May 30, 2009

It Stalks the Public Domain - If Looks Could Kill

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http://tinyurl.com/ditko-stories is the place to go for the full list of these.

"If Looks Could Kill" is a 6-page horror story from Charlton's THE THING #15 [1954]. A very strange little story about a doctor who gets kidnapped by a hypnotist who seems to have some enormous powers in his eyes, but can't think of anything better to do with them than penny-ante kidnap schemes. Then it gets really bizarre, with a lot of twists in the handful of pages. A pretty cool little story, and Ditko does a great job of picking out some key bits to give his special touch. Check out that close-up on page 3, for example.

The usual links:
Buy Ditko's creator-owned work
Subscribe to DITKOMANIA
Check out new and upcoming Ditko publications
Download public domain comics, likely including the one this story is from

Enlarge images through clicking.

Upcoming Ditko - Indy and reprints of reprints

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Dark Horse has some reprints of Marvel's INDIANA JONES comics of the 1980s. They don't specify exactly which issues (anyone have the first volume know where it left off?) so I'm not sure which Ditko issues are included, but presumably at least the first one, #21. He did eight in all, so the bulk of them would probably appear in a hypothetical volume 3. And oddly, it looks like their Warren reprints are going to include reprints, so CREEPY ARCHIVES VOLUME 5, will include a few stories that will already be in the EERIE ARCHIVES

And the softcover MARVEL MASTERWORKS get up to the first slim HULK volume, Ditko inks on one issue, full art on another.


INDIANA JONES OMNIBUS: THE FURTHER ADVENTURES VOLUME 2
David Michelinie (W/A), Herb Trimpe (W/A), Larry Lieber (W), Archie Goodwin (W), Jackson Guice (A), Steve Ditko (A), and others
On sale Oct 21
FC, 368 pages    $24.95
TPB, 6" x 9"

Clouds of war gather ominously over Europe . . . the Great Depression grips the world... but one globe-trotting archaeologist’s thirst for adventure and discovery remains undaunted by his times in The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones!

Writer David Michelinie continues to team up with notable comics artists Steve Ditko, David Mazzucchelli, Herb Trimpe, and Jackson Guice to entertain Indy fans everywhere! This massive volume collects twelve full issues of the 1980s ongoing series—along with the official adaptation of Temple of Doom—for the very first time.




CREEPY ARCHIVES VOLUME 5
Various (W/A)
On sale Oct 28
b&w, 240 pages    $49.95
HC, 8 3/8" x 10 7/8"
Enter a world of the finest in scary storytelling and dazzling artwork! Creepy Archives Volume 5 continues the critically acclaimed series that throws back the dusty curtain on a treasure trove of amazing comics art and brilliantly blood-chilling stories. From the gorgeously painted full-color covers to the exquisite black-and-white interiors, this groundbreaking archival series resurrects some of the finest graphic storytelling ever printed. From “The Rats in the Walls” to “It That Lurks,” these are infamous tales to chill the blood.
• Featuring the artwork of comics legends Steve Ditko, Reed Crandall, Angelo Torres, Alex Toth, and more!



MARVEL MASTERWORKS: THE INCREDIBLE HULK VOL. 1 TPB
Written by STAN LEE
Penciled by JACK KIRBY & STEVE DITKO
Cover by JACK KIRBY & DEAN WHITE
Dr. Robert Bruce Banner may have the appearance of a mild-mannered scientist, but after being caught in a gamma bomb explosion, he became the unstoppable engine of destruction known as the Incredible Hulk! Hot off the success of the FANTASTIC FOUR, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's atomic update on the Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde tale, mixed the joy of giant monsters with Cold War intrigue and added a heavy dose of psychological drama to create a formula that even decades later has readers clamoring for more. So for each and every purple pants loving Hulkophile, the MARVEL MASTERWORKS are proud to present the Hulk's original six-issue solo series in one amazingly restored volume. You'll meet Bruce Banner, Rick Jones, General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross of the U.S. Army and the lovely Betty Ross for the first time. You'll see the Hulk's first appearance as the gray goliath before he turned that familiar shade of green. You'll watch the Hulk bust knuckles with the far-out Toad Men, the subterranean Tryannus, monstrous Mongu, and the Metal Master, and to make it that much better, the incomparable Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko illustrate it all. Collecting THE INCREDIBLE HULK #1-6
176 PGS./All Ages ...$24.99

May 29, 2009

--Link-- Not quite Ditko in NEW YORKER

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Over here for a look at a recent NEW YORKER cartoon that might seem familiar.

Eerie #5 [1966]

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Archie Goodwin writes the 8-page story "Black Magic" for Ditko to provide the full ink-wash treatment.  In this tale, the wizard Valdar, confident in his long-studied mastery of black magic, aspires to raise the dead, despite the warnings of his old teacher.  Unfortunately for him, he's unaware of one of secret that the master kept from the apprentice.

A great story by Goodwin, with some smart dialogue and a clever twist that is completely fair, well foreshadowed and still a surprise. Ditko matches him all the way, with one of the best of the stories he did with the ink-wash effect. The smokey demons Valdar conjures in the first scene set the mood nicely, and the effect of the final spell gone wrong are about as scary as anything he ever drew.



May 28, 2009

It Stalks the Public Domain - Dead Reckoning

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Have I mentioned http://tinyurl.com/ditko-stories lately?

"Dead Reckoning" is a 7-page Ditko story that appeared in Charlton's SPACE ADVENTURES #11 [1954]. Amusing little story taking common themes in crime fiction of the time and pretty much just translating them wholesale to a science fiction setting (with the conceit that one of the characters is a fan of 20th century detective stories). A lot of fun, as contrived as parts of it are.

Ditko's very much doing his version of the EC style of the time, an influence which pops up occasionally in his work of this era, and one could easily see this story fitting comfortably in an issue of WEIRD SCIENCE, with the alien landscapes, sexy female lead and tale of treasure and betrayal.

Also, those floating lips on the splash panel, just creepy.

The usual links:
Buy Ditko's creator-owned work
Subscribe to DITKOMANIA
Check out new and upcoming Ditko publications
Download public domain comics, likely including the one this story is from


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May 26, 2009

It Stalks the Public Domain - Dead Right

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http://tinyurl.com/ditko-stories is the place you want to be.

Oh, this is a sweet bit of early Ditko from Charlton's STRANGE SUSPENSE STORIES #18 [1954]. The 6-page "Dead Right" features a reporter and photographer visiting the London home of a man named Mr. Mord, who creates grotesque wax heads of notorious killers. One head in particular horrifies the reporter, who has his photographer secretly snap a picture of it, which leads him to discover Mord's secret.

Ditko really knocks this one out of the park, from the creepy heads to the Mr. Mord's ever-present cat to the murder scene to the scarred face. Definitely one of my favourites from the era.

The usual links:
Buy Ditko's creator-owned work
Subscribe to DITKOMANIA
Check out new and upcoming Ditko publications
Download public domain comics, likely including the one this story is from

  
 

May 24, 2009

It Stalks the Public Domain - Inheritance

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Part of a series, as you'll see here: http://tinyurl.com/ditko-stories

The 5-page "Inheritance" was the cover featured story in Charlton's THE THING #14 [1954], and tells the story of two archeologists who discover the secret of a family curse in the tomb of Tutankamen. It's a pretty good story, although there seem to be some odd gaps in the script, as it if it was edited down from something longer.

It's a great example of early Ditko art, with a lot of visuals he would later use in other Egyptian based stories. Check out that great grinning statue on the bottom of page 1, and those panels in the "waterfront dive" on page 4.

The usual links:
Buy Ditko's creator-owned work
Subscribe to DITKOMANIA
Check out new and upcoming Ditko publications
Download public domain comics, likely including the one this story is from

  
 

Adventure Comics #476 [1980]

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The 9-page "Crown or Coffin" is the tenth of the twelve Starman stories by Paul Levitz, Steve Ditko and Romeo Tanghal, and can be considered the end of the first major storyline, if there had been a second major storyline. Having established the background, the major players are together, with Oswin capturing Starman, the Empress and Merria with the help of Mn'torr's staff. Fortunately Jediah is able to escape, and manages a last minute rescue to set up a final confrontation, a resolution to the main conflict, and sending Starman off to find Mn'torr.

As always, good solid old-school space opera, with Tanghal a solid compliment to Ditko's pencils.



May 22, 2009

It Stalks the Public Domain - You Are the Jury

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http://tinyurl.com/ditko-stories

"You Are The Jury" is a quick and clever little 4-page science fiction story from Charlton's SPACE ADVENTURES #11 [1954].

The opening is a nice little visual of looking through the eyes of an alien defendant in a trial, as we then get a flashback to his crime, which takes place on a visit to Earth where he gets into a card game with some circus folk. Man, I always knew that circus folk would be the end of civilization as we know it.

Anyway, not a masterpiece by any stretch, but a solid story with some nice artwork.

The usual links:
Buy Ditko's creator-owned work
Subscribe to DITKOMANIA
Check out new and upcoming Ditko publications
Download public domain comics, likely including the one this story is from

  
 

May 20, 2009

It Stalks the Public Domain - Doom in the Air

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Hey, kids! Comics! http://tinyurl.com/ditko-stories

Below is the 8-page "Doom in the Air" from Charlton's THE THING #14 [1954].

As you'll see, this story starts off looking like a western, as a man is arrested for a murder, but the proper authorities who want to give him a fair trial are intercepted by the three sons of the murdered man, who want to mete out their own frontier justice. Then it gets weird, as the story jumps to the atomic age, and starts to play on the fears of that era in an odd revenge story with a radioactive twist. This is great stuff, with a lot of curveballs in the narrative, a much snappier script than is common for these stories and loads of great visuals from Ditko (pay close attention to the backgrounds of several scenes, and that scene at the bottom of page 5 is just gorgeous).

In both the writing and the art this is one of my favourite early Ditko stories.

Interesting side note, this story has several parallels with the Swamp Thing story "The Nukeface Papers" (SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING #35-#36 [1985]) by Alan Moore, Steve Bissette and John Totleben. From some info provided by Steve Bissette this appears to be a coincidence, as the creation of Nukeface dates from Totleben's sketches in the late 1970s (certainly a time when radiation and nuclear safety fears were high), and Totleben was unaware of the Ditko story (which was never reprinted by Charlton) and Bissette didn't see it until he got a copy of the original 1954 comic a few years after the 1985 story was done and noticed the similarities. It's not clear if Moore would have seen the story, even though Charlton comics were often reprinted in the Alan Class comics in Britain pre-Code stuff like this wasn't common (and unfortunately there's no index of those reprints), and in any case the core idea pre-dates Moore's involvement, or any of the team even working on Swamp Thing. Still, a fascinating comparison, especially the closing images of each story.

The usual links:
Buy Ditko's creator-owned work
Subscribe to DITKOMANIA
Check out new and upcoming Ditko publications
Download public domain comics, likely including the one this story is from

May 19, 2009

Weird War Tales #99 [1981]

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Ditko draws the 5-page George Kashdan scripted story "Man's Best Enemy" for this issue of DC's surprisingly long-running series of war stories with horror, fantasy or science fiction twists. In this one, Corky the dog gets attacked by vicious escaped guinea pigs from a bombed out German lab. He immediately gets more aggressive, and soon escapes from his kennel and terrorizes the countryside as a result of whatever twisted experiments were going on in that lab.

Not a great story, but a few of Ditko's images of the crazed rodents and the mad dog are really good, and there's a decent fog effect on the last page that makes the twist ending a little better than it would be otherwise.


May 18, 2009

It Stalks the Public Domain - The Evil Eye

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As usual, check out http://tinyurl.com/ditko-stories

This time around we have "The Evil Eye", a 7-page story from Charlton's THE THING #14 [1954].

As you'll see, this is one of the most gruesome of Ditko's early stories. Warren Cairo plans to kill off his wife in a car crash, while planning an alibi for himself so he can inherit her fortune. Unfortunately, the wheelchair bound Gerda has a few things up her sleeve. Not to give too much away, but the bottom of page 5 isn't for the faint of heart.

And check out that really effective use of tonework on the shot of the body going into the water on page 6. That's some really fine technique that the scan really doesn't do justice.

The usual links:
Buy Ditko's creator-owned work
Subscribe to DITKOMANIA
Check out new and upcoming Ditko publications
Download public domain comics, likely including the one this story is from

  
 

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