« Herbal tea. My own recipe.
It’s added years to my life.
May I offer you a cup? »
After producing some exceptionally solid fan art (chiefly for the long-lived Rocket’s Blast Comicollector (153 issues, 1961-1985), Arizona art teacher Don Newton made his jump into the pro leagues in 1974 with Charlton, where he got his chance to show off his considerable painting skills. After a handful of mystery stories, he took over Charlton’s version of Lee Falk and Ray Moore‘s The Phantom, which he drew for six issues (and one cover) before the title was cancelled… along with the rest of Charlton’s original comics line, really.
Newton would go on to DC (and a couple of brief dalliances with Marvel), illustrating Batman, Captain Marvel (er, “Shazam!”), Aquaman, Star Hunters, and The New Gods for DC, before being, all too soon, felled by a heart attack at the age of 49. Most of the time, though, he provided great art to ho-hum stories.
Against all odds, around 1982, scripter Gerry Conway, a name synonymous with half-assed, content-free hackwork since the early ’70s, actually blossomed into a decent writer. Fortuitously, while assigned to pencil Batman’s adventures in Detective Comics, Newton was paired with prolific* Filipino legend Alfredo Alcala, and the stars were in proper alignment. You won’t have to take my word for it, however. Feast your eyes on the palpable ambiance from the Conway-Newton-Alcala trio.
*How prolific was Alcala? « It is said that his fastest page rate was twelve pages in a nine-hour sitting. » And the scary thing is that it hardly ever looked rushed or less than committed, unlike the work of some other inkers we could name. What a guy.