May 31, 2010

Just Married #79 [1971]

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One of the rare pure romance stories, with no fantasy overtones, by Ditko in this issue, his only story for this long-running Charlton title.  "Dream Of Love" is a 7-page story about Dorothy, a young woman working as a script consultant for a small summer stock company.  As the season goes on, she gets more involved in the production, first doing re-writes on the script and then filling in when the lead actress leaves for Hollywood, and also getting romantically involved with the director.

A pleasant if unambitious little story, Ditko tells it effectively, with attractive leads and some nice attention to detail in the theatrical setting.  He does hit the heart imagery for the romance angle a bit heavily, at least once on every page, which is probably overkill, especially for a story appearing in a romance book.



As an example of how important the romance genre still was to Charlton at the time, there's a house ad in here which features the logos for 11 different romance titles running at the time.


--Link-- Bhob Stewart on "Ghost Artist"

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Writer Bhob Stewart gives some of the background of the 1973 story "Ghost Artist" that he wrote with Russ Jones, which Steve Ditko then drew for publication in Charlton's GHOSTLY TALES #101 [1973].

May 30, 2010

Unusual Tales part one wrapup

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Well, in my posting of Ditko's work from 1957-1959, I've gone as far as I can with the first part, the stories never reprinted in the 50+ years since they first saw print. Out of 81 such stories when I started, I've posted 71 (plus one additional story which had been reprinted, but the most recent reprint had some problems) .  Those 72 stories add up to 355 pages, almost exactly one-third of the non-Marvel stories Ditko did in that three year stretch.  A lot of variety in there, along with the usual science fiction and fantasy there are a number of westerns, plus a Civil War story and even a Robin Hood adventure.  A few different art styles on display, with some stories featuring highly detailed rendering while others display a more open look.

[I've subsequently found and posted the remaining ten stories previously unreprinted stories, plus all the other ones]

One of the stories posted has been reprinted since I started, and it's a good one, among the best. Expect another handful of them to be reprinted from various publishers by the end of the year.

Regarding the 5-page story "Evil Allies" from BLACK FURY #16 [1958], it's been on Ditko checklists before, and I had it on my initial list.  I wasn't sure when I actually got a chance to see the story (kind of hard to tell since there are no humans in the story, and the quickest way to identify Ditko is by the people), and seeing that Ditko Fever didn't list it had no problem crossing it off the list. If anyone wants to see it to judge for themselves, let me know, maybe I'll post it elsewhere. Oddly enough, I did find one 5-page story not previously appearing on Ditko checklists, so balance restored!

If a list of 72 stories, a few of them admittedly on the mediocre side, is too daunting, here's a list of 10 above average stories from the list.  

"A World Where I Was King"
"Secret Mission"
"The Only One"
"The Menace Of The Maple Leaves"
"Forever And Ever"
"Look Deep Into My Eyes"
"Never Again"
"For Amusement Only"
"Little Boy Blue"
"Valley Of Eternity"

Feel free to list your favourites in the comments if you want to point them out to other people.

Anyway, I'm taking a short break and will post some things regarding Ditko's work less than a half-century old for a few weeks.  After that I'll start in on the stories of that era that have been reprinted before, though some not for decades, and at least one never in its entirety.  Once I get started expect about a story every three days, which will take about a year to post them all.  Also look for a few galleries of Ditko's covers from that era. Some story titles and images to whet your appetite:

"Stranger In The House"
"The Sultan"
"Moon-Run"
"Little Girl Lost"
"The Desert"
"Tomorrow's Punishment"
"I Made A Volcano"
"Flying Dutchman"
"The Juggernauts Of Jupiter"
"The Moon Snatchers"


Unusual Tales - The Mountain That Was

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"Unusual Tales", a series presenting Steve Ditko's comics from 1957 to 1959 that are in the public domain.

From Charlton's MYSTERIES OF UNEXPLORED WORLDS #11 [1959] comes the 5-page "The Mountain That Was".

An average little story about two men climbing Mount Everest, and finding some strange alien creatures up there.  Not really among Ditko's most inspired designs of either aliens or spaceships.

The use of inset panels, especially in the layout of page 4, is kind of unusual and a nice way to add some visual flair to the story.

Some links to check out:
Buy Ditko's creator-owned work
Find out about the fanzine DITKOMANIA
Check out new and upcoming Ditko publications
Download public domain comics, likely including the one this story is from
(scans in this series generally adapted to my personal tastes from those copies)

Click images to big-up.

May 29, 2010

Unusual Tales - A Lost Dimension

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"Unusual Tales", a series presenting Steve Ditko's comics from 1957 to 1959 that are in the public domain.

From Charlton's MYSTERIES OF UNEXPLORED WORLDS #12 [1959] comes the 5-page "A Lost Dimension".

A bit of a morally questionable story about the reckless experiments of a not-very-good scientist.  At least, that's my reading, see what you think.  A few really good bits by Ditko in the first half of the story.

Some links to check out:Buy Ditko's creator-owned work
Find out about the fanzine DITKOMANIA
Check out new and upcoming Ditko publications
Download public domain comics, likely including the one this story is from
scans in this series generally adapted to my personal tastes from those copies

Click images to big-up.



May 28, 2010

Upcoming Ditko - BIG BOOK O' DITKO

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Coming soon, Pure Imagination has its sixth collection of Ditko stories, this time under the title BIG BOOK O' DITKO (previously published were three volumes of THE STEVE DITKO READER, STEVE DITKO'S THE THING AND OTHER STORIES and STEVE DITKO: EDGE OF GENIUS). I'll update when I have full details on the contents, for now it'll have "some of his best and little-known work collected here. Charlton art, Konga, Gorgo, Nukla, and other stories not previously reprinted. Theakstonized for maximum reproduction".  The cover's from STRANGE SUSPENSE STORIES #35.  Page 302 of the June 2010 Previews, JUN101077.

Unusual Tales - Forbidden Planet

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"Unusual Tales", a series presenting Steve Ditko's comics from 1957 to 1959 that are in the public domain.


"Forbidden Planet" is a 2-page story from Charlton's MYSTERIES OF UNEXPLORED WORLDS #10 [1958].

Not much to say about this one that you can't get just from reading the brief story, but I do like that first page, with the full page space shot and two inset panels, which nicely contrast in the level of detail they show.

Some links to check out:
Buy Ditko's creator-owned work
Find out about the fanzine DITKOMANIA
Check out new and upcoming Ditko publications
Download public domain comics, likely including the one this story is from
scans in this series generally adapted to my personal tastes from those copies

Click images to big-up.


May 27, 2010

Unusual Tales - The Joke

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"Unusual Tales", a series presenting Steve Ditko's comics from 1957 to 1959 that are in the public domain.

"The Joke" is a 5-page story from Charlton's MYSTERIES OF UNEXPLORED WORLDS #10 [1958]. It combines the twin cold-war era fears of the dangers of radiation and infiltration by foreign spies.  The script is a bit too wordy, but a fairly clever concept, and Ditko's art nicely matches the cramped mood.


Some links to check out:
Buy Ditko's creator-owned work
Find out about the fanzine DITKOMANIA
Check out new and upcoming Ditko publications
Download public domain comics, likely including the one this story is from
scans in this series generally adapted to my personal tastes from those copies


Click images to big-up.



New Ditko - Spider-Man reprint with pencils

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Marvel's softcover Masterworks line gets up to The Amazing Spider-Man v4 this week, collecting the last 8 of Ditko's stories of his co-creation, and the first few post-Ditko issues. For the first time, this version also apparently has reproductions of copies of Ditko's pencils for #31. Feel free to comment on that if you get a copy.

May 26, 2010

Unusual Tales - Doorway Into Tomorrow

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"Unusual Tales", a series presenting Steve Ditko's comics from 1957 to 1959 that are in the public domain.

"Doorway Into Tomorrow" is a 5-page story from Charlton's STRANGE SUSPENSE STORIES #39 [1958].

Time travel again, as yet another small minded criminal attempts to use what should be technology worth millions for some petty crime.  And still screws up.  They never learn.

Nothing really exceptional in Ditko's art for this one, just the usual solid storytelling and a few nice bits in the faces.

Some links to check out:
Buy Ditko's creator-owned work
Find out about the fanzine DITKOMANIA
Check out new and upcoming Ditko publications
Download public domain comics, likely including the one this story is from
(scans in this series generally adapted to my personal tastes from those copies)

Click images to big-up.

May 25, 2010

Unusual Tales - The House That Cheered Up

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"Unusual Tales", a series presenting Steve Ditko's comics from 1957 to 1959 that are in the public domain.


"The House That Cheered Up" is a 5-page story from Charlton's MYSTERIES OF UNEXPLORED WORLDS #12 [1959].  It's about a wheelchair bound writer and his wife buying an old crumbling house and find that the condition of the house, his health and his writing ability are are all linked in some odd way.  A bit too sentimental for my taste.

The art is in the sparser style often used at this time, and there's nothing too exciting to draw, but clearly tells the story.

Some links to check out:
Buy Ditko's creator-owned work
Find out about the fanzine DITKOMANIA
Check out new and upcoming Ditko publications
Download public domain comics, likely including the one this story is from
scans in this series generally adapted to my personal tastes from those copies

Click images to big-up.






May 24, 2010

Unusual Tales - The Time Chamber

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"Unusual Tales", a series presenting Steve Ditko's comics from 1957 to 1959 that are in the public domain.

From Charlton's OUT OF THIS WORLD #11 [1959] comes the 5-page "The Time Chamber".

Obviously another variation on time travel, this time an assistant of a scientist continuing the experiments after the scientist dies, but using the machine for his own selfish reasons before working out all the problems.

A few decent bits of storytelling, but overall not one of Ditko's best from the era.  Something looks really different about the inking in several parts of the story.

Some links to check out:
Buy Ditko's creator-owned work
Find out about the fanzine DITKOMANIA
Check out new and upcoming Ditko publications
Download public domain comics, likely including the one this story is from
scans in this series generally adapted to my personal tastes from those copies

Click images to big-up.

 
 

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