Monday, May 28, 2012

King Conan #1 Splash Page Art

King Conan #1 opens with a fantastic splash page by John Buscema and Ernie Chan featuring a montage of the Cimmerian's conquests and trials over the years. The original art shows detail not apparent in the printed color version and an interesting note in the margins, presumably from John Buscema to Ernie Chan. "Inker/Embellisher: Conan is 55 or so here; very strong, but with a few more lines in his face, and some gray in his hair...."  The rest of the note doesn't make the scan, but it's clear that John Buscema didn't want the inker to draw King Conan like the young barbarian gracing the pages of two other Marvel titles on a monthly basis.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

King Conan #1 (March 1980)

Title: The Witch of the Mists
Cover: John Buscema, Ernie Chan
Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciler: John Buscema
Inker: Ernie Chan
Colorist: George Roussos
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Editor: Roy Thomas
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.75
Cover Date: March 1980
Release Date: December 1979
Synopsis: Marvel released its third Conan title in March 1980 as it added King Conan to a roster that already included the Conan The Barbarian comic and The Savage Sword of Conan magazine. The new title chronicled the later of adventures of Conan after taking the throne and was renamed Conan the King starting with issue #20.  In this fantasy-filled first issue, Conan faces the Hyperborean witch Louhi and Thoth-Amon.  The witch lures Conan’s son Conn into a trap and brings the prince back to her Citadel of Pohiola where she imprisons him. She makes a human sacrifice to summon Thoth-Amon and is surprised to learn that the ancient and powerful sorcerer is actually afraid of Conan. Louhi ignores Thoth-Amon’s advice to kill Conan immediately when he follows her witch men’s trail to the citadel, reuniting him with his son and giving the two the opportunity to fight their way to freedom.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Universe Appendix, MarvelWikia

Iron Man #132 Page 27 Art

The climax of Iron Man's battle with the Hulk in Iron Man #132 comes on page 27 when the Avenger focuses all his suit's power into a single blow.  "He knows he must focus the entirety of his aggressive potential in a single action at a single instant. For his sake and for the sake of the man named Bruce Banner--He must put everything that he and his incredible armor have into one punch--and--make--it--Count! FWA-WHA-WHA-BWOM"  Bob Layton did this great recreation in 2010 of Jerry Bingham's art on the page where shell head administers the coup de grĂ¢ce.

Source: Bob Layton

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Iron Man #132 (March 1980)

Title: The Man Who Would Be Hulk
Cover: Bob Layton
Plot: David Michelinie, Bob Layton
Script: David Michelinie
Penciler: Jerry Bingham
Inker: Bob Layton
Colorist: George Roussos
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Editor: Roger Stern
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: March 1980
Release Date: December 1979
Synopsis: “No one can hold Hulk! Hulk will smash puny men! Smash!” Angry words we would expect to hear from the incredible Hulk are instead coming from the mouth of Bruce Banner who has retained the persona of the Hulk despite his body’s reversion to the mild mannered scientist’s form.  At Stark International, Scott Lang and Tony Stark work desperately to help the man and ultimately succeed with a treatment designed to calm the Hulk’s brain waves to return him to Banner. Relieved to have restored Banner’s mind to his body, they are all crestfallen that the heart implant they devised last issue as a cure to Banner’s transformation did not work.  In fact, Stark realizes too late that the implant is actually making things worse as Banner transforms back into the Hulk and breaks out of his containment cell at Stark International, leaving behind a trail of wreckage and unconscious guards and police.  Stark dons his Iron Man armor and rushes to the scene, prepared to fight the Jade Giant once again.  Iron Man lures the Hulk to the waterfront on Long Island Sound where he tries to trap him underwater, but the green behemoth leaps to freedom and lands at the Stark International airfield where the fight continues. The Hulk is stunned when the fuel tank of a Lear Jet explodes in his face and Iron Man seizes the opportunity to deliver a blow packed with all the energy his incredible suit of armor has to offer.  The Hulk falls unconscious and as the crowd assembles to congratulate Iron Man, the hero falls over as rigid as a statue.  To be continued next issue in The Hero Within! 

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics

Incredible Hulk #145 (March 1980)

Title: When The Hulk Comes Raging!
Cover: Al Milgrom
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Penciler: Sal Buscema
Inker: Sal Buscema
Colorist: George Roussos
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Editor: Al Milgrom
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: March 1980
Release Date: December 1979
Synopsis:  The Hulk returns to Gamma Base to recover the body of his love Jarella and is ambushed by the army troops that were prepared for his arrival. The Jade Giant makes quick work of the soldiers, but Major Glenn Talbot attacks the Hulk in a suit of Mandroid armor that was provided to him by S.H.I.E.L.D. following the Pentagon’s sanction of the behemoth’s termination. The Hulk is initially surprised by Talbot’s onslaught in the super-powered Mandroid suit, but he soon regains the upper hand and batters his opponent.  Captain Marvel makes an appearance toward the end of the issue, having heard about the Hulk’s rampage on the news, he arrives just in time to save Talbot’s life.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics, Marvel Wikia

Monday, May 14, 2012

Howard The Duck Magazine #4 (March 1980)


Title: Playduck
Cover: John Pound
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Pencilers: Gene Colan, John Buscema
Inkers: Dave Simons, Klaus Janson
Letterers: Joe Rosen, Irving Wantabe    
Editor: Lynn Graeme
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $1.25
Cover Date: March 1980
Release Date: December 1979
Synopsis: Howard The Duck #4 features a Playboy Magazine cover parody and a number of familiar Playboy features throughout the book.  The two principal stories The Maltese Cockroach and The Dreadcliff Cuckoos are interspersed with features like the Playduck Interview with Truman Capoultry, a prose story The Old Drake’s Tale, Duckmate of the Month centerfold Ms. Amy Quackton by artist John Byrne, an expose about Birds In Bondage, an excerpt from the controversial bestseller The Prisoner of the Ducks by Norman Mallard, The Playduck Review, The Playduck Adviser, and Wise Quacks.

Source: Kraalo Archives

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Ghost Rider #42 (March 1980)


Title: The Lonesome Death of Johnny Blaze!
Cover: Bob Budiansky, Bob Wiacek
Writer: Michael Fleisher
Penciler: Don Perlin
Inker: Don Perlin
Colors: Ben Sean
Letterer: Diana Albers
Editor: Dennis O’Neil
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: March 1980
Release Date: December 1979
Synopsis: Ghost Rider intervenes when he finds the same gang he fought last issue high jacking an armored car on a desert highway in the dead of night. The criminals try to escape in the armored car, but Ghost Rider catches up with the vehicle and heats it with hellfire until the villains open the doors. He extracts from them information on where to find their co-conspirators and leaves the two men quivering on the side of the road. Awaking the next morning, the still amnesiac Johnny Blaze reports for work and sees that his boss Ginia has been in a car wreck. He races to the scene of the accident in a car and pulls her from the flames in the nick of time, further endearing him to Gina and catching the attention of the crew with his driving skill. His co-worker Carl challenges him to a race and Blaze begrudgingly accepts, falling victim to the jealous man’s dirty tricks as he forces Blaze off the road and knocks him out with a crow bar. Blaze comes to with his memory back just as Carl pushes his car over a cliff, transforming to the Ghost Rider just in time to escape the fiery crash. Gina witnesses Carl’s attempted murder of Blaze and calls the police while Ghost Rider, having no memory of Blaze’s recent activity, races off to find the gang of hijackers. The Brimstone Biker lays waste to the gang and the issue ends with Blaze wondering what happened to him during the past two days and a heartbroken Gina wishing that her man would return to her.

 Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics

Fun and Games Marvel Poster No. 1 (March 1980)

Fun and Games Magazine #7 features a great double-page centerfold poster of Captain America alongside an impressive rogue's gallery by Owen McCarron who is clearly channeling his inner Jack Kirby or Herb Trimpe.  Click the image below to view a high-resolution scan of the poster.

Source: Kraalo Archives

Fun and Games #7 (March 1980)

Title: Fun and Games Magazine
Written, Drawn and Edited by Owen McCarron
Cover Price: $0.50
Cover Date: March 1980
Release Date: December 1980
Synopsis:  Puzzles!  Mazes!  Fun, Fun, Fun!

Source: Kraalo Archives

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Fantasy Masterpieces #4 (March 1980)


Title: The Good, The Bad, And The Uncanny
Cover: John Buscema
Writer: Stan Lee
Penciler: John Buscema
Inker: Sal Buscema
Letterer: Artie Simek
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.75
Cover Date: March 1980
Release Date: December 1979
Synopsis: Fantasy Masterpieces #4 reprints Silver Surfer #4 (February 1969) featuring one of the most awe-inspiring and iconic covers of the Silver Age.  In this issue, Loki tricks the Silver Surfer into fighting Thor after convincing the sentinel of the skyways that his brother is evil.  Loki boosts the Silver Surfer’s power and transports him to Asgard where he battles the Thunder God.  Eventually realizing that he has been duped by Loki, the Silver Surfer ends the battle and returns to earth.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics, Marvel Wikia

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Fantastic Four by John Byrne Omnibus Vol. 1 (2011)


Title: Fantastic Four by John Byrne Omnibus Vol. 1
Collection Editor: Mark Beazley
Format: Hardcover
Cover Price: $99.99
Release Date: November 9, 2011
ISBN #: 978-0-7851-5825-7
Synopsis: It was the world’s greatest comic magazine — again! Not since the days of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby had a creator so perfectly captured the intense mood, cosmic style and classic sense of adventure of Marvel’s First Family. Fresh off an earth-shattering and reputation-making run as penciler on UNCANNY X-MEN, John Byrne proved his writing talent was every bit the equal of his art as he pulled double-duty on FANTASTIC FOUR, launching Reed, Sue, Ben and Johnny into realms of imagination and wonder into which few creators before had dared to travel. From the four corners of the globe to the farthest reaches of space to the deepest depths of the Negative Zone, the FF face off against foes old and new — including the Dr. Doom, Galactus and Annihilus! Plus: The FF aid the Inhumans, bid farewell to the Baxter Building, don new costumes and celebrate their 20th anniversary in style as Byrne reminds us all there’s a family at the heart of this team of adventurers! Collecting MARVEL TEAM-UP (1972) #61-62; MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #50; FANTASTIC FOUR (1961) #215-218, #220-221, #232-262 and ANNUAL #17; PETER PARKER, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN (1976) #42; AVENGERS (1963) #233; THING (1983) #2; and ALPHA FLIGHT (1983) #4.

 Source: Marvel Comics

Fantastic Four #216 Splash Page Art

Fantastic Four #216 opens with a great scene of the Futurist creating panic in the streets as he airwalks through Times Square on the way to the Baxter Building. The splash page features a number of fun Easter Eggs, including the billboards for Epic Magazine and ROM and what appears to be a cameo of John Byrne himself in the lower right corner. And, unless I'm mistaken, the Coke billboard actually says "Cuba It's The Red Thing" instead of "Coke It's The Real Thing."

Source: The ComicArtFans Gallery of Sebo's Alley

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Support The Hero Initiative!

While The Avengers blows the roof off the box office this weekend, it’s timely to remember the important contribution of the writers and artists that paved the way for Hollywood’s success with comic book properties. Regrettably, many of the professionals that played a critical role in the creation of characters and the stories that made them fan favorites over the past 60+ years have no financial stake in the incredible success that the major publishers and movie studios are currently enjoying. Moreover, having worked as freelancers for their careers, many of  these creators find themselves destitute late in life with no health insurance and no financial safety net. Without taking sides on the legality or morality of the treatment of creators by the major publishers, I think we can all agree that there are plenty of comics professionals that need and deserve support. The Hero Initiative was founded with the specific goal of assisting comic creators in need of financial assistance. Since inception, the Hero Initiative has been able benefit over 50 creators and their families with over $500,000 worth of much-needed aid fueled by donations and sales of work contributed by artists and writers. So, whether you're a lifelong comics fan or have discovered the genre through cartoons and movies, please consider giving generously to the Hero Initiative in support of creators in need. You can donate directly on the Hero Initiative web site or bid in one of their auctions on eBay. It's a great move for a great cause either way!


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