Favourite Covers (and story illustrations)

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philcom55
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Favourite Covers (and story illustrations)

Post by philcom55 »

Following from a recent discussion of artists like Ian Mackay who specialized in covers and text story illustrations rather than strip work I thought it'd be interesting to start a thread on these single, dramatic images. To begin with here's a 1962 cover that impressed me because of its SF theme and similarity to the look of certain American comic-books: in particular I loved the way in which its slanting 'Rover and Adventure' masthead looked so much like Julius Schwartz's Strange Adventures logo (in addition to which it's one of the few examples I can think of where the title of a comic that was 'swallowed' by a more successful stablemate was inititially given more space on the cover).

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Incidentally I'm not sure of the artist in this case but I'm guessing it's the work of Ian Kennedy.

- Phil Rushton

Kashgar
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Re: Favourite Covers (and story illustrations)

Post by Kashgar »

Most definitely Ian Kennedy. This was one of six 'Rover and Adventure' covers he did in 1962. All the rest were done by Ron Smith.
As a kid I remember being particularly fascinated by DC titles like 'Strange Adventures' as they never seemed to make it into any of the local newsagents so I would sit transfixed if ever a cover was used as advert in any of the more readily available titles eg Superman, World's Finest, Adventure, Detective etc wondering what I was missing. (Weirdly the DC title 'From Beyond the Unknown' from the late 1960's early 1970's, which was basically a 'Best of Strange Adventures' reprint title seemed thankfully to redress the balance and always be available).
And I still remember reading the what's available this month DC feature 'Direct Currents' and being mesmerised by the thought of such unheard of exotica as 'The Sea Devils'.

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Black Max
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Re: Favourite Covers (and story illustrations)

Post by Black Max »

By a HUGE majority, my all-time classic British cover.
It was so unlike the other annual covers of the time, ditto the strips inside. It's the only annual that i own that i've kept from my childhood and not had to rebuy on eBay - hence the tatty state.
And the reason i kept it is that i cherish it so, so much.

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Its an odd annual as Pow the comic was a collection of American reprints, but this annual has stand alone tales of characters that, as far as i've been able to find out, were created for this publication and were never seen again.
I can see why - many of them were blatent rip-offs of existing characters.

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Here are the opening two pages which give a guide to whos who (along with my 9 year old ratings). Lets see who we have. Left page first:

"Aquavenger". A mix of Aquaman and Shazam. I rated him 1'st.

"Norstad". A strange strip this. Norstad is the bad guy, and not a very smart one. Rated 4th.

"Electro". Well, its Electro, but a goodie. He comes 5th.

"Kash Pearce". A time travelling cowboy riding a robot horse. Yes really. I not suprisingly didn't rate him.

"Magno". Magneto dressed up in a mix of Captain America and Thor's outfit. He's 2nd.

Right page:
"Chet Blair". An American Indian who at night dons this lovely outfit to fight crime. 8th.

"Marksman". Very odd - in skills he predates the Punisher, and there's similarities to Bullseye costume too. He's third.

"Mr Tomorrow". Basically Lex Luthor from the future come back to 1971. And he's 9th.

"Crag Taylor". Very dull. Only his name is interesting. But back then i made him 6th????

"The Phantom". Lovely dark artwork of a very Diabolik character. Comes 7th

All making for a huegly entertaining read, both then and now.

Which is why i chose it.


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philcom55
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Re: Favourite Covers (and story illustrations)

Post by philcom55 »

Having just acquired this 1963 issue of Buster cover-featuring 'The Shrinker' - a classic villain who starred in five separate adventures (some of which were later reprinted in Valiant ) - I thought I'd revive this thread to showcase his original artist, the great Mike Western.

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Though Fleetway/IPC employed many foreign adventure artists during the 1960s they generally relied on British ones to produce the covers for their weekly comics such as Lion, Valiant, Smash!, etc. Amongst these home-grown artists were three in particular who, over the years, drew more than all the others put together: Geoff Campion, Eric Bradbury and Mike Western. In fact, each of these workhorses seemed so omnipresent at times that many readers were inclined to overlook them in favour of artists with more 'sophisticated' styles - yet editors valued them above all others for their instinctive ability to tell a story clearly and dramatically. The key to any cover by Campion, Bradbury or Western was that it immediately grabbed your attention and made you want to read on...

In spite of the many 'Science Fiction Disaster' strips he drew for Buster during its early, oversized days (not to mention various features for Knockout and TV Express ), Mike Western is probably most closely associated with Valiant - a title where he illustrated 'The Wild Wonders' for many years, as well as becoming the regular cover artist. Later on, of course, he worked on some memorable series for Battle, as well as returning to Buster for 'The Leopard of Lime Street'.

Here, then, are just a few more of Mike's distinctive covers which show why he was so sought-after by editors and writers alike:

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Though this post only scratches the surface of Mike's legacy the good news is that comics polymath Steve Holland is, even now, hard at work on a book devoted to this fine artist. I urge all Mike Western fans to keep an eye on Steve's excellent 'Bear Alley' site for further details.

- Phil Rushton

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ISPYSHHHGUY
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Re: Favourite Covers (and story illustrations)

Post by ISPYSHHHGUY »

,Mike 'does it' for me, Phil: very direct, hard-hitting and impressive stuff......what every comics strip artist should aspire to.

Many thanks for showing us these epic works.
Last edited by ISPYSHHHGUY on 18 Jul 2011, 20:22, edited 1 time in total.

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Peter Gray
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Re: Favourite Covers (and story illustrations)

Post by Peter Gray »

Love the creepy hands coming out of the jail...quite a shocker...
glad Bear Alley is going to do this..

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Re: Favourite Covers (and story illustrations)

Post by Asger »

I remember that Sexton Blake-cover from Danish Serie-Magasinet, which printed loads of British comics in the late 60ies and 70ies. Still have them all.
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philcom55
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Re: Favourite Covers (and story illustrations)

Post by philcom55 »

Some more Mike Western covers including Biggles for TV Express, Charley's War and the last hurrah of Darkie's Mob from Battle and the first issue of Scorcher.

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Though he could move effortlessly from science fiction to war to westerns to sports strips, it's noticeable that Mike rarely got a chance to draw female characters. In spite of being typecast in this way, however, he was undoubtedly one of Fleetway's pre-eminent visualizers of boys' adventure stories during the 1960s and 1970s.

- Phil Rushton

dreamticket
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Re: Favourite Covers (and story illustrations)

Post by dreamticket »

Here's one from the front cover of The Wizard (dated 15/12/1973) I wanted help with. It looks like Ian Kennedy, but could also be Jim Watson. What does anybody else think?

I wanted to add another, but it got turned down because it was over 300kb -- is there anyway around this? It's not always possible to shrink a file further.
Wizard_15_Dec_1973.jpg

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Digifiend
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Re: Favourite Covers (and story illustrations)

Post by Digifiend »

Either upload it to Photobucket or some other hosting service, or shrink the image. I'd suggest changing the file format, but PNG files are larger than JPG and GIF would lose too much colour accuracy.

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Re: Favourite Covers (and story illustrations)

Post by Phoenix »

dreamticket wrote:I wanted to add another, but it got turned down because it was over 300kb -- is there anyway around this? It's not always possible to shrink a file further.
There's nothing wrong with saving your scans as jpg files, dreamticket. My scanned pictures are similar in size to yours when uploaded. I reduce all my scans to 750 pixels high for portraits, or wide if the orientation of the scan is landscape. The width for portraits, or the height for landscapes, must, of course, be set to adjust themselves automatically. The result of doing this is an uploaded image much the same as yours, and users will be able to click on it to increase it to a comfortably readable size.

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-MikeD-
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Re: Favourite Covers (and story illustrations)

Post by -MikeD- »

dreamticket wrote:Here's one from the front cover of The Wizard (dated 15/12/1973) I wanted help with. It looks like Ian Kennedy, but could also be Jim Watson. What does anybody else think?
Judging by the lines on the clothing, I'd say Kennedy, but you're right...it is pretty atypical, and the figure poses veer more towards Watson. It may have been a rush job?
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stevezodiac
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Re: Favourite Covers (and story illustrations)

Post by stevezodiac »

My favourite cover is the Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD cover with Nick floating in space above the Earth - Steranko of course. Don't have the comic to hand i'm afraid. And I mustn't forget the first Marvel comic I ever bought Amazing Spider-Man 50.

dreamticket
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Re: Favourite Covers (and story illustrations)

Post by dreamticket »

This is the image I tried to upload last time:
wizard7-7-73.jpg
I still think it's Kennedy, but the content makes me think it could be Watson, who seemed to do quite a few stories with naval subjects (at least, he did a run on Drake of Malta in Warlord).

Both images are covers, and both illustrate text stories continued on the inside.

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