July 29, 2010

Unusual Tales - The River's Wrath

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

Steve Ditko's "The River's Wrath" is a 5-page story that first appeared in Charlton's OUT OF THIS WORLD #6 [1957] (the cover of which is among those featured in the new THE COVER SERIES published by Ditko and Robin Snyder). It was reprinted in SCARY TALES #46 [1984]

Another of the more dramatically written Charlton stories of the era, with the story of a sentient river taking its revenge on those who would try to contain its power.  Ditko captures the mood nicely, with that really dramatic moment of destruction in the splash panel and later in the story with the dam breaking. Very entertaining overall.

Some links to check out:
Buy Ditko's creator-owned work
The aforementioned THE COVER SERIES now available
Find out about the fanzine DITKOMANIA
Bi-monthly and packed with rare art, fan art and articles, delivered to your door
Check out new and upcoming Ditko publications
THE CREEPER complete Ditko hardcover 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

Click to unleash the forces of nature.


July 26, 2010

New Ditko - THE COVER SERIES

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Now available, THE COVER SERIES, the latest publication from Robin Snyder and Steve Ditko.  More details on that soon, but you can guess the general idea of it from the title and the cover.

Ordering details for this and the many previous Snyder/Ditko co-publications are over here, as usual, and it should soon be available from retailers who have been ordering direct from Snyder (interested retailers should contact him for terms, minimums and discounts).  I'll have copies for sale soon at the usual places.

Courtesy Ditko Fever, here's a full list of contents.

July 24, 2010

Unusual Tales - The Hammer Of Thor

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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 story "The Hammer Of Thor", though you may be familiar with it from its reprinting in THANE OF BAGARTH #24 [1985].

For my own comments on the story, I'll refer you to this post.  More interesting as an historical curiosity than for its own merits, but there is some very nice illustration by Ditko in his more economical style.

Some links to check out:
Buy Ditko's creator-owned work
THE COVER SERIES on the way, details soon
Find out about the fanzine DITKOMANIA
Bi-monthly, delivered to your door
Check out new and upcoming Ditko publications
Affordable colour softcover of most SD Doctor Strange stories late this year
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 to embiggen, or risk the wrath of Odin.


July 20, 2010

New Ditko - Ditkomania #80

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Now arriving in the mailboxes of subscribers is DITKOMANIA #80, where editor/publisher Rob Imes turns the spotlight on Ditko's later work for Marvel, as you can see by the cover including Machine Man, ROM, Captain Marvel and Captain Universe. There's an extensive checklist of Ditko's work for Marvel from 1979 to 1998, several in-depth articles on the work, a variety of fan-art, and unless you have a really good collection of 1980 fanzines a few pieces of Ditko artwork you may not have seen before. All that plus a review of Ditko's latest, ACT 4, and a 4-page letter column.

Ordering details over here.

July 19, 2010

Unusual Tales - The Green Peace

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

"The Green Peace" is a 5-page story that appeared in Charlton's THIS MAGAZINE IS HAUNTED #16 [1958]. They reprinted it once, in SCARY TALES #46 [1984].

This is one of the better written Charlton stories of the 1950s that Ditko drew, with a bit of poetry in the script and subtlety in the plot. Ditko does it justice with a very nice art job with a lot of attention to detail in the undersea background and in the diving equipment. I especially like page 3, with that long first panel of the active seabed and the delicately shaded images of the old man's face framing the recounting of evolutionary history (including a brief look at some dinosaurs by Ditko, always a treat). The fish are also suitably creepy.

Some links to check out:
Buy Ditko's creator-owned work
Many classic books available, more on the way
Find out about the fanzine DITKOMANIA
Bi-monthly, delivered to your door
Check out new and upcoming Ditko publications
Recent CREEPER reprint include rare Cancelled Comic Cavalcade story
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 enter the deep...


July 11, 2010

Unusual Tales - Night Call

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

"Night Call" is a 4-page story by Steve Ditko, first published in Charlton's MYSTERIES OF UNEXPLORED WORLDS #6 [1957]. It's been reprinted once since then, in BEYOND THE GRAVE #16 [1984].

A pretty run of the mill spooky story about a doctor who has to go out on an emergency call late one foggy night.

Visually this story is interesting for a far more extensive use of mechanical tones on the second page than is common in Ditko's work from the era.  Here are a few other stories from the 1950s with such tones.  Ditko does seem to use them in a very complicated and effective way, which scans at this size don't really do justice to, especially when combined with the off-register colour printing, I'm afraid.  Even with that, you can see a lot of detail in how he uses the tones to give the perception of light coming through the fog.

Some links to check out:
Buy Ditko's creator-owned work
Lots of great stuff available
Find out about the fanzine DITKOMANIA
New issue, focus on later Marvel work, coming this month
Check out new and upcoming Ditko publications
Complete Spider-Man now in softcover Marvel Masterworks volumes
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

Clicken to embiggen.



July 7, 2010

Unusual Tales - Will Power

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



"Will Power" is a 3-page story that Charlton published in UNUSUAL TALES #8 [1957], and later reprinted in SCARY TALES #41 [1983]. If you don't have either of those handy, it's down the page a bit.

Nice little fantasy story about love and obsession and will, with a lot of nice things for Ditko to draw in the few pages.  I really like his textures on the statue, and the storytelling on the last page, with the business with the flower and the lead-up to the reveal at the end is really good.

Some links to check out:
Buy Ditko's creator-owned work
Lots of great stuff available
Find out about the fanzine DITKOMANIA
New issue, focus on later Marvel work, coming this month
Check out new and upcoming Ditko publications
Complete Spider-Man now in softcover Marvel Masterworks volumes
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

Enlarge images by using all your will power.  Or click on them, whatever works for you...

July 6, 2010

U.S. 1 #12 [1984]

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Well, what can you say about U.S. 1? A short-lived series from Marvel based on a toy-line, Ditko was brought in to do the final issue, published the same month he began his long run on a more successful toy-based comic, ROM. The 23-page story with the somewhat inspired title "The Truck Stops Here" is written by Al Milgrom and inked by Danny Bulanadi.

This being the only issue of the series I've read, I'm sure I'm missing many of the subtleties, but there's a lot of expository recapping that explains the story of aliens coming to Earth, looking for a human for an interplanetary mission, picking the wrong guy from a pair of trucker brothers, leading to this point where U.S. Archer has to race his truck U.S. 1 around the world against his brother Jefferson, aka The Highwayman, driving Blackrig.



And I almost hate to say it, but it's not bad. Milgrom seems perfectly aware of how absurd all this is (I hope...), and plays it for the camp value (like the CB radio embedded in U.S.'s skull). Ditko does a solid job with some dense storytelling, and while most of the characters and settings don't lend themselves to anything flashy, he does a good job with the alien and the space fleet. Even Danny Bulanadi, definitely not my favourite Ditko inker of the era (he does most of Ditko's INDIANA JONES issues) does a decent job here.

July 5, 2010

Get Smart #3 [1966]

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This is the second of Ditko's two issues of the Dell comic book based on the TV series GET SMART.  He also did two issues of HOGAN'S HEROES at the same time, as well an issue of one of Dell's original features, NUKLA, all with Sal Trapani on the inks.

After a photo cover, the inside cover features a 1-page black and white story "The Raid", which is a nice little vignette capturing the mood of the series, with some nice humour in the artwork, and as usual the uncoloured artwork on slick paper stock used for the covers is much more pleasing to the eye than the crudely coloured interiors on newsprint.

The rest of the issue is the 31-page "The Nuclear Gumball Caper", with Agents 86 and 99 sent by the Chief to find a small nuclear device created by KAOS.  I think the story is a bit of an improvement over the previous issue, more in keeping with the flavour of the show, but the art is a bit weaker. The amount of Ditko that comes through varies pretty wildly, with very little in some of the faces, but when it comes through in the body language it's really entertaining.

Plus that Ditko bird is pretty cool.

Like the previous issue, I can't really recommend it unless you've exhausted most of the rest of the Ditko you want to read, but if you find an affordable copy it's worth a look.


July 2, 2010

Unusual Tales - The Night They Learned The Truth

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

"The Night They Learned The Truth" is a 5-page story from Charlton's OUT OF THIS WORLD #5 [1957]. They would reprint it 25 years later in GHOST MANOR #62 [1982], and that's the last time it saw print.

This starts off as a typical "small village misunderstands and persecutes the outsider who moves into that mysterious mountain-top house on the outskirts of town" story, but has one of the weirdest twists to such a story I've ever seen.  Very well told by Ditko, capturing the angry mob nicely.


Some links to check out:
Buy Ditko's creator-owned work
Many classic books available
Find out about the fanzine DITKOMANIA
New issue, focus on later Marvel work, out soon
Check out new and upcoming Ditko publications
Spider-Man reprint with full issue of pencil photocopies 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

Click images to learn the truth

July 1, 2010

New Ditko - Mid-year update

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Catching up on the various new and reprint Ditko publications, it's been a pretty prolific year so far, with much more to come.  In terms of new stuff,  his on-going series of releases with Robin Snyder have continued, with three new releases, plus a page in Snyder's newsletter in January.  Expect a few more publications before the end of the year.

A Ditko Act Two [Robin Snyder and Steve Ditko]
A Ditko Act 3 [Robin Snyder and Steve Ditko]
Act 4 [Robin Snyder and Steve Ditko]
The Comics v21 #1 [Robin Snyder]

And the bi-monthly Ditko fanzine got out its scheduled three issues, with another one expected to be mailed out in the next week


Ditkomania #77 - #79 [Rob Imes]

Big reprint release is a complete hardcover of Ditko's Creeper work, including the original series and his various returns to it, including one story that was never published before in any but the most technical sense.

The Creeper by Steve Ditko HC [DC]

Dark Horse continues to pick up old comics from other publishers, presenting reprints of reprints of some 1960s Warren work and  some LucasFilm licensed work originally published by Marvel.

Indiana Jones Omnibus: The Further Adventures #3 [Dark Horse]
Creepy Archives #5 [Dark Horse]

IDW has a book of reprints of comics for children, and include Ditko's 1997 story for BIG BOY.

Golden Collection of Krazy Kool Klassic Kids Komics [IDW] 

And Marvel has a whole bunch of stuff, as usual, mostly in their new softcover re-issues of the Masterworks line, something in their on-going hardcover line and a one-shot comic reprinting some Kraven stories with some new pages, which I'm sure someone thinks  is a good idea.  Most noteworthy, the Spider-Man v4 softcover includes copies of the pencils for one of the issues, in various stages of completion.

Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man v4 Tradepaperback [Marvel]
Marvel Masterworks: Daredevil v1 Tradepaperback [Marvel]
Marvel Masterworks: Iron Man v1 Tradepaperback [Marvel]
Marvel Masterworks: Atlas Era Tales To Astonish Vol. 3 HC [Marvel]
Spider-Man: Origin of the Hunter [Marvel]

[note Marvel Masterworks: The Fantastic Four v3 Tradepaperback removed from the list, I didn't realize the minor Ditko content in the original hardcover of that book had been shifted to v2 in more recent editions]

Still a lot more to come in 2010, including more Ditko/Snyder publications, most of the Doctor Strange stories in a colour softcover and various other Marvel books with partial Ditko content, a few public domain reprints from various publishers, perhaps some more Warren reprints of reprints from Dark Horse (are they going to eventually get to reprints of reprints of reprints?).  Updates will be posted here, as usual.

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