June 20, 2009

--Link-- Spider-Man pages at LOC video

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Head over here for a three minute video about the original art to AMAZING FANTASY #15 in the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

June 16, 2009

Upcoming Ditko - Pet Avengers Classic

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Yeah, I know. I don't make 'em up, I just report their existence.

The story from SPEEDBALL #6 is presumably "Cat's Eye". The MARVEL SUPER-HEROES #8 story, from the emphasis on squirrels, would be the Iron Man story "The Coming Of Squirrel Girl". Nothing from AMAZING FANTASY #15 seems to fit the theme, so I'm not sure why that's listed [turns out they mean the more recent Ditko-free AF v2 #15].




PET AVENGERS CLASSIC TPB
Written by STAN LEE, STEVE DITKO, MARY JO DUFFY, SCOTT EDELMAN, PETER GILLIS, STEVEN GRANT, BRUCE JONES, LARRY LEIBER, WILL MURRAY, FABIAN NICIEZA, GREG PAK, LOUISE SIMONSON, DAN SLOTT, MARC SUMERAK & ZEB WELLS
Penciled by JACK KIRBY, STEVE DITKO, JUNE BRIGMAN, BOB BUDIANSKY, ANDREA DIVITO, CHRIS ELIOPOULOS, GIL KANE, VAL MAYERIK, TAKESHI MIYAZAWA, MICHAEL NETZER, DON PERLIN, JAVIER SALTARES, PAUL SMITH & SKOTTIE YOUNG
Cover by KARL KERSCHL

The Falcon, the Two-Gun Kid and many another will tell you: A hero's best friend is his animal sidekick! A teleporting dog, a winged horse, a bouncing cat...and lookit the cute puppies! All part of the Marvel Universe animal kingdom showcased in this offbeat collection! Lockheed gone solo! The origin of Zabu! The Super-Apes triumphant! Magic; super-science; and squirrels, squirrels, squirrels! Featuring rarely seen early work by Fabian Nicieza, Greg Pak and other present-day Marvel headliners! Collecting material from THING #4, CAPTAIN AMERICA #220, KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #14-15, X-MEN UNLIMITED #43, MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS #72, SPEEDBALL #6, MARVEL TALES #100, MARVEL SUPER-HEROES #8, AMAZING FANTASY #15, FANTASTIC FOUR #94, NEW DEFENDERS #150, NEW MUTANTS ANNUAL #4, FRANKLIN RICHARDS: HAPPY FRANKSGIVING, NEW WARRIORS #2 and JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #57.
208 PGS. $24.99
ISBN: 978-0-7851-3966-9

June 13, 2009

--Link-- Ditko and Charlton movie monsters

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Over on the Center for Cartoon Studies' Schulz Library blog, Steve Bissette has some words of appreciation for Ditko's work on KONGA for Charlton in the 1960s, inspired by this long and detailed article by Christopher Hayton on the topic (which I haven't had a chance to read yet).

June 12, 2009

New Ditko - DITKOMANIA #73

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Just arrived in the mail, and available for ordering is DITKOMANIA #73, the latest issue of the fanzine from Rob Imes. Opening this issue is the Doctor Strange cover you see to the right, by Fred Hembeck (some of my favourite bits in Hembeck's 1980s solo books were the Ditko-inspired pieces, which you can see along with about 900 other pages of stuff in his recent book).

Inside is a lot more about Doctor Strange, plus some stuff about Ditko's more recent comics and other matters. You'll also see a recently discovered unused Hulk pin-up both in the original pencil form and as inked by Mort Todd on the backcover.

June 3, 2009

It Stalks the Public Domain - Cover Gallery

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And no look at Ditko's 1953-1955 career would be complete without a look at the following 20 covers, all published by Charlton. While he was still fairly new in the business, Ditko clearly earned his place as a cover artist in 1954, delivering a number of classic images (including seven books that he didn't even have an interior story in, and even of the rest the cover was more often than not unrelated to Ditko's interior work).

But first 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 those that these covers are from

Listed in roughly the order of publication. My comments below, and click, as always, to embiggen:




The Thing #12 - Possibly Ditko's first cover (usual caveats about the trouble matching cover dates to release dates), illustrating a key moment from the story "Cinderella" in this issue in more detail and with added horror. He also signs it, "S. J. Ditko", I believe the first time his name appeared in a comic. Also one of the rare times he used that middle initial.

This Magazine Is Haunted #16 - No Ditko interior. And really, none needed. Oh sure, I'd like to read a Ditko illustrated story about underwater revenge seeking zombies as much as the next guy (and wouldn't that be the best issue of TALES OF THE BLACK FREIGHTER ever), but what are the chances that it would live up to the brilliance of this cover?

Space Adventures #10 - Unrelated to Ditko interiors. Ditko goes from horror on the first two to some classic sci-fi of robots on the rampage. Not bad, but a bit weaker than the horror covers.

The Thing #13 - Illustrating "Library of Horror", one of three Ditko stories from this issue. Some key Ditko work in the future would involve mystic books of forbidden knowledge, and that starts right here, with some great demons.

Racket Squad in Action #11 - Illustrating "Botticelli of the Bangtails", a cute little crime story from this issue, with a nice mix of the art, horse-racing and crime themes from the story.

Space Adventures #11 -Unrelated to any of three three interior Ditko stories. This is a much better sci-fi cover than the previous issue, seeming to show off some influence from the EC artists of the time, like Wood and Williamson. In addition to the obvious monster squid, note the smaller but still deadly fish in the middle, and the weird alien plants in the foreground. Space is a weird and dangerous place.

Strange Suspense Stories #18 -Unrelated to either of the interior Ditko stories. One of the less effective ones. Some nice elements, but the sweat looks like an afterthought, and while you can see the attempt, doesn't really deliver the feeling of wind like Ditko would soon be more than capable of.

This Magazine Is Haunted #17 - Unrelated to the three interior Ditko stories. Another weaker effort, with a not-too-scary monster, and not too much of interest. I do like that door frame in the background, though.

The Thing #14 - Ah, back to covers related to the interior, with this one presenting a scene from "Inheritance" of monsters on the loose in ancient Egypt. I think it says something about Ditko's covers for THE THING that this is the weakest of the five, and is still magnificent.

Strange Suspense Stories #19 - Unrelated to the Ditko story inside, and another case where that's just as well, since this is a classic bit of artwork that stands nicely on its own.

The Thing #15 - A cover to go with the story "The Worm Turns" appearing inside. Much as I love those stories of Konga and Gorgo, I think this is the definitive Ditko "monster on a rampage in a city" image.

This Magazine Is Haunted #18 - Unrelated to the interior Ditko story, this is a scene from a non-Ditko story. And again, a weaker than average cover among this set. The Thing really did seem to get first choice of covers before Dr. Death. Must be because the Doc came over from Fawcett.

Space Adventures #12 - No Ditko interior, and a great goofy sci-fi cover with an EC feel.

Racket Squad in Action #12 - No Ditko interior, a generic crime cover which is nice, but a bit overdone.

Strange Suspense Stories #20 - Unrelated to either of the Ditko interior stories, though the jungle theme does match one of them. Not a great one, but I do like the recurring skull motif on the villain, and in general it seems that Ditko is getting close to the archetypes which would serve him well in the 1960s (does that girl look familiar?).

This Magazine Is Haunted #19 - No Ditko interior. Not a bad illustration, but I always have trouble reading that the figure is bursting out of the page. Ditko does have the fog effect down after a few early missteps.

Strange Suspense Stories #22 - No Ditko interior. It's not a bad generic horror cover, but the more I look at it and compare it with the other covers of the era, the lower I rank it. Maybe it's just those weird squared-off thumbs...

The Thing #17 - No Ditko interior, and in this case that's kind of a shame, because there's clearly a story to be told here. Well, specifically, I want it to be a story where this guy battles Doctor Strange, but this is almost a decade early for that. Still, great cover

This Magazine Is Haunted #21 - No Ditko interior, and a step up from the last few issues of this title, though not quite up to deep-sea zombies. Some nice detailed linework there.

From Here To Insanity #10 - Unrelated to the Ditko interior story, and Ditko's only cover from 1955. Like the story inside, a rare glimpse into the wackier side of Ditko, and pretty decent. The angle of that arm holding the net looks a little painful, though.

So what's your favourite? Tough choice for me, but I'll go with THE THING #15, at least today.

June 1, 2009

It Stalks the Public Domain - 3-D Disaster Doom Death

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http://tinyurl.com/ditko-stories

Charlton's THIS MAGAZINE IS HAUNTED #17 [1954] featured the 7-page "3-D Disaster, Doom, Death" seen below. It's the story of Bruno Thor, a movie actor specializing in various monster types whose temper has gotten him in trouble and made him box office poison. Going out drinking after being thrown out of the studio, he meets a mysterious man who offers him a script called "The Devil's Pact", and... oh, you can pretty much figure out the rest from there.

Still a cool little story, especially with a lot of the touches Ditko gives to the backgrounds of the film studio and sets. I'm not sure if this story was at any point intended to be in 3-D (did Charlton even do any 3-D comics?), but certainly a few points look like they would pop with such a treatment.

Clicky to biggy
  
 

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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