December 29, 2010

New Ditko - Dracula and Thunder

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A pair of late entries to the Ditko in 2010 list.

Marvel's TOMB OF DRACULA OMNIBUS VOL. 3 should have a reprint of the 36-page black and white story "The Dimensional Man" from TOMB OF DRACULA #2 [1979].

And if you always wanted to sample some Tower Comics work, DC COMICS PRESENTS THE T.H.U.N.D.E.R. AGENTS #1 has about 100 pages of them from various issues, with the Ditko presumably being "A Matter Of Life And Death" from T.H.U.N.D.E.R. AGENTS #7 [1966].

December 26, 2010

Mad Monsters #1 [1961]

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In the early 1960s Charlton ran a pair of magazines devoted to movie monsters, MAD MONSTERS and HORROR MONSTERS, presumably spurred on by the success of magazines like FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND. On a tangentially Ditko related note, the first issue of MAD MONSTERS featured an 8-page photo preview summarizing the story in KONGA. Ditko had, of course, done the comic book adaptation of the movie, and he'd go on to draw some 14 more issues of the series for Charlton in the next few years.

But much more interesting is the actual Ditko content in MAD MONSTERS #1, starting with a great lurid colour cover of a drooling wolfman. I'm not sure if Ditko did the colouring on this, but it's definitely a notch above Charlton standard.

Ditko also provides the only comics content of the issue, the 3-page story "K".  Done in black-and-white tone, it's a bizarre story about a monster who creates man.  Or something like that.  Anyway, the art is very intricate, even with the fairly shoddy printing, making this a real highlight of Ditko's work from the period.  The skeleton dog that "K" rides in the first page is just amazing, and middle panel of page 2, shown below, is just full of great stuff, from the scary tree to the walking eyeballs to the sexy four-armed woman to the house on the top of the impossible winding path. 



December 25, 2010

Unusual Tales - The King Of Planetoid X

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

"The King Of Planetoid X" is a 7-page story from Charlton's MYSTERIES OF UNEXPLORED WORLDS #7 [1958].  It's been reprinted a few times, but not always successfully, as two of the reprints are missing a page (page 6 both time, oddly), so here are all the pages.

Kind of a convoluted story about the aftermath of interstellar war, when the king of a remote peaceful planetoid is tempted with the promise of great power, if he's willing to assume great responsibility.  Nice story with some great art by Ditko, definitely one of the better stories from that era.  Kind of an unusual layout on page 6, not something you see very often.

But before the story, some links:
Buy Ditko's creator-owned work
Classic 1980s STATIC graphic novel available
Find out about the fanzine DITKOMANIA
Many back issues available
Check out new and upcoming Ditko publications
Softcover Doctor Strange Masterworks 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 on images to enlarge



December 24, 2010

Unusual Tales - Second Hand

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

"Second Hand" is a 5-page story from Charlton's MYSTERIES OF UNEXPLORED WORLDS #7 [1958].

Strange little story about people vanishing and and then returning acting somewhat different, and the conspiracy theories that arise from that.  Very odd ending.  Ditko's art is pretty good, especially some of the close-up faces.  I really like that reporter on page 2 panel 4.

But before the story, some links:
Buy Ditko's creator-owned work
Featuring new characters Miss Eerie, The !?, The Cape and more
Find out about the fanzine DITKOMANIA
Many back issues available
Check out new and upcoming Ditko publications
Softcover Doctor Strange Masterworks 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 on images to enlarge


December 23, 2010

Unusual Tales - The Angry Things

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

"The Angry Things" is the 5-page opening story from Charlton's MYSTERIES OF UNEXPLORED WORLDS #7 [1958], a comic which had four Ditko stories in all.

Cute little offbeat ghost story with some interesting art.  One point of interesting, notice that on the last page the word "wrong" is very clearly a lettering replacement the two times it occurs.  I guess the comic code so prominently mentioned on the first page didn't like the word originally used, which I think you can figure out.  While they were at it they could at least have pointed out the superfluous apostrophe in "it's" on page 2.

But before the story, some links:
Buy Ditko's creator-owned work
New reprint of classic MR. A comic available
Find out about the fanzine DITKOMANIA
Bi-monthly, sometimes includes fan art from Dave Sim, Michael T. Gilbert, Steve Bissette and others
Check out new and upcoming Ditko publications
Recent Spider-Man reprint includes samples of pencil art
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 on images to enlarge


December 22, 2010

Unusual Tales - The Cheapest Steak In Nome

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

"The Cheapest Steak In Nome" is a quick little 2-page story from Charlton's MYSTERIES OF UNEXPLORED WORLDS #7 [1958].

It's set during the gold rush up in Alaska, and a cook who found a way to supply the newly wealthy with what they needed, at a price.  Although when you read it, you'll probably notice that he was probably missing a bigger money making opportunity.

As usual, some great faces from Ditko.

But before the story, some links:
Buy Ditko's creator-owned work
ACT 7 SEVEN, the 12th of Ditko's current series, out soon
Find out about the fanzine DITKOMANIA
For all your Ditko fanzine needs
Check out new and upcoming Ditko publications
THUNDER AGENTS reprints on the way
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 biggy

December 21, 2010

Unusual Tales - The Last Waterhole

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

"The Last Waterhole" is a 5-page story that appeared in Charlton's ROCKY LANE'S BLACK JACK #28 [1959], the last of five issues of the title to feature Ditko art, and hasn't been reprinted in the half-century since.

In this tale, Rocky Lane's faithful horse is on one of his trips out in the wild during a drought, and encounters two outlaws. Not much of a story, but I do like the faces of the two human characters, and the staging of the action of page four is really good.


But before the story, some links:
Buy Ditko's creator-owned work
ACT 6, featuring Miss Eerie, now available
Find out about the fanzine DITKOMANIA
In your mailbox bi-monthly
Check out new and upcoming Ditko publications
DITKO OMNIBUS featuring Shade, Stalker and more in 2011
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

Clickening enables enbiggening


December 18, 2010

Ditko in 2010 wrapup

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There's a slim chance that one or two minor books with Ditko reprints will still show up this year, but otherwise, time for your year in Ditko summary.

As usual, new books are listed as they're announced and released over here.  If you want details on the contents of any of these publications, I refer you to Brian Franczak's invaluable Ditko Fever site.


The Ditko/Snyder publishing venture continued at a bi-monthly pace, with a mix of new and classic material.  What the six books for 2010 were depends on your definition, since MR. A came out in 2009 but was dated January 2010, while ACT 6 is out now but is dated January 2011.


Mr. A. [Robin Snyder and Steve Ditko]
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 Cover Series [Robin Snyder and Steve Ditko]
Ditko #5-Five Act [Robin Snyder and Steve Ditko]
Act 6  [Robin Snyder and Steve Ditko]

There was also some Ditko content in Robin Snyder's monthly newsletter, THE COMICS, with a 20th Anniversary drawing in the February issue and a page from an unpublished early 1980s Flash Gordon story (script by George Kashdan) in the October issue.

The Comics v21 #1 [Robin Snyder]
The Comics v21 #10 [Robin Snyder]



Rob Imes continued his fanzine DITKOMANIA this year, with six issues out and a lot of great reading about Ditko, plus some nice fan art (including some Dave Sim covers of a few of Ditko's most recent creations) and sometime rare Ditko art you probably haven't seen before.  Subscriptions, back issues of most issues since the 2008 revival, and select reprints of earlier issues, also available.

Ditkomania #77 - #82 [Rob Imes]


DC only had one major Ditko reprint out, but it was a big one, probably my choice for book of the year (since I already had copies of the material in the MR. A reprint). The hardcover CREEPER BY STEVE DITKO collection had pretty much every page from Ditko's various stints on the character over the years, including the Showcase issue never really published except as a black&white photocopy.

Possibly out next week is a reprint of some 1960s Tower Comics stuff that may include one or more of Ditko's stories.

2011 should have some more interesting stuff, including reprints of Shade, Stalker and various short stories, and a reprint of the 1980s T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents revival with a few Ditko stories.


Marvel wins the quantity award, as usual, mostly oft-reprinted stuff, but the hardcover Masterworks line had the third volumes of TALES TO ASTONISH and TALES OF SUSPENSE reprints, which included a few never-reprinted stories.  The softcover Masterworks line had major Ditko work in the fourth and final Ditko SPIDER-MAN volume (including copies of some Ditko pencils for one issue), most of Ditko's DOCTOR STRANGE work in that first volume, some IRON MAN in that collection and some minor work on DAREDEVIL #1 reprinted there.  Doesn't look like either hardcover or softcover series has any more Ditko in the near future.

A minor but previously un-reprinted Nighthawk short story in ESSENTIAL DEFENDERS v5, a Ditko reprint backing up some new material in the SPIDER-MAN: FEVER collection and some early Kraven stories mixed in with new pages in SPIDER-MAN: ORIGIN OF THE HUNTER wrap up Marvel's year to date, with a Dracula reprint in the overdue TOMB OF DRACULA OMNIBUS v3 still to come, maybe next week.



And from other publishers reprinting work they didn't publish originally, Titan's THE SIMON AND KIRBY SUPERHEROES includes a reprint of the 1953 CAPTAIN 3-D #1 (in colour, not 3-D), to which Ditko contributed some amount of inking or backgrounds.  Dark Horse included the balance of Ditko's 1980s Indiana Jones stories in one book, and had some redundant reprints of reprints in their collections of old Warren comics. IDW had Ditko's 1990s Big Boy story in a collection of children's comics. Abrams had some Ditko covers and a story in their entry in the pre-code horror reprints derby, and Pure Imagination and Fantagraphics both had public domain Ditko reprint collections.

December 12, 2010

Jungle Jim #22 [1969]

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Jungle Jim was an adventure comic strip that began in 1934, illustrated by Alex Raymond and running with Raymond's more famous Flash Gordon.  It lasted under various artists until 1954, and also had a comic book series from Dell in the 1950s.  In the late 1960s Charlton briefly published the various King Features comic strips, including a seven issue run of Jungle Jim.  Some of the work was done by Wallace Wood, who hired various other artists to help out, including Steve Ditko.

In this first issue of the run, Ditko pencils the final story, the 7-page "The Wizard Of Dark Mountain".  Bhob Stewart wrote and did layouts, which he talks about briefly over here, and Wood (probably with input from whoever else was in the studio at the time) did the inks.

A serviceable story, as Stewart notes inspired more by Dr. No than the original Jungle Jim comics, where Jim and his sidekick Kolu bail out when their plane malfunctions over an unexplored region. They find a village of tiny people, whose Princess has been captured by a "dark wizard" who turns out to be a renegade Chinese communist scientist looking to launch a missile at New York as part of his plan to rule the world.

Very attractive art, as you'd expect from Ditko and Wood at an especially creatively fertile period for both of them.  Strong heroes, attractive women, nefarious villains and a lot of fisticuffs.



The cover was taken from a blown-up, cropped and re-touched panel from page 5.


New Ditko - UNEXPLORED WORLDS

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UNEXPLORED WORLDS: THE STEVE DITKO ARCHIVES VOL. 2, the latest Ditko reprint book, is now available from Fantagraphics. Ditko Fever has a full run-down of the contents. Mostly Charlton 1957-1958, but also a pair of Marvel stories from 1956.

December 10, 2010

Upcoming Ditko - DITKO OMNIBUS v1 from DC

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This popped up on Amazon recently, but now there are some details:

THE STEVE DITKO OMNIBUS VOL. 1 STARRING SHADE THE CHANGING MAN HC

Writers: Steve Ditko, Michael Fleisher, Paul Levitz, Otto Binder, Jack Oleck, Coram Nobis, Jack C. Harris, Robert M. Ingersoll, Len Wein, Mike Barr, Robert Kanigher, Steve Utley, George Kashdan, Joey Cavalieri, Stan Timmons, Sheldon Mayer, J.M. DeMatteis, Dan Mishkin, Gary Cohn and David Allikas

Artists: Steve Ditko, Wallace Wood, Sal Trapani, Mike Royer, Vince Colletta, Wayne Howard, Ernie Chan and Gary Martin

Collects: SHADE THE CHANGING MAN #1-8, STALKER #1-4 and stories from STRANGE ADVENTURES, PLOP, HOUSE OF MYSTERY, HOUSE OF SECRETS, WEIRD WAR TALES, SECRETS OF HAUNTED HOUSE, TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED, TIME WARP, GHOSTS and MYSTERY IN SPACE

$59.99 US, 456 pg, on sale August 2011

Looks like the intention is to include all of Shade and Stalker and every non-series short Ditko ever drew for DC. If so, I hope someone reminds DC about the stories intended for SHADE #9, including an Odd Man back-up, that appeared in CANCELLED COMIC CAVALCADE #2 (the Creeper story in the same "book" wasn't mentioned in the early promotional material for the recent Creeper collection but appeared in the final book, albeit in black and white). Might also want to remind them about the story intended for PLOP which appeared in AMAZING WORLD OF DC COMICS #13 [1976], which is probably by far the most difficult and expensive 1970s Ditko work for DC to acquire a copy of.

And if that someone could also remind them that Ditko drew entries for Shade and Stalker in DC's first WHO'S WHO series (the latter inked by Joe Orlando), it would be a bonus to have those included.

And hopefully they remember to include oddities like Ditko's only cover to the DC mystery books, and this thing.

Also, I think "Coram Nobis" was a pseudonym (for David Vern, according to Jerry Bails's site), so they might want to verify that before publication so he can be properly credited.

Anyway, sounds like a good collection.  For the record, if they include all the appropriate stuff mentioned above, that'll leave just over 400 pages of unreprinted Ditko work for DC, a lot of  The Hawk & The Dove and Starman, plus various other things.  A few of them might be awkward to reprint just the Ditko pages, especially the Wonder Woman story (11 pages of Ditko spread throughout a 64 page story) and the Green Lantern story that's one chapter of a long story, so if there is a volume 2 it'll be interesting to see how they handle it.

December 3, 2010

Upcoming Ditko - ACT 7 SEVEN

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Coming soon from Ditko, making an even dozen in this series that began with THE AVENGING MIND in 2008. The return of The !?, obviously.  More of Grey Negotiator.  Possibly the hint of a further installment of The P Masks that began in ACT 6.  Here as always for more details on the available Snyder/Ditko publications.

December 2, 2010

New Ditko - ACT 6 and more

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Now available, ACT 6, the latest in Ditko's series of brand new 32-page comics, featuring the return of Miss Eerie, The Cape, The Outline, The Grey Negotiator and an intriguing new feature called The P Masks. Details on it and other Snyder/Ditko publications over here, as always.

Look for a preview of the cover to the next book tomorrow.

Also released recently, the October issue (v21#10) of Robin Snyder's fanzine THE COMICS features an unpublished page from the Flash Gordon story "Web of Treachery", written by George Kashdan and drawn by Ditko, intended for issue #40 of the series back in 1982 (if you're going to be in Harrisburg, PA, go here for more). Subscription details for THE COMICS also here.

And last week saw the softcover edition of the MARVEL MASTERWORKS DOCTOR STRANGE v1, which comes a few issues short of Ditko's full run on the character.

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