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Friday, February 23, 2024

Top Tens: Frank Brunner

Frank Brunners first venture into comics was as an artist and writer for “Web of Horror” (Major Publications) before moving to Warren where he worked on their “Creepy”, “Eerie” and “Vampirella” titles. However, it was at Marvel where I first came across Brunners work in the 4th issue of the re-launched “Doctor Strange , Master of the Mystic Arts" title in 1974. Although that would be the last US issue of this comic that I would see for a few years, I was fortunate enough to read his excellent Dr Strange strips when it was reprinted a few years later in UK Marvels weekly titles “Avengers” & “Super Spider-Man” starting from his first Dr Strange work in Marvel Premiere. Although Brunners comic strip career was relatively short he worked on some of Marvel’s best comics and produced some of their most striking covers of the 1970s - some of my favourites are shown below.
"Howard the Duck" - #2 - March 1976 - Along with his work on Dr Strange, Howard the Duck contains my favourite Brunner art. Although he only drew two issues of Howards own comic along with a couple of strips in "Giant Sized Man-Thing" his artwork is fun, adventurous and exciting without ever becoming overly cartoony. You can see some of Franks art from "Howard the Duck" #1 here.
Red Sonja #12 - Cover art only - November 1978
Ka-Zar #4 - Cover art only - July 1974 - This is a pretty poor issue of Ka-Zar that featured some of Don Hecks poorest art.
Supernatural Thrillers # 11 - February 1975 - Cover art only - My most recent back-issue purchase from last week based only on Brunners amazing cover (and perhaps the cover price of only £3).
Journey into Fear #17 - October 1973 - Cover art only.
Unknown Worlds of Science Fiction #6 - December 1975 - Cover art only - Brunner painted a few covers for Marvel's monthly titles including "Savage Sword of Conan"
Giant Sized Man-Thing #4 - May 1974 - Cover art by Brunner.This issue also featured the first solo tale of "Howard the Duck" by Brunner and Stever Gerber.
Marvel Premiere # 12 -August 1973 - Cover by Brunner with internal art by Brunner/Crusty Bunkers. Marvel Premiere # 9 at header - July 1973 - with internal art by Brunner and Ernie Chua. As noted above my first (and favourite) Frank Brunner comic was "Dr Strange Master of the Mystic Arts" #4 - you can see some pages here.
Super-Team Family # 3 - February 1976 - Cover art only - I think this may have been Brunners only DC cover.
Cover from Grand Comic database.
Brunner has for the most part now left the world of comics and now focuses on producing commissions, the occassional comic book cover for companies like Dynamite, and fine print portfolios - the above painting is taken from Heritage Auctions.

8 comments:

  1. Frank Brunner's run on Doctor Strange is awesome! His sexy Alice in Wonderland portfolio images are stunning (and naughty). Here's a link to get a glimpse:

    https://fantasy-ink.blogspot.com/2011/07/frank-brunners-alice-in-wonderland.html

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  2. His Dr Strange was one of those books that just hit all those comic book sweet spots for me and was instrumental in hooking me on comics. Thanks for the link, I haven't seen these before , amazing work

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  3. I wasn't a huge fan of his work, but there's no doubt that it was nice. It was more 'illustration' to me than the usual comicbook art, and it did the job without having the 'magic' (npi) that John Buscema could imbue his art with. Back in the early '80s. Marvel published a Baxter Special containing the first four (I think) Dr. Strange stories he drew, which I have. (The Special, not the individual issues.)

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    1. I don't think I ever saw that special edition Kid. I only need issue 14 of Marvel Premiere to complete my run of the original Brunner series now . Maybe Brunner didnt have the same magic as big John ( who did?) but for me, his art/layouts etc especially on this series was pure "magic"

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  4. Incidentally, McS, you can remove Pete Hale's blog from your sidebar as it doesn't exist anymore. The link goes to a page telling you that it's gone.

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    1. Cheers I 'll delete that later . It's not a blog I really read I just added it as Pete asked.

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  5. I must confess that I'm insufficiently familiar with Frank Brunner's work to be able to identify his style. Of the comics you've highlighted I did however have the Unknown Worlds of Science Fiction, with that superb painted cover of Michael Moorcock's "Behold The Man'.
    Your comment about Ka-Zar #4 featuring some of Don Heck's poorest art makes me want to rush out and find a copy! I could never figure why Don Heck got so much work at both DC and Marvel in the 70s. He could probaby churn it out reliably, but I was not a fan of his sketchy, scratchy style.

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  6. Ka-Zar 3, 4 and 5 for me contains some of Dons worst Marvel art, annoyingmy all 3 covers (Romita, Brunner and Kane) are excellent and tempted me to buy them lol Don wasn't a "barbarian" type artist and this shows in his art -. I'm not a Heck "basher" as I really enjoyed his early Avengers and some of his Iron Man comics but like yourself I was amazed he got so much work at DC on some of their top titles like JLA ,Wonder Woman and the Flash.

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