March 22, 2007

Superman #400 [1984]

A comment to one of the recent Legion posts mentioned that Ditko drawing Superboy in a few of those stories (a flashback in one, a more major role in another) was among the few times that he really got to draw one of the major players in the DC Universe. For the most part his work at DC was confined to characters he created (Creeper, Hawk&Dove, Stalker, Shade, Starman), non-series short sci-fi/fantasy stories and more obscure DC characters (Etrigan, Man-Bat (with a Batman cameo), the Legion, Black Lightning, the Spectre (heavily inked)). He did draw one short Green Lantern chapter of a larger story, but apparently Wonder Woman doesn't even appear on the pages of a Wonder Woman story he drew.

(there is some unpublished stuff, too. A New Gods back-up story, a Green Lantern image I saw once I think intended for a colouring book, a great Plastic Man image that might have been intended for WHO'S WHO)

But the best was this pin-up from SUPERMAN #400. An odd but brilliant issue celebrating the milestone by having a lot of artists not usually associated with Superman drawing stories of his legend through the future, interspersed with various pin-ups. Ditko's page may be the highlight of the issue for me (and there's some great stuff in here, including Will Eisner, Jack Davis, Jerry Robinson, Al Williamson, Jack Kirby and more). Ditko seamlessly integrates the type of images that he used in his own work like Mr. A and Avenging World, iconographic conflicts between savagery and civilization, oppression and freedom, and combines them with a great image of Superman standing as a barrier defending free people from the forces of evil. It works perfectly, both as as Superman image and a Ditko image. Makes you wonder what he would have done with the character if allowed to cut loose for a full story (his take on Batman would be interesting too. I'm sorry that when DC was doing their "Batman Black and White" mini-series then back-ups that they didn't get Ditko to do one).


  1. Ditko was slated to draw a Legends of the Dark Knight issue, but apparently bowed out at the last moment.Perhaps he did not like the script handed to him. Too bad. A Mike Barr/Steve Ditko combo would have worked. The issue listed as featuring Ditko art appeared with a John Buscema story instead.

    Ditko did draw a Green Lantern coloring book that was never released.

    Nick Caputo

  2. That's weird, I either somehow missed hearing about or completely forgot about that planned Ditko drawn Batman story. Shame that didn't come to pass.

    So Ditko did a full GL colouring book? That's a weird project to put him on, although the one image I saw from it looked pretty cute.



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