April 18, 2007

Cheyenne Kid #10 [1957]

Despite westerns being a major genre in comics throughout Ditko's earliest days in the industry, especially among his major publishers Charlton and Marvel, he only drew a handful of short western stories in his career, and many of those starred horses (Black Fury and Black Jack). I guess he just didn't have an affinity for that genre...

Wait, CHEYENNE KID #10 has a message on that topic from 1957, and that message is:

















WRONG!

Ditko just drew the cover to this issue of one of Charlton's many western books of the era, but what a cover it is. Action-packed, very clearly composed and full of detail in every corner, almost a throw-back to Ditko's pre-code covers in that regard. This is right up there with some of the best western work I've seen from the era, like the Simon&Kirby BOYS' RANCH, and looks like it could be a movie poster (though that blurb on the cover is poorly placed and a bit annoying).

I'd wonder how anyone could look at this and not throw the artist as much western work as he could handle, except that I know Ditko was just as strong on the fantasy and sci-fi work (and would later go on to help reinvent the super-hero genre). So add westerns to something that Ditko does well, if not often.

It's kind of odd, you'd think that the black-and-white morality plays of the western genre would appeal to the later philosophical leanings of Ditko. I'm just imagining Mr. A done as a western. The A Kid? Two-Gun A? Shoot-out at the A-is-A Corral?

2 comments:

  1. The Cheyenne Kid cover is great. As you noted, Ditko only did a handful of westerns throughout his career, leading me to believe that he did not particularly care for the genre, even though he could do nice work on it.

    I suspect if he had requested them he would have been given more western scripts to illustrate, particularly at Charlton. His work on war, western and romance stories was sporadic, so it appears he liked doing the ghost stories more than other genres.

    Thanks again for putting these great covers out there to discuss and enjoy.

    Nick Caputo

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  2. It's great to see a Ditko cover I've never seen before. Thanks.

    I never thought about it before, but it does seem that the western setting would be a good one for objectivist-tinged stories. But, in addition to the affinity issue, Ditko may have realized that superheros (or something very like them) would be more successful in selling the concept to a broader audience.

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