July 29, 2013

--Link-- LASZLO'S Kickstarter

The Kickstarter for the new edition of LASZLO'S HAMMER is about to meet its goal with the next handful of backers, so if you wanted to be one of those who helped get it there now is the time to act. Otherwise, you still have eleven days.

Those of you currently reading the recent new edition of the DITKO PUBLIC SERVICE PACKAGE might be interested to know that LASZLO'S HAMMER features a bit of a callback to that book, with some scenes of the creativity at "Genius Pub. Inc." (or "G. Ness", as it was called in PUBLIC SERVICE).
And for those curious, a look at the rare first edition, and a starting place to read about Laszlo Toth.

Cracked #219 [1986]

Even three-fingered robotic hands by Ditko are distinctively his style.

CRACKED #219 [1986] is the second issue of the series to feature Ditko's work, continuing his "Robot War" feature with writer Mort Todd that debuted the previous issue, with another 1-page dialogue-free but sound-effects heavy gag page with some very intricate tonework. I always like the little touches you get in the artwork of these stories, like the robot in the first panel apparently camouflaging himself with some flowers on his butt.

--Link-- Recent posts on recent Ditko

Javier Hernandez on some recurring themes and designs in the covers of some of Ditko's recent new comics.

Joe McCulloch on Ditko's recent comics.

July 28, 2013

Ghostly Tales #101 [1973]

The Ditko in Charlton's GHOSTLY TALES #101 [1973] is the 8-page "Ghost Artist". This tale narrated by an especially giddy Mr. Dedd features a second-rate comic book artist named Tony Sansom who winds up sharing some studio space with the much more talented and successful comic strip artist Jimmy Elder. Despite Elder being quite generous with his advice, leading to some improvement in Sansom's work, the younger artist is still consumed by hatred and jealousy, finally finding an outlet all-too-common in these stories - Murder!

Also all-too-common, death isn't the end, and while Sansom briefly thinks he's gotten all he desired there's always a price to be paid.

Interesting little take on the comics business (written by Bhob Stewart and Russ Jones), a couple of really nice Ditko images, especially as Sansom approaches his inevitable end. The Charlton printing seemed to be especially uneven during this period, so my copy is kind of rough, although it's the fascinating Sanho Kim lead story, a Korean ghost story told in both Korean and English, which suffers the most.

Ghost Manor #14 [1970]

Bit of an unusual Ditko contribution to Charlton's GHOST MANOR #14 [1970], the opening 2-page feature is "Are You A Scorpio?" with art by Ditko. In this story, Winnie the Witch gives some of the character traits that supposedly are present in the approximately 1 in 12 people born between October 24 and November 22, as well as predictions about their immediate future. What makes this unusual is that, as far as I can tell, this is the only such feature that ran in Charlton's comics around that time, whether drawn by Ditko or another artist (I'm sure someone with a more extensive collection of 1970 Charlton comics will correct me if I'm wrong). You'd think if they logically planned a dozen entries, they'd get at least two or three into them before giving up.

Or maybe they realized quickly that they needed more research, so they didn't end up with things like "your ruler is Pluto, God of the sea", which I think Poseidon might disagree with...

Anyway, minor enough story but a couple of nice touches of storytelling by Ditko in the two pages, like the faces on the people very clearly not ignoring the Scorpio walking into the room on the last panel below, and a few funny bits on the predicted romantic life of various other Scorpios on page two.

July 23, 2013


In the pleasant surprise department, Dark Horse has their CREEPY PRESENTS STEVE DITKO book set to come out in comic stores tomorrow, two weeks ahead of the scheduled date. Presumably copies from Amazon and other vendors will follow in short order. For those into digital, there's also a Kindle edition coming out for $10, and it's a pretty good bet that Dark Horse will have it available on their own digital store, like the previous Wrightson and Corben volumes, probably for about $12.

As discussed before, this book collects, for the first time in one volume, the sixteen stories drawn by Ditko for Warren's CREEPY and EERIE from 1966-1967, fifteen of them written by Archie Goodwin, the other by Clark Dimond and Terry Bisson. It was the first major body of work that Ditko did for black-and-white publication, and he used a variety of techniques to create some of the most visually arresting work of his career (that cover image gives you a taste, though I'm not wild about that colouring job). You can see posts about some of the stories in previous entries on this weblog.

I do want to point out that, based on a look at some of the EERIE ARCHIVES and CREEPY ARCHIVES books that reprint the full issues these stories appeared in (meaning you'd need to get five $50 hardcovers to get all of the Ditko, making a single $20 book much more attractive), it doesn't appear that whatever path led the publishing rights to these stories to Dark Horse included the original artwork or high-quality first-generation stats of the artwork to reprint from, so as far as I can tell the reprints are based on printed copies of the actual comics. The production work seemed to be top-notch given the limitations inherent in reprinting from that kind of source (and it's a better option for b&w comics compared to colour comics), but as those who've seen samples of Ditko's original artwork for some of these stories (whether on what Ditko once termed the "comics thieves market" or elsewhere) are aware there was a level of detail in Ditko's work that Warren's printing of the day couldn't capture. So buyer beware, maybe not the best printing you could hope for of these stories, but likely the best you'll ever see, at least of all the stories under one cover.

July 11, 2013

New Ditko - DITKOMANIA #91 and others

DITKOMANIA #91 is now out, the latest issue of the long-running fanzine from publisher-editor Rob Imes. This is the first issue from the modern Imes-era to have full colour covers, both front and back.  The focus of this issue is Ditko's bouncing heroes, as seen on the Javier Hernandez cover, with a lot of attention to 1980s creation Speedball, with a lot more Speedball fan-art than you'd expect existed.  This issue also has an extended letter-column with a lot of reactions to Ron Frantz's article from the previous issue and Frantz's replies.

Ordering and subscription information over here.

Other recent possible Ditko, Archie has a recent NEW CRUSADERS: LEGACY book, which apparently includes some 1980s Ditko.  The revived Valiant had a recent VALIANT MASTERS: SHADOWMAN reprint which should include Ditko's SHADOWMAN #6 [1992]. And Marvel has a recent reprint of some of Ditko's Captain Universe stories from 1980-1981 and 1989-1990. Feel free to comment if you have any of these and have specific details about the contents.

--Link-- Ditko's LASZLO'S HAMMER new edition Kickstarter

Robin Snyder has a new Kickstarter project for a new edition of Ditko's 1992 LASZLO'S HAMMER, long out-of-print as a separate publication and only available as part of the larger AVENGING WORLD book.  The description says that " Laszlo's Hammer will appear as the lead feature" in this book, so presumably some other reprint or new Ditko will make up the balance of the book.

Here's the Ditko-Fever entry for the original publication, which is one of the few major Ditko publications I've never even seen a copy of, much less own.

More details as I get them.

July 3, 2013


Just in from Robin Snyder and Steve Ditko, the latest in Ditko essays, THE FOUR-PAGE SERIES #3, with the following contents:

“#9: An Eternal Truth, Lesson Rejected”
“#10: The Fantasy Lifters”
“#12: For Good Or Ill”
“#13: Tsk! — The Still Unreachable — Tsk!”
“#18: Anti-Ditko 'Fans'”
“#17: …To The Last Drop”

[For the numbering, there were 10 essays total in the first two FOUR-PAGE SERIES publications (see here for list of Ditko essays), not numbered, 2 of them reprint and 8 original. On first publication, one of the reprint essays was labeled "The second in a new series of articles". So to answer the inevitable questions about what essays #1-#8 are, and if and where #11 and #14-#16 will appear, and why #17 is printed after #18: Your guess is as good as mine]

It's available directly from Robin Snyder, along with all the prior in-print Ditko publications from their 25 years of co-publishing.

Robin Snyder
3745 Canterbury Lane #81
Bellingham, WA
98225-1186 USA

SnyderandDitko @ icloud.com

Essays - The Four-Page Series (prices include postage, order direct from Robin Snyder)
#1 (part of The Comics v23#9) -- $2.50 US, $3.50 International
#2 -- $1.50 US, $2.50 International
#3 -- $1.50 US, $2.50 International
#4 (upcoming) -- $1.50 US, $2.50 International [featuring "He Should Have X@*#! Done..." and more]

Keep watching the comments, I'll pull out a key quote from each essay over the next few days.


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