Last Updated June 10, 2005
To see a
larger version of any artwork on these pages, click on the picture
on did twenty stories for DC in 1982, a dozen of those
were Batman stories, and a half-dozen of those were SHAZAM! stories. Don was feeling in a
rut. Batman and his beloved Captain Marvel had consumed him artistically the whole of
the previous year at DC (he did do an Avengers in 1981 for Marvel). Don
requested something different from DC to add some spice to his work and he got it,
Don opened 1982 with backup stories in Green Lantern
#148 (January) and #149 (February). For Green Lantern
#148 Don penciled an untitled 8-page Green Lantern Corps
story written by Paul Kupperberg and inked by Dan Adkins. This story has
a little bit of everything in it: space battles, Guardians, alien civilizations,
everything, except humans. It features the adventures of Ch'p from the planet
H'lven. Ch'p is a kind of rodent/rat/hamster type of creature, but a Green
Lantern none the less. I was a little disappointed at first that Earth's Green
Lantern was not involved, but I got over it and enjoyed the wonderful story and
Green Lantern #149 again took us down an
unexpected alley. Paul Kupperberg once more provided the writing and Dan Adkins again
handled the inks on an eight-page western entitled "Earth's First Green
Lantern." Not only does this story redefine the history of the Green
Lanterns on Earth, altering the Earth/Abin Sur timeline, it also features what I
believe to be Don's only professional western comic art. Now that is a shame,
for Don had shown his abilities in this area as a fan with the publication of
his High Dawn portfolios in The Collector . There
is a richness to the art, a depth of detail that you do not see in most western
comic art. Search this book out for a real treat.
Here is a look at the Green Lantern of H'lven, Ch'p. Don did a
wonderful job on the rodent Green Lantern and the Guardian of
This gives you a good look at Ch'p in
action and a look at the Berrith, sworn enimies of Ch'p's
is a really great opening page. Don gives you the feel of the old west
and then shatters it with the appearance of Abin Sur's space
Not only do we get some wonderful
western art here, but finally a human Green Lantern by Don
It would be two years before Don returned to Green Lantern,
producing his final Green Lantern piece and the only art at DC that Don penciled
However, while at DC Don did a
cover for Batman #356 that for one reason or another was rejected by DC.
Jay Willson remembers that, "Don was attempting to do more covers for DC,
but not succeeding too well. Ed Hannigan designed all of the covers in those
days and he didn't like it, from what I remember." I thought this page was
penciled and inked by Don but Jay informs me that what you are looking at is
Don's pencils. The rejected cover finally saw print as the back cover of The Comic Reader
#205, July 1982.
pencils are so very tight on this rejected cover from Batman #356 that was
finally printed as the back cover to the Comic Reader #205.
here are Don's amazing
pencils for the
rejected cover from Batman #356
Newton fan extraordinaire, Steve
Frank Chiaramonte was always a
hit and miss inker for Don. When he missed, he could miss badly, but when he
hit, it may have been the closest thing to Don inking himself. Don's first
Batman story of 1982 appeared in Detective #511 and it's one of those rare
issues where everyone hit a homer. Chiaramonte's inks are brilliant in this
issue, bringing out all the amazing detail in Don's pencils. Colorist Adrienne
Roy could at times phone in here coloring job, but this issue shows why she was
given the plumb assignment of Batman; moody, striking and evocative, her colors
enhance the pencils and the inks. I think this is one of the great Don Newton
Batman issues, and I want to share as much of it with you as I can without
stepping on any feet at DC.
Here we are introduced to the villain Mirage. Great settings, tight story-
telling and some great inks and colors make this page a joy.
Newton anatomy highlight this page. But it is the grounding of the
fantastic with the realistic human faces that make it effective.
Don Newton's Alfred is the definitive Alfred. It's scenes like this
that bring such a wide variety of expressions to his face that made
him so real.
Thorne is a revelation, a man of power and madness.
think that Don did the definitive Commissioner Gordon. A wonderful night
scene shot for the most part using only the light from the Bat signal.
Robin was better than most, a real teen wonder. I love the dark scenes
in the Batcave. Chiaramonte's inks are
really superb throughout this issue
faces, dynamic lighting, beautiful hands, terrific lighting, and that
wonderful Newton anatomy. What more could you need?
Newton climax, artfully staged, beautifully lit, and wonderfully
colored by Adrienne Roy.
There is something else
interesting about this issue. In it Don does something I never saw him do
before, or after actually; Don swipes from another artist! Really! Pages 19 and
20 of this issue have swipes from the Neal Adams' drawn issue #82 of The
Brave and the Bold starring Batman and Aquaman. I'm sure Don was just
looking for examples of a giant octopus and hammerhead shark and remembered the
issue. But these two pages also contain three figures directly lifted from the
same issue. Like I said, I never saw Don swipe from another artist before, but
he sure did it here.
Comics 1981 DC Comics Home DC Comics 1983
Captain Marvel, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Hawkman, The New Gods, Robin, The Star Hunters
and all associated characters are copyright 2002 by DC Comics.
The Art of Don Newton
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