June 29, 2010

--Link-- Anyone for a PA road trip?

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Read this.

Follow the logical links.

More on this later. If anyone lives near Harrisburg, get in touch...

June 28, 2010

Unusual Tales - Menace Of The Invisibles

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


"Menace Of The Invisibles" is a 3-page story from Charlton's THIS MAGAZINE IS HAUNTED #13 [1957].  It has only been reprinted in GHOST MANOR #54 [1981].

Dr. Haunt has a great looking title page illustration this issue, but actually takes a break from narrating the story in order to facilitate the surprise ending.  Anyway, it's yet another tale of a thwarted alien invasion of Earth, which apparently used to happen on a weekly basis back in the 1950s.   Good looking story, in addition to Dr. Haunt on the first page I really like the layout and shadows of page 2.

But first, some links:
Buy Ditko's creator-owned work
THE COVER SERIES?  Your guess is as good as mine...
Find out about the fanzine DITKOMANIA
Next issue, Marvel in the 1980s, coming soon
Check out new and upcoming Ditko publications
Complete CREEPER collection now available
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

Enlargenate by clickizing

June 26, 2010

Unusual Tales - The Drums

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

"The Drums" was first published in Charlton's THIS MAGAZINE IS HAUNTED #13 [1957].  The 5-page Ditko story has only been reprinted once so far, in GHOST MANOR #54 [1981].

Jungle adventure told to us by Dr. Haunt this time around, as a crooked man gains the confidence of an African tribe in order to steal their idol.  His plan is foolproof, but for the odd twist revealed at the end.

Some really nice artwork in this one, especially the way the sound effects are integrated into the art and some really nice texture on the trees and disorienting angles.

But first, some links:
Buy Ditko's creator-owned work
Classic MR. A reprint available
Find out about the fanzine DITKOMANIA
Coming your way bi-monthly, PayPal available
Check out new and upcoming Ditko publications
Big TOMB OF DRACULA reprint with b&w Ditko reprint coming soon
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

Embiggen via clicks


June 25, 2010

--Link-- Ditko Spectre pencils and Nowlan inks

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Kevin Nowlan presents another page of pencils and inks for the Spectre story he inked over Ditko.

June 21, 2010

Marvel Tales #164 [1984]

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The early-1980s monthly reprint of the classic Spider-Man comics gets up to THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #26 [1965] in this issue, with the cover and 20-page story "The Man In The Crime-Master's Mask" from that issue, Ditko doing plot and artwork.  The first half of the issue is heavy on the Parker stuff, at home, work and school, as Peter is without his costume due to events from the previous issue, and eventually has to resort to an ill-fitting Spidey suit bought at a costume shop, which provides both some visually comedy and turns out to be fortuitous at the end of the issue, as he gets involved in a battle for control of the criminal underground between the Crime-Master and the Green Goblin. 

A great balance of the the various innovative aspects of the second half of the original Spider-Man run, with Peter Parker's two worlds developing, some clever long-term plotting and some great character bits.

Also in this issue, the Green Goblin pin-up from THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #1 [1964].  That original flying broomstick of his isn't quite as spiffy as the glider he'd get by the time of the main story.  The cover has the usual alterations for format, most noticeably flipping the Green Goblin from one side of the page to the other.


June 20, 2010

Unusual Tales - The Faceless Ones

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"Unusual Tales" is an on-going presentation of public domain Ditko comics work originally published from 1957 to 1959.

"The Faceless Ones" is a 5-page story that was published in Charlton's THIS MAGAZINE IS HAUNTED #12 [1957]. Since then it's only been seen in  GHOST MANOR #54 [1981].

There's an obvious point of interest in this story from the title, when you consider one of Ditko's super-hero creations a decade later.  Other than that, it's a nice little science fiction short with a twist ending that provides Ditko with some nice visuals to realize.  Whoever the writer is, he added some atypical poetic flourishes to Dr. Haunt's narration.  Check out that introduction, "You mistook my dry voice for the thin scratching of dead leaves across your windowpane".

Some links:
Buy Ditko's creator-owned work
What is THE COVER SERIES?  Your guess is as good as mine
Find out about the fanzine DITKOMANIA
Coming your way bi-monthly, PayPal available
Check out new and upcoming Ditko publications
Spider-Man / Doctor Strange team-up reprint coming
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

Clicks make bigs



June 17, 2010

Unusual Tales - A Strange Kiss

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"Unusual Tales" is an on-going presentation of public domain Ditko comics work originally published from 1957 to 1959.

"A Strange Kiss" is a 4-page story that was published in Charlton's UNUSUAL TALES #10 [1958]. It hasn't been reprinted in over 30 years, when Charlton printed it in SPACE ADVENTURES #12 [1979].

Attractively drawn if somewhat enigmatic little fantasy story about a man sent in to find the explanation for some strange happenings in a lead mine.  I think that imbalanced vertigo effect on the bottom of the first page is especially nice.


Some links:
Buy Ditko's creator-owned work
Mysterious title THE COVER SERIES coming soon
Find out about the fanzine DITKOMANIA
Latest issue on women in Ditko's work
Check out new and upcoming Ditko publications
Various Warren reprints now available
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

Clicky to biggy



June 15, 2010

Upcoming Ditko - THE COVER SERIES

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The next Ditko/Snyder co-publication will be titled THE COVER SERIES. Cover price $5, release imminent.

Now you know as much as I do...

Feel free to speculate on what the contents will be in the comments, I guess.

Mail order info and a list of the prior still-available books over here, as usual.

Upcoming Ditko - Spider-Man / Doctor Strange team-up reprint

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There's an upcoming reprint of a recent team-up between Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, and as they occasionally do Marvel is including the original story on that theme in the collected edition.



SPIDER-MAN: FEVER TPB
Written by BRENDAN MCCARTHY
Penciled by BRENDAN MCCARTHY
Cover by BRENDAN MCCARTHY
One of comics' most innovative and original voices, Brendan McCarthy, brings SPIDER-MAN: FEVER – a truly unique and surreal story evoking the classic Silver-Age psychedelia of Steve Ditko's Dr Strange. In FEVER, Spider-Man is abducted by a depraved tribe of spider-demons to a bizarre dimension, where he is to be eaten alive. Dr. Strange goes on a perilous occult quest to rescue his friend – and tangles with some very peculiar characters along the way. Plus: this collection also includes a special reprint of one of Spidey’s earliest adventures into the wondrous world of Dr. Strange! Collecting SPIDER-MAN: FEVER #1-3 and AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #2.
96 PGS. $14.99

June 13, 2010

Unusual Tales - Father, Help Me

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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 #6 [1957] is the 4-page story "Father, Help Me".  The story hasn't been reprinted since Charlton's MONSTER HUNTERS #14 [1978].

This story has a great first page.  That top tier is some good clear silent storytelling, with the sound effect working well with the artwork.  The way the title and art work together in the middle is clever and eye-catching and that large panel is just a beautifully render bit of body language and period clothing. The rest of the story doesn't quite live up to that first page, but it's solid with some good use of shadows. The twist ending is really a bit out of left field, but in a good way.


Linkville:
Buy Ditko's creator-owned work
MR. A reprint of classic tales available
Find out about the fanzine DITKOMANIA
Bi-monthly straight to your mailbox
Check out new and upcoming Ditko publications
Latest Spider-Man reprint includes extensive look at Ditko's pencils
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.


June 10, 2010

Unusual Tales - Moon-Run

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"Unusual Tales" is an on-going presentation of public domain Ditko comics work originally published from 1957 to 1959.  Previously, we've looked at all of the available never-reprinted stories from that era. Until I can find the rest of those, we move on to the reprinted work.  Charlton itself reprinted a lot of this material, mostly from 1978 to 1985 when most of their books were all-reprint.  In fact, thirteen of the stories have never been reprinted since Charlton got out of the comics business a quarter-century ago, so we'll start with those.

"Moon-Run" is a 5-page story first published in SPACE ADVENTURES #24 [1958] from Charlton.  Technically it was reprinted in CAPTAIN ATOM #79 [1966], but that reprint reduced the story down to fill a 3-page slot, so a considerable amount of this artwork hasn't seen print in over 50 years.

A little science fiction parable about a future where robots are commonplace, and some of the issues that arise when there are advancements that can make them into androids indistinguishable from humans.  And as we all know, "even an android can cry".  Wait, that's from something else...  Anyway, nice story with a nice subtle bit in the middle, although I'm not sure about the level of astronomical awareness that has a flight from the earth to the moon can run into meteors which threaten to send it hurtling into the sun.

The linkage:
Buy Ditko's creator-owned work
Look for a new book announcement soon
Find out about the fanzine DITKOMANIA
Latest issue on women in Ditko's work
Check out new and upcoming Ditko publications
Full reprint of Ditko's CREEPER now available
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



June 9, 2010

Ghostly Tales #80 [1970]

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A nice issue, with the 8-page "The Treasure Of The Swamp" by Ditko appearing between two stories by Pat Boyette, who's contributions are usually the second best reason to pick up 1970s Charlton comics.

This story features a geologist sent in to assess the oil-drilling potential of a swamp to decide if it's worth it for his company to drain the area and bring in drilling equipment.  His hired local guide "Witless Willy" takes him deep into the swamp, where they're forced to spend the night in a dilapidated shack.  A night of spectral figures and an alligator attack reveal something about Willy and convince the geologist to submit a negative report on the oil potential of the area and appreciate the natural beauty of the swamp.

There's a topical joke to be made here, but I can't put my finger on it...

A very attractive story, with some great renderings of the flora and fauna of the swamp, some nice moody lighting effects and some nice bits of action in the middle, especially the amusing scene of both man and alligator being thrown back by an unseen force.



June 8, 2010

Tales of Suspense #19 [1961]

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This issue includes the 5-page story "The Haunted Paper" by Ditko. A clever thief manages to always have an alibi for the cops, but when the taxman is after him has to skip town. He changes his appearance and uses his unearned wealth to buy a small-town newspaper. There he finds that "mistakes" made by his elderly typesetter are in fact accurate predictions of the future, a power he's determined to understand and exploit.

A cute little morality play so common in stories of that era.  Some really nice artwork by Ditko in this one, with the usual eye-catching splash page and some nice action bits with the criminal on the run from the law on page two.  The highlight of the story for me is page four, with the various renderings of the old typesetter being a great example of Ditko's style at the time, with a lot of character and emotion in the face and some really fine inking, especially in that last panel.



June 5, 2010

--Link-- Me on ART OF...

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Some comments from me on the recent ART OF DITKO book from IDW. Short form, fairly good selection of material from the vast sea of Ditko work for Charlton, though a bit heavy on readily available stories for those already into Ditko, marred by some unfortunate editorial lapses (in addition to the most obvious one) and just average production. Worth buying at the price, but the material deserves better.

June 1, 2010

Machine Man #15 [1980]

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This issue starts the second half of Ditko's ten issue run on the Jack Kirby created Machine Man series, with Tom DeFalco taking over the writing.  The 17-page story "Kill Me or Cure Me" includes the Thing and Human Torch from the Fantastic Four, as well as a brief cameo from the rest of the FF. Ditko's version of the Thing always seems a bit off, but I do like his Torch.

Anyway, MM is working for an insurance company and gets sent to an industrial accident at a lab exploring alternative energy.  He uses his powers to help in the rescue, including a nice sequence where he takes off his leg to use it to jack up some debris, and then encounters a scientist who has been turned into a gaseous form and seems to have gone insane from the loss of her humanity.  While MM is damaged and getting some repairs from "Gears" Garvin, an inventive mechanic he fortunately crashes in front of the battle is taken to the Baxter Building, and when MM catches up we get the usual Marvel misunderstanding and fight between heroes when they first meet.

Enjoyable little issue.  Ditko comes up with a lot of really good visuals for Machine Man's powers and designs a cool little one-shot villain for the story. 

Ditko does full art on the story and also does the cover for this issue.



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