October 31, 2008

It Stalks the Public Domain - Killer on the Loose

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List of all of these posts over here :  http://tinyurl.com/ditko-stories.

While mostly working on the horror and sci-fi books for Charlton, Ditko did have the occasional foray into other genres, like this story from CRIME AND JUSTICE #18 [1954].  The 7-page "Killer on the Loose" features officers Tex and Barry of the Radio Patrol.  The feature (with the same leads) was a regular in the title, pre-dating this sole Ditko story.  I haven't been able to figure out yet if there's any relationship to the long running comic strip of that name, which appears to have ended shortly before the first comic book story, but which had a different lead character. If anyone has some more information that might enlighten the situation, it's always appreciated.

Anyway, cute little story.  I'll come back later to write a bit more about it, for now, enjoy.

Most scans in this series adapted to my personal tastes from those found, and available for free download with registration, at the Golden Age Comics Download site. For comics on paper, the way your grandparents read them, first head over here for ordering info on his available creator owned material co-published with Robin Snyder (including his new book, DITKO, ETC...) and head over here for info on recent and upcoming books with Ditko from all publishers, including the recently revived DITKOMANIA,  Halloween issue now available, and now accepting PayPal for subscriptions.

Click images to embiggen.



  
 

October 24, 2008

It Stalks the Public Domain - Homecoming

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Have I mentioned lately you can go to http://tinyurl.com/ditko-stories to get links to all of these as they're posted?  I thought so...

"Homecoming" is a 5-page story from Charlton's SPACE ADVENTURES #10 [Spring 1954]. As previously discussed, that "Spring" date makes it a bit ambiguous if if came out before or after February's THE THING #12 and which has the distinction of being Ditko's first work for Charlton and his first cover. Unlike THE THING #12, the cover here isn't related to the Ditko story, featuring instead alien robots on the rampage, a scene slightly related in spirit (but not really) to the Dick Giordano / Art Cappello story which closes the book.

And both cover and story are just signed "Ditko", so still no print evidence of his full name beyond the "S. J. Ditko"on the THE THING #12 cover.

This is also Ditko's first science fiction story, a genre he'd frequent often in the next few years.

Fairly average story, overall, with a clever though somewhat cliche twist. There's really no strong visual hook for Ditko to shine at, but the storytelling is good, the future tech looks believable and he's getting increasingly more consistent with the faces than in some of his earlier work.

Most scans in this series adapted to my personal tastes from those found, and available for free download with registration, at the Golden Age Comics Download site. To buy Ditko comics and things on paper, first head over here for ordering info on his available creator owned material co-published with Robin Snyder (including his latest, DITKO, ETC...) and take a look over here for info on recent and upcoming books with Ditko from all publishers, including the recently revived DITKOMANIA coming fast and furious, and now accepting PayPal for subscriptions.

Embiggening of images accomplished via clicking.

October 21, 2008

Upcoming Ditko - Spider-Man Masterworks softcover

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Marvel is beginning to re-issue their Marvel Masterworks line in softcover for a very reasonable price. The first release is the early adventures of Spider-Man. Noteworthy in this release is that they're going to have the artwork for the first story shot from the original art recently donated to the Library of Congress.  Two cover designs, the one shown below for most retailers and a cover that emulates the original Masterworks design also available to the direct market.




MARVEL MASTERWORKS: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN VOL. 1 TPB
by STEVE DITKO and STAN LEE with JACK KIRBY
Cover by JACK KIRBY & STEVE DITKO


Celebrate Marvel's 70th anniversary by experiencing the tales of the world's most-famous super heroes from the very beginning! The Marvel Masterworks have brought readers deluxe hardcover collections of Marvel's classics from the Golden Age, Atlas Era, and the mighty Marvel Age, and now you can join in the Masterworks excitement with our new, monthly Marvel Masterworks trade paperbacks. And where better to start than where comics' most robust line of archival comic collections began-the Amazing Spider-Man! In 1962 in the pages of a comic book slated for cancellation, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko gave birth to one of the most-enduring icons in American popular culture-the one and only Amazing Spider-Man! Turning the concept of a super hero on its head, they imbued the young, guilt-ridden Peter Parker with the fantastic powers of an arachnid and the fantastic pressures of an everyday teenager. The combination was pure magic. So join us in the following pages as we present stories of spectacular web-slinging adventure from Spidey's very beginning including, the tragic origin that started it all, the first appearances of the Daily Bugle, J. Jonah Jameson, Doctor Octopus, the Sandman, the Vulture, Electro, and guest-star nods by the Fantastic Four and Human Torch. And to top it off, we've packed this volume full of bonuses galore, including the complete original artwork to Spider-Man's Amazing Fantasy #15 origin from the Library of Congress archives!

Collecting AMAZING FANTASY #15 & THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1-10.

272 PGS/All Ages ...$24.99
ISBN: 978-0-7851-3692-7


MARVEL MASTERWORKS: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN VOL. 1 TPB - DM ONLY
272 PGS/All Ages ...$24.99
ISBN: 978-0-7851-3693-4

October 17, 2008

Upcoming Ditko - Ditkomania #69 out next week

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Courtesy of Rob Imes, here's a preview of the Michael T. Gilbert cover for DITKOMANIA #69, which will be mailed out to subscribers next week Tuesday.



In addition to the Gilbert cover, the 32-page issue will have:

- A back cover by Dave Sim
- Rob Imes reviewing the new DITKO, ETC...
- an article by DITKOMANIA founder Bill Hall
- a 2-page article by Will Murray
- an article by Nick Caputo reviewing a Ditko-drawn Charlton ghost story
- a 6-page lettercol (including letters by Dwight Decker, Sam Kujava, Tristan Lapoussiere, and Mike Tuz)

Ordering details, as always, over here. Note that PayPal payments are now available, which should be especially welcome to international Ditkomaniacs who were reluctant to pay via money order before.  All the issues since the revival (#64-#68) are still available for US$1.50 plus appropriate postage, as are many second printings of the original run for various prices.

It Stalks the Public Domain - Cinderella

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Continuing the series, bookmark http://tinyurl.com/ditko-stories to see them all.

You'd think it would at least be easy to answer a question like "What was Ditko's first story for Charlton?", but clearly those buys in Derby CT wanted to make life difficult for the people who would care about such things over 50 years later.

One contender is THE THING #12 [Feb 1954], likely released in late 1953. The other reasonable contender is SPACE ADVENTURES #10 (coming next week). Unfortunately, SPACE ADVENTURES for some reason went from bi-monthly to quarterly just then (then back to bi-monthly), so that issue is dated "Spring 1954". Thanks a lot, guys...

Unless more evidence turns up, I'm going to go with this issue, since I like it a bit more. Ditko did both the cover and lead story for this issue, so it would also be his first cover. And unlike in his stories for other publishers preceding this (unless I missed it in a corner somewhere), he signed the work, so I guess it's the first appearance of the name "Ditko" in comics, too. In fact, the cover is signed "S. J. Ditko", a pretty uncommon use of his middle initial. Hm, wonder when we'll first see his full first name...

Anyway, 8-page "Cinderella" is, obviously, a re-telling of the fairy tale.  Only this time, with vampires!  Pretty gory little story, with some unexpected twists.  Ditko's artwork is quickly getting much more confident and imaginative.  The bottom of page 3, with the demon horses pulling the carriage, is really good.  The vampire step-sisters killing their rivals on page 4 (the scene also used on the cover) is very creepy.

Most scans in this series adapted to my personal tastes from those found, and available for free download with registration, at the Golden Age Comics Download site. To buy Ditko comics and things on paper, go over here for ordering info on his available creator owned material (including his latest comic, DITKO, ETC...) and over here for info on recent and upcoming publications from all publishers, and don't forget to subscribe to Rob Imes' revival of DITKOMANIA, now accepting PayPal.


October 16, 2008

Ghostly Haunts #37 [1974]

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Ditko draws the 7-page story "The Ancient Mine", written by Joe Gill. At the end of an Alaskan summer, oil man George Rabb is determined to sink some promising wells in an area of the tundra despite warnings from some of the locals that it's an old burial ground. The diggings come up with some odd stuff, including some beasts that come to life (oddly that pterosaur in the background of one panel isn't actually mentioned by any of the characters). Finally they unearth an ancient man who comes to life, confused by his surroundings.

The story just kind of meanders to an end, but has some pretty good Ditko action and designs. The ancient man is for some reason coloured green with a purple loincloth, which kind of makes him look like the Hulk...


October 10, 2008

It (Doesn't) Stalk the Public Domain - Madame Cyanide and Mister Tricks

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Number six in a series, bookmark http://tinyurl.com/ditko-stories to see them all.

This story is still under copyright, so just a few samples here.

"Madame Cyanide and Mister Tricks" is a 5-page story from Prize's BLACK MAGIC #29 [v4n5] [1954], the third and last consecutive issue of the Simon&Kirby edited horror anthology with a Ditko story (there's an odd temporal anomaly about seven years later that I write about here).

"Mister Tricks" is Nicholas Dana, a professional sceptic who exposes phony mystics and con-men. I was about to write that this was like a prototype of DC's "Doctor Thirteen" character, but I just discovered that Thirteen predated this story, in a brief run from 1951-1952. And drawn by Leonard Starr, who did some work for the S&K shop (though pre-dating Doctor Thirteen), and usually written by France Herron, who worked with Simon various times over the years. Hmm, there's definitely something to this. An unused script modified a year later and given to the new kid? Anyone familiar with Herron's writing from that era (a few of the Thirteen stories are reprinted in the recent SHOWCASE PRESENTS THE PHANTOM STRANGER v1 book) want to weigh in?

Anyway, Dana is called to investigate a woman accused of witchcraft, although of course he's having none of that nonsense. Very nice little story, Ditko's still a bit rough around the edges, with some of the figures being a bit stiff, but he really seemed to spend a lot of time on the establishing shots of the house. He'd quickly get a lot better at the fog effect, though he seems to have the Ditko smoke effect down solid already

Kind of makes you wonder what might have been. The comic book industry was in considerable turmoil in this period (leading to the establishment of the Comics Code), and BLACK MAGIC itself only lasted four more issues, so it's not too surprising that Ditko didn't get more work from S&K at the time and wound up at Charlton for the remainder of his 1954 work, while S&K launched their short-lived Mainline company at exactly the wrong time. Ditko and Kirby would cross paths a few years later, of course, but that's another story...

Most scans in this series adapted to my personal tastes from those found, and available for free download with registration, at the Golden Age Comics Download site. To buy Ditko comics and things on paper, go over here for ordering info on some wonderful creator owned material (including his latest comic, DITKO, ETC...) and over here for info on recent and upcoming publications from all publishers. And subscribe to Rob Imes' revival of DITKOMANIA, now accepting PayPal.




October 3, 2008

--Link-- Bissette on Ditko

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Steve Bissette has some comments and recommendations on the Ditko writings he's picked up recently, which of course you can order as well.

October 1, 2008

Upcoming Ditko - Ditko, etc...

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Coming soon (as in later this month) from Robin Snyder and Steve Ditko, some new Ditko comics in DITKO, ETC...

Cover is over there on the right, and now you know about as much about it as I do. Okay, those characters on the top half of the "H" appeared on the backcover of AVENGING MIND, and the hero might be named "Agent of Justice", or that might just have been a description.

Still, new Ditko comic book stories, for the first time this century (discounting that New Gods temporal anomaly). Ordering info for this and earlier Snyder/Ditko publications at the usual place.

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