Well over a year had passed since Steve Ditko quit Marvel, so this was certainly not a new illustration. The copy on the right, likely by Roy Thomas, only noted that Dr. Strange (who had been in every issue of MCIC) was squeezed out of the issue and the pin-up was a little extra. But where was this pin-up originally scheduled for? There are two possibilities. It may have been scheduled for an issue of Strange Tales around the time that pin-ups were included throughout the line, circa Jan 1965 cover-dated issues. A Ditko Dr. Stange pin-up appeared in Strange Tales # 128, and perhaps this pin-up was scheduled for the next issue but was squeezed out for an in-house ad (one appeared in ST # 129). It's also possible that the pin-up was meant to be used in Amazing Spider-Man Annual # 2, which co-starred Dr. Strange. Whatever the case, it's truly a wonderful piece of artwork by Mr. Ditko and a treat to be found in a reprint comic.
Marvel Collectors' Item Classics # 21, June 1969, included another treat, a pin-up of Medusa by a new kid on the block.
Only four months earlier, a British lad then simply named Barry Smith produced his first work in the states, in a crudely drawn issue of X-Men # 53. Smith already had work published in Marvel UK reprints, Terrific and Fantastic, mainly pin-ups, as can be seen by perusing Kid's blog:
Smith rapidly improved, and at the time of this Medusa illo was drawing fill-in issues of Daredevil. The pin-up may have been produced as a work sample for Marvel, but whatever its origin it is an attractively designed illustration.
Marvel's western line continued for many years, although primarily in reprint form from the 1970s on. New material included a run of Outlaw Kid, Gunhawks, Red Wolf and Rawhide Kid. In the late 1970's a number of new pin-ups were included in the back-pages of various westerns.
Gunhawk pin-up from Kid Colt, Outlaw # 227, Dec 1978
Gunhawk was a short lived western feature that appeared in the 25 cent Western Gunfighters in the early 1970s. The title featured new tales of the Ghost Rider, Tales of Fort Rango, The Renegades and Gunhawk, mixed with Apache Kid and Wyatt Earp reprints. The pin-up here has a signature of Al Hartley and Sal Buscema, but I believe the pencils are actually by Werner Roth. Doing some research I discovered something interesting. Looking at the splash of the first Gunhawk tale, that stories credits read: Jerry Siegel (who did a litle work for Marvel in this period), writer, Werner Roth artist and Sal Buscema inks. The splash page, however, is drawn by Herb Trimpe, with lettering by Morrie Kuramoto, while the rest of the story is lettered by Jean Izzo. Apparently Roth's splash page was not considered dramatic enough, and Herb Trimpe produced a new splash. I suspect that someone found the unused splash page by Werner Roth and mis-credited the drawing to Hartley (I also don't believe Hartley was working for Marvel in 1970). The bottom copy reads: "Number six in a series--collect them all!!" Over on the Marvel Masterworks site you can see all the pin-ups, thanks to Turncoat. A few are taken from cover images, but there is new work by Arvell Jones and Keith Pollard (The Night Rider) and a very attractive Kid Colt pin-up by Alan Weiss!
Gil Kane pin-up from Rawhide Kid # 141, Sept 1977
Gil Kane produced a plethora of compelling, dynamic covers for Marvel's western reprints throughout the 1970s. I'm not 100% certain if this is a new drawing or one taken from one of his covers, so if anyone knows for sure please let me know. Kane's Rawhide Kid was a tough looking hombre, very much in the Jack Kirby mold.
Two-Gun Kid # 136, April 1977
Paty Greer Cockrum worked for Marvel's production department for many years beginning in the 1970s, coloring and occasionally pencilling. Here she contributes a drawing on the Two-Gun Kid in his final issue.
Kid Colt, Outlaw # 218, June 1977
A 21 year old John Romita, Jr. penciled this Kid Colt pin-up, inked by John Tartaglione. Romita Jr.learned his craft from his father and other greats like Jack Kirby, including strong storytelling techniques. He has drawn many comics over the decades, including Iron-Man, Daredevil, X-Men and Spider-Man.
Sub-Mariner King-Size Special # 1, Jan 1971
Finally, we close out with a real treat, a Bill Everett pin-up of a young Namor, included in the first Sub-Mariner Special, which featured reprints of Lee-Colan Sub-Mariner stories from Tales to Astonish. Other pin-ups were images taken from different stories, but this was new artwork. Was this originally intended for inclusion in Subby's comic? Copy possibly by Roy Thomas.
Are there more treasures to be uncovered in the back-pages of Marvel's reprints??
Batmite has showcased an excellent array of pin-ups and special features over on the Marvel Masterworks site. Check it out: