Ewigkeit. This magazine sized issue sports the front half of Bernie's painting for the cover of The Roots of the Swamp Thing #1 and reprints the first two issues of the comic. Again, the coloring is the same as 1986's The Roots of the Swamp Thing. I couldn't find any references to any subsequent issues of Swamp Thing in this series. The cover is pictured below.

Last is a bizarre little Spanish volume: La Cosa Del Pantano published by Toutain Editor. There is no publication printed in it. This is magazine size and utilizes Wrightson's Swamp Creature from his Color the Creatures coloring book as a cover.

This reprints the origin story from House of Secrets colored by someone who favors yellow and pastel hues. A shot of some of the interior pages is below. The colors are actually much more washed out than the photo shows. It also reprints the first four issues of the comic in black and white. The reproduction is serviceable, but nowhere close to quality of the French of Dutch editions discussed above. I don't have any more information about this, I don't know if they published subsequent issues or not.

I hope you've enjoyed this little tour around the world with Swamp Thing. When I first ordered the Dutch editions from a catalog in the pre-internet 1980's I wasn't even sure what I was getting. But now with resources like the Grand Comics Database and being able to order from European eBays and Amazons the hunt is much easier but still a challenge. I can promise if I find anymore foreign Swamp Things, you'll see them here!