June 24, 2020


S. Ditko, "Why I Quit S-M, Marvel", 2015

Apparently now available from SD Publishing is THE COMPLETE FOUR-PAGE SERIES AND OTHER ESSAYS, an 80-page collection featuring the nine issue series of essays by Ditko published from 2012 to 2015 and twenty other essays from among the many to choose from.
Available from various sellers, use the ISBN codes:
ISBN-10: 1945307269
ISBN-13: 978-1945307263

And I assume Robin Snyder will have copies available, especially if you're picking up other SD Publishing books.

Here are the 45 essays as published in the original nine issue series (* numbering assumed for unnumbered essays)

#1*:  The Knowers & the Barkers [FPS#1]
#2*:  The Silent Self-Deceivers [FPS#1]
#3*:  A Newspaper Article, A Reporter's Report [FPS#1]
#4*:  A Deadly Fantasy [FPS#1]
#5*:  Why Out Of Their Way? [FPS#1]
#6*: Circle The Mind [FPS#2]
#7*: The Fixated Negative [FPS#2]
#8*: For/Against One's Best Interest? [FPS#2]
#9: An Eternal Truth, Lesson Rejected [FPS#3]
#10: The Fantasy Lifters [FPS#3]
#11*: LINT [FPS#2]
#12: For Good Or Ill [FPS#3]
#13: Tsk! — The Still Unreachable — Tsk! [FPS#3]
#14: Labels And Labelers [FPS#4]
#15: Wants/Needs Shortchanged [FPS#9]
#16*: Honoring Or Dishonoring [FPS#2]
#17: …To The Last Drop [FPS#3]
#18: Anti-Ditko 'Fans' [FPS#3]
#19: Action/Reaction And The Self-Claimed, Self-Creators [FPS#4]
#20: Out Of Their Way [FPS#9]
#21: How Dare He! [FPS#4]
#22: He Should Have X@*#! Done... [FPS#8]
#23: The Intolerable Other [FPS#6]
#24: The Eternally Fixated [FPS#5]
#25: Choice: Either/Or [FPS#5]
#26: 4 tHe knot 2 BritE, rite [FPS#5]
#27: The Movers And The Freezers [FPS#4]
#28: Red Flag [FPS#6]
#29: Too Late [FPS#4]
#30: Repeater, Spreader, Reinforcer [FPS#6]
#31: Copycat Mind [FPS#8]
#32: With Everyone, A Free-Will Choice [FPS#5]
#33: X's 'Idea' [FPS#6]
#34: Memory [FPS#5]
#35: FP: Comic Book Fan Packs [FPS#6]
#36: CC: The Caller and the Called [FPS#6]
#37: Start & Finish [FPS#6]
#38: Correct, Corrector, Corrections [FPS#8]
#40: The Chosen Grey Mind [FPS#7]
#41: A Cure Or The Actual Disease? [FPS#7]
#42 [FPS#8]
#43: The 1st New York City Comic Book Convention [FPS#7]
#44: Foolish Fans [FPS#9]
#45: Why I Quit S-M, Marvel [FPS#9]
#46: Either/Or [FPS#9]

June 21, 2020

Dennis O'Neil, R.I.P.

Wanted to note the passing of Dennis O'Neil, long time comic book writer and editor with a long list of accomplishments. Among other things, he worked with Ditko several times over the years (as well as doing a lot of notable work on characters Ditko created).

Early in his career, O'Neil scripted the last two published Doctor Strange stories by Ditko over in STRANGE TALES, which I thought were pretty good.  Shortly after that he was also working at Charlton under the pen-name "Sergius O'Shaugnessy", and Ditko drew at least two of O'Neil's stories (a lot of stories in that era have no credits, so there might be more with both of them).  One credited one is the middle chapter of a time travel epic in SPACE ADVENTURES #2 [1968], in between chapters by Jim Aparo and Pat Boyette, which is a pretty great selection of artists.  The other one is uncredited originally, but credited in a later letter column and in the SD Publishing reprint, an entertaining horror story hosted by Mr. Dedd appearing in GHOSTLY TALES #69 [1968].  Around the same time O'Neil was brought over to DC by editor Dick Giordano, where one of his first assignments was scripting Ditko's BEWARE THE CREEPER series following the SHOWCASE story scripted by Don Segall. And then years later, back at Marvel, Ditko drew most of O'Neil's story in IRON MAN #160 [1982], which had some fun scenes (there's some interesting behind the scenes on Ditko not drawing the splash page, but that's for another post).

(I post about some of O'Neil's other work here and here)

June 18, 2020

New & Upcoming Ditko - THE RETURN OF GORGO #31 and GHOSTLY TALES


The latest SD Comics release is now available, THE RETURN OF GORGO #31. Headlining the issue is the second issue of the series from 1961, a 30-page epic by Joe Gill and Steve Ditko. Also included are a trio of 1950s short stories with some compatible themes, all stories in full colour. Plus a short essay by Ditko and some letters. Should be available now from the usual sources.

And the next SD Comics Kickstarter is currently running, and features the return of the Charlton title GHOSTLY TALES, where Ditko's work appeared regularly from 1966 to 1977, with a cover from another title Ditko appeared in often in that era, THE MANY GHOSTS OF DOCTOR GRAVES. Ditko did over 200 stories for various Charlton horror anthology titles in that decade-plus, so there's a lot to choose from. Bit late on announcing it here, I'm sorry to say, but still over a week to go and it's already almost made the minimum funding goal.

March 23, 2020

New & Upcoming Ditko - THE HERO COMICS #30 and GORGO

The latest SD Comics release is now available, THE HERO COMICS #30. Headlining the issue is some 1960s Captain Atom from Joe Gill and Steve Ditko, originally published by Charlton, with two stories reprinted in colour. Also included are some Captain Atom rarities by Ditko (fanzine art, etc.) and some of Ditko's independent work from different eras, including The Void from the 1970s, The Corrector from the 1980s and The Hero from 2010, plus a few surprises. Should be available now from the usual sources.

And the next SD Comics Kickstarter is currently running, and features the movie monster Gorgo who occupied much of Ditko's creative time from 1961-1963. Bit late on announcing it here, I'm sorry to say, but still over a week to go and it's already made the minimum funding goal.

November 30, 2019

New & Upcoming Ditko - THE HERO COMICS #29 and OVERTURE

Latest Ditko release is under the Famous Comics label and titled THE HERO COMICS #29. The cover feature is Blue Beetle, highlighting a reprint of the 1968 Charlton comic by BLUE BEETLE #5 by Ditko, both the lead story and the Question backup. Also in this issue are some other Blue Beetle material, including an expansion of the look at the history of the character and the proposed 1980s revival of the character by Snyder and Ditko at DC. Also some short reprints of Ditko's Mr. A and The Hero and a short essay "Could/Should". Should be available now from all the usual sources.

Also now available is the collection of the first five 32-Page Series issues, THE 32 SERIES BY DITKO VOL. I - OVERTURE. The fifth and final collection, CURTAIN, should wrap up the series soon.

The next Kickstarter from Robin Snyder is also up now, which will feature some more Charlton Action Hero content in the form of some Captain Atom and no doubt a lot more in 48 pages.

September 30, 2019

World's Finest Comics #251 [1978]

Part of a short run of Creeper stories Ditko wrote and drew and in the late 1970s, which saw Jack Ryder as the head of a security team at Cosmic Broadcasting, this time tasked with foiling an extortion scheme led by a masked figure who gives the 8-page story its name, "The Disrupter".

Ditko did a lot of interesting slapstick humour in this series, which works well with the acrobatic abilities and quick change transformations of the character.  

All of Ditko's Creeper stories were collected in THE CREEPER BY STEVE DITKO [2010].

September 24, 2019

Bill Schelly, R.I.P.

Just wanted to quickly note the passing of Bill Schelly, a comic creator, historian and publisher, who early on was one of the fanzine publishers to print the Mr. A. work of Steve Ditko in his SENSE OF WONDER publication. In more recent times he wrote the definitive biographies of Joe Kubert, John Stanley, Harvey Kurtzman, Otto Binder and James Warren, as well as books looking at the early days of comics fandom, including his own autobiography SENSE OF WONDER.

Mark Evanier has more here, and his publishers at Fantagraphics have some memories of various associates.

September 22, 2019

Marvel Comics Presents #80 [1991]

MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS was a long running twice-monthly anthology series which for most of its run featured four 8-page stories in each issue, with a mix of long-running serialized stories (as long as 25 chapters) and one-shot stories, and occasionally shorter serials like this one. Ditko was a frequent presence in the book from 1988 to 1991, mostly with single issue stories that he would usually plot and pencil, with other hands brought in to script and ink.

This Captain America story is a bit of an exception, being a two-part story, concluded in the next issue, and being scripted by Ditko. I think this might be the only time he did the final scripting on any work he did for Marvel. It's not quite an all-Ditko show as Terry Austin inks both parts of the story, the only time he inked Ditko. It's also the only solo Captain America story Ditko drew, though he did other team books with the character.

"Wargod" is the title of the first chapter, and features a new foe for Captain America by that name, an armoured villain who has just killed FBI agent Jake Bage (yeah, you can tell Ditko scripted this...) and is fighting Cap as the story opens. Eventually Cap follows up on some clues that Bage left about a secret army that Wargod is raising.

This story is surprisingly similar to a lot of the independent work that Ditko was doing in the era, with very little modification I could see it appearing in one of his own publications. There's a lot of exploration of patriotism, fanaticism and ethical business dealings mixed in with the action. Very unusual style for Marvel of the era, with a dense story and lots of dialogue and thought balloons. Austin's inks are pretty effective, a little slicker than is usual for Ditko, but not in an overpowering way like some other Marvel work of the era.