Random Basement Comics

Here’s another entry by Jason F. Smith. It seems he’s got the digging-for-gold-or-bust Jonesing that I got with that stupid long box of 1990s horrors.  Have a go, Brother Jason!

Guest Contributor, Jason F. Smith

Inspired by Comics A-Go-Go!’s July 6th, 2013 Post entitled Shades of Comics-Cons I went to the basement and randomly pulled four boxes of comics and four comics from them. The pull was quite interesting. I’ll go through them.

First up, DC Comics Doom Patrol #108, from December 1966. – I had to do a little research, because the comic doesn’t credit who wrote or drew it. It appears to have been written by Arnold Drake and Bob Haney, with art by Bruno Premiani. The first run of the comic ended in 1968 when DC cancelled it and Drake killed everyone off. It started by converting itself from a comic called My Greatest Adventure into The Doom Patrol (starting with issue #86). This issue’s story was pretty uninspiring. I can see why they eventually cancelled it.

Doom Patrol #108

Next up, The Defenders 102, from December 1981 – Story by J.M. DeMatteis and Art by Perlin, Sinnott, Trapani & Abel.  Lovable Jim Shooter is Editor in Chief!

The Defenders (Marvel Comics) #102

The next one I randomly pulled was Mage 13, from June 1986 by Matt Wagner.  (This should make Comics Go-Go happy! [editorial comment: yes, it does!])

Mage: The Hero Discovered #13

Finally, I pulled Fantastic Four #71!  Which still has my old sale price sticker of $30.00. I just looked it up and it’s gone down to around $25.00.  Boo!  It’s by  Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and February 1968!  Hell that was before I was born!  This was a fun issue to revisit.

Fantastic Four #71

Spotlight: Art by Sam Kieth

Mage by Matt Wagner and Sam Kieth

Sam Kieth inked Mage #7, the first comic book we ever bought.

One of my favorite artists is Sam Kieth. He was actually one of the very first comic book creators I stumbled upon when I was introduced to comics in college. Sam was the inker on Mage: The Hero Discovered by Matt Wagner, the first comic book I bought for myself after reading a bunch out of a box that a friend had. There’s a night and day difference between Matt’s own inks and Sam Kieth’s contribution that started in issue #6. Matt’s artwork is more primitive with his own inks, but Sam adds a layer of unusual shadowing and fine brushstrokes that makes the art pop.

The Maxx by Sam KiethAmong his many credits, Sam Kieth is also the creator and artist for the Maxx character from Image, several DC and Marvel stories (including artwork for Sandman stories by Niel Gaiman)m, and the artist on the Batman: Secrets mini-series published in 2006 (which we’re highlighting here). An anthology of his artwork was released earlier this year by IDW and he is currently the artist on The Hollows, a post apocalyptic story set in near-future Japan. By the way, take a look at the black and white statuette based on Sam’s characterization of the Batman.

The Hollows, art by Sam Kieth

The latest artwork by Sam Kieth

Sam Kieth: Batman Secrets

Batman: Secrets is a 5 issue mini-series that tells the tale of a brutal altercation between Batman and The Joker all under the frenzied eye of the media. The Joker knows a secret from Batman’s past and is threatening to expose it. The fourth estate (or maybe fifth column) goes viciously after The Batman decrying his behavior and Joker plays upon that … etc. Go buy the compendium or the individual issues. It’s worth it if you love Sam’s art.

Batman and Joker by Sam Kieth

Batman: Secrets internal artwork

Batman: Secrets by Sam Kieth, artwork for #3

Batman: Secrets, Sam Kieth artwork #1

Sam Kieth, panting of The Batman

Sam was the cover and interior artist on the fantastic Wolverine/Cyber story in Marvel Comics Presents (issues #85-92, written by Peter David). Just like his characterization of Batman, Sam’s version of Wolverine is one of the craziest I’ve ever seen.

Marvel Comics Presents #85: alt= Marvel Comics Presents #86: Blood Hungry art by Sam Kieth
Marvel Comics Presents #87: alt= Marvel Comics Presents #88: Blood Hungry art by Sam Kieth
Marvel Comics Presents #89: alt= Marvel Comics Presents #90: Blood Hungry art by Sam Kieth
Marvel Comics Presents #87: alt= Marvel Comics Presents #92: Blood Hungry art by Sam Kieth

Here’s are two versions of issue #100 by Sam Kieth featuring Wolverine and Ghost Rider on a funny cover. One version was on each side of the flip comic book. Which is your favorite?

Marvel Comics Presents #100, version #1 Marvel Comics Presents #100, version 2

OK, now go visit Sam Kieth’s blog for more fantastic art and information about the crazy mind that creates these concoctions.

Sam Kieth, artist

Awesome Red Comic Book Covers, because … why not?

The color RedWe like red. There, we’ve said it. Out of the bag, it is.  Here are some of our favorite comic book covers that are soaked in red. What a beautiful color.

Amazing Spider-man #50: Iconic image. Our pick for best Spider-man cover. Yes, ever. What’s inside? 1st appearance of Kingpin and a soul searching that leads Peter Parker to throw away his suit and figure he is done with vigilantism for good.  Of course, he is sucked back in because — “WITH GREAT POWER COMES GREAT RESPONSIBILITY!”

Amazing Spider-man

The Avengers #57: Pretty much as red as you can get. No other colors on this cover other than black and white and they only serve as shadow and light respectively. What’s inside? The 1st appearance of The Vision (who is a very cool character … most of the time).

First appearance of The VIsion

Frank Miller’s Ronin # 1: Frank Miller’s art took a weird turn in Ronin. His personal project was pretty far out there compared to the more mainstream work he had done on Daredevil. We were already fans when we picked up Ronin as back issues because The Dark Knight Returns had just come out and we wanted to find anything by Frank that we could get our hands on. Anyway, besides the billowing eastern get-up, we like the look of this cover with all the thatching and, of course, the wonder color red.

Frank Miller, comic book

Mage: The Hero Discovered #10: Issue number 7 of Mage was the first comic book we ever bought. The maxi-series is still one of our favorites. The technology today is so much more advanced than in 1985, but the vibrancy of the four-color printing on Baxter paper that was the rage in the 1980s blew us away. This issue also has a lot of red in it and for that we are grateful.

Matt Wagner, Comico, and Mage

Punisher War Zone #1: The 1990s was the Dreadful Decade of the Gimmick. We will write a future post on that but suffice it to say that after a fantastic run of experimental, creator-driven stories and art in the 1980s, the early 1990s were all about the collectability side of the comic book hobby. Pure garbage was coming out right and left and in order to hook the consumer, comic book publishers turned to technologies that were already making an impact on the ugly step-sister of the collectibles hobby (sports cards) for flash and pizzazz that they hoped would compensate for the terrible stories inside. Covers often became the only reason to buy a comic book. Chromium and lenticular surfaces were big “wows” as were die cuts like this comic. Of course, the prices jumped like crazy for the increasingly not-so-special “special” books. The $2.25 price tag on this issue was a dollar more than the average cover price in 1992 when this was released. That was a lot back then. Anyway, we have to admit we really liked this cover. Still do.

The Punisher War Zone (1992 series)

Mister X Volume 3 #4: This comic book came to our attention because we had fallen in love with Stig’s Inferno and since Vortex was the publisher of both, there was an ad for Mister X in one of the Inferno issues. It was some of the most stylish stuff we’d seen to date and the covers were fantastic. Later, the rights to the series migrated to Caliber Comics. We bought those issues but still haven’t read them – no idea why, just haven’t. Anyway, this is one of many good covers and it’s also our favorite of the outstanding red ones (Volume 1 #1 and Volume 1 #12 (the later of which is our favorite cover overall by creator Dean Motter) are also fantastic). Take a look at all of the covers in this gallery.

Mister X in Caliber Comics

Rocketeer Adventures #2: This is a reprint of Dave Stevens’ fan-favorite comic book from the 1980s. We love the art, the stories, and we are even proud to admit we love the Rocketeer movie (even though it was Disney-fied). This gorgeous Art Deco cover demonstrates why the Rocketeer is a comic worth admiring.

IDW publisher, Rocketeer

So, there you have it. This was just a small snapshot of some fantastic red-colored covers that we love. Which one do you like best? You’re welcome to comment on other red covers you really like.

Thank you and good night!