December 14, 2023

New Ditko - TONIGHT I'LL DREAM OF YOU (1973 Charlton reprints)


The growing library of print-on-demand books from SD Comics continues to look at Ditko's work 50 years ago with TONIGHT I'LL DREAM OF YOU, a collection of his 1973 work for Charlton, primarily written by Joe Gill. Included is the classic first Killjoy story written and drawn by Ditko, both in the original colour version and the revised version from later reprints.

Previous posts on some of the stories:

GHOSTLY TALES #101 [1973]
HAUNTED #12 [1973]
E-MAN #2 [1973]

Freshly printed copies are available from various booksellers, use the ISBN 978-1945307379.

November 29, 2023

Warp #3 [1983]


WARP #3 [1983] has "A Masque In The Hand", the second of the three-part "The Faceless Ones" story by Jack C. Harris and Steve Ditko.  After a scene on Paragwen's original world giving some background on her quest, and then a recap of the first story in rhyming couplets, we catch up with Paragwen and the Faceless Ones arriving from Earth to a fantasy realm, just in time to rescue the local King from an attack by a bird controlled by his brother and a wizard. The Masque appears in this world as a falconer's gauntlet so Paragwen's quest intersects with the King's interests.

Very dense little story that plays to a lot of Ditko's strengths

The background of this series, plus pencil artwork and more, is one of over a dozen Ditko features you can find more about in Jack C. Harris' recent book WORKING WITH DITKO.

November 28, 2023

Space Adventures #13 [1979]

SPACE ADVENTURES #13 [1979] is from early in Charlton's reprint era from 1978 to 1984, during which they published very few original comics but still averaged two books with Ditko work every month.  This issue reprints a trio of stories from OUTER SPACE #1 [1968], including the Ditko illustrated "His Own Little World" (uncredited but possibly written by Joe Gill).

Great opening page on this one, with a large establishing shot of a spaceship cutting straight to a classic Ditko fistfight in progress.  The story involves Rudd, the second in command of a patrol ship hijacking the ship to an uninhabited world that he wants to rule for himself, using an invention that allows him to duplicate anything that he can think of.  Of course, his choices of what to duplicate are questionable.

Fun little story, the ending is maybe a bit... of its time, but the road there is fun, with a lot of great things for Ditko to draw, including crashing ships and cute aliens.

November 27, 2023

Coyote #10 [1985]

Three years after it began in FANTASY ILLUSTRATED #1 [1982] the four part story of The Djinn by Steve Ditko and Steve Englehart ends in COYOTE #10 [1985] with the 12-page story "Riddle Mystery Enigma", inked by Art Nichols.

I think it was a bit of an underwhelming ending for a story which started off pretty promising.  It's solid 1980s Ditko work, but he's not given as many interesting settings to draw as he was earlier, and I get the feeling that Englehart kind of rushed the ending in fewer pages than he planned so he could get ahead to a place to include the character in his Coyote story.

This story was reprinted in THE COYOTE COLLECTION #4 [2007].

November 26, 2023

E-Man #2 [1973]

E-MAN #2 [1973] backs up the lead story by Joe Staton and Nicola Cuti with a new character, Killjoy, in an untitled and uncredited 8-page story.  Obviously it's by Steve Ditko (credited with both writing and art in contemporaneous issues of THE COMIC READER), and for convenience  let's call it "Killjoy And The Flame".

The story opens up with three single page scenes, as villains Robber Hood, General Disaster and Jungle Jake (and their various themed henchmen) find their capers foiled by a silent acrobatic hero named Killjoy. After being bailed out thanks to the Mr. Hart of the "Foundation To Protect The Guilty From Justice" they team-up to defeat Killjoy, joined by the mystery woman The Flame.

The two original Killjoy stories (the second in E-MAN #4) are a highlight of Ditko's work of the career, a melding of his mainstream super-hero work, his independent philosophical work and his often over-looked sense of humour into a seamless package.  The second story was actually one of my earliest exposures to Ditko, so will always be more dear to me, but this is also great.

Ditko acquired the rights to the story at some point and did a few reprints of it in black and white with a few minor shading additions over the years, most recently in THE HERO COMICS NO. 26 [2018].

November 2, 2023

October 18, 2023



Now available from the usual sources, TALES OF THE MYSTERIOUS TRAVELER the latest in the revolving anthology series by SD Publishing and their Famous Comics imprint. This is the first conventionally published book from the publisher (not including their extensive and growing print-on-demand library) in a while not to be funded by a kickstarter campaign in advance, so hopefully those used to getting them via those campaigns are aware and have made other arrangements.

Unusually not a Ditko cover on this one, instead a nice reprise of a 1975 Charlton cover by Enrique Nieto. Ditko is represented inside with a trio of stories, one Traveler story from the 1950s, one meant for this title from the 1980s, but eventually published in  an early SD Publishing book and a short bit from the PUBLIC SERVICE PACKAGE, plus a short essay.  

There's also some (mostly) reprint material (which many people might not have seen before) by Robert Kanigher, Charles Nicholas, Gary Kato, Robin Snyder, Rodin Rodriguez, Henry Boltinoff, Joe Gill, Joshua Warren and Nieto, essays by Nick Caputo and Rodney Schroeter and a long letter column.

Not Ditko, but also of interest, the 13th book of SD Publishing's print-on-demand library is the first non-Ditkocentric one.  HOW TO MAKE MONEY WRITING COMICS MAGAZINES 80th Anniversary Edition by Robert Kanigher is a new improved edition of the ground-breaking 1943 book by the legendary comics writer, creator of Sgt. Rock, Enemy Ace, The Haunted Tank, The Metal Men, The Flash (Barry Allen) and many more. This includes the full text of the hard-to-find original book with some visual improvements (including a copy of the Captain Marvel comics story that was included just as a script in the original). That takes up about 100 pages, there are more than 100 more, with a look at Kanigher's 1940s work, with spotlights and some full stories and rarities from various features.  See over here for a more detailed look.

As noted, it's print-on-demand, so available from various sellers, including Chapters/IndigoAmazon and Barnes&Noble, should be spreading out to others. Use the ISBNs below

ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1945307366
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1945307362

And while you're there, don't forget the print-on-demand Ditko books available.

July 18, 2023

Adventure Comics #477 [1980]

Adventure Comics #477 [1980]

This issue features the 8-page Starman story "The Search For Mn'torr", the penultimate chapter of the year-long run on the feature by Ditko with Romeo Tanghal and Paul Levitz.  The first main storyline for the feature had ended the previous issue, and in another world this would have launched a second, but it ended up being truncated to two chapters and a later (non-Ditko) epilogue in a Superman crossover.

Most of this story is taken with Starman, trying to find his lost friend, traveling to a legendary crystalline structure in space, hoping its similarity to Mn'torr's home will provide a link to his people.  It does, but not without some obstacles.

An entertaining transition issue, I think Tanghal got better on his year on the book, and right around this time he was starting his most prominent work on Titans with George Perez.

This story is reprinted, with the other eleven chapters, in THE STEVE DITKO OMNIBUS #2 [2011].


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