December 18, 2005

Adventure Comics #473 [1980]

Ditko drew the "Starman" serial that ran for a year in ADVENTURE COMICS in 1980, with Paul Levitz writing and Romeo Tanghal inking. It was a pretty good space opera, with lots of weird aliens and space battles as the story went from cliffhanger to cliffhanger among tales of imperial intrigue in an interstellar empire. It was also among the first places I ever saw Ditko's work (I think I had read a few reprints of his Doctor Strange, and maybe a Spider-Man or two, before this, but not much). I don't really expect it'll ever be reprinted, though stranger things have happened, and it would be nice to see it on some better paper than the poorly aging newsprint of the era.

"'Twixt Hammer and Anvil" is the 7th chapter of the series, 8 pages long. It features Starman trying to save the recently rescued Empress, who is also (unknown to her) his sister, who had his execution ordered sometime earlier. First they face off against Imperial ships, seeking to avenge the Empress, then against the odd alien ship which originally held her. Meanwhile, back at the empire, various maneuvering by the villainous Lord Oswin has put the throne in his reach, dooming our heroes. They used to pack a lot of plot in eight pages

"'Twixt Hammer and Anvil" J-6621


  1. I was never a big fan of Starman,perhaps due to the inking of Romeo Tanghal, who I just didn't feel worked well with Ditko (I also didn't like the inking of Danny Bulandi over at Marvek, even though I though Indiana Jones was a decent character for Ditko to work on). Actually, I would have perfered Ditko working on Plastic Man, the series that was co-featured in Adventure Comics (Ditko only drew Plastic Man once, an unpublished Who's Who that can be viewed on Blake Bell's Ditko site.

    Nick Caputo

  2. Never saw that Plastic Man piece before. Thanks. That is good, he could have had some fun with that character. I especially like his Woozy Winks.

    I didn't mind Tanghal so much, but that might just me not being too familiar with Ditko when I first saw them. He softens it up a bit, but not so much as to distract from the overall look. I agree on Bulanadi, though. I also didn't like Jackson Guice on Speedball, which it always baffles me when otherwise sensible people praise.



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