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].

July 16, 2023

Astonishing Tales #21 [1973]

Astonishing Tales #21 [1973]

This issue reprints the 5-page story "The Man Who Captured Death", first published in AMAZING ADULT FANTASY #9 [1962], featuring an old scientist who fears the arrival of death so much that he creates a device to capture the embodiment of the concept when it comes for him.  Unfortunately, he hadn't counted on stopping Death causes more problems for the world than he counted on.

Fairly routine story, Ditko elevates it with some great faces and solid use of dark blacks for the Death scenes (not fully coming across with the printing here).

June 29, 2023

The Ditko Print-on-Demand Library


I've been a bit remiss in not bringing enough attention to the growing SD Publishing print-on-demand library of Ditko's work through the years.  It's now up to twelve volumes published since 2019, making around 2000 pages of Ditko's work, with a wide variety of material, more readily available than it's ever been.  Trust me, as someone who got serious about Ditko's work circa 1990, being able to put together a freshly printed set of books like this is something to be envious of.

Many places can order the books for you with the ISBN numbers, including Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Chapters and more (if you know any specific store, on-line or physical, which will order the books, feel free to plug them in the comments).

More books are expected, with a wide variety of Ditko work to choose from, including more Charlton work, The Mocker, many rare essays, more Mr. A., The Missing Man and more. I'm pretty sure there's enough to easily fill another twelve books like this, even without the huge volume of Charlton stories available.

Tonight I'll Dream Of You [2023] -- US$49.95 9781945307379
The Avenging Mind [2023] -- US$19.95 9781945307331
Steve Ditko's 176 Minus 30 Page Package [2023] -- US$24.95 9781945307324
This Is How It Is [2022] -- US$57.95 9781945307317
Steve Ditko's Static The Definitive Edition [2022] -- US$29.95 9781945307300
A Touch Of Genius [2021] -- US$39.95 9781945307294
The Complete Mr. A. Volume II: Avenging World [2021] -- US$24.95 9781945307270
The Complete Four-Page Series And Other Essays [2020] -- US$17.95 9781945307263
The 32 Series By Ditko Vol. V - Curtain [2019] -- US$24.95 9781945307225
The 32 Series By Ditko Vol. I - Overture [2019] -- US$24.95 9781945307232
The 32 Series By Ditko Vol. IV - Postshadowing [2019] -- US$24.95 9781945307195
The 32 Series By Ditko Vol. III - Character Twists [2019] -- US$24.95 9781945307188
The 32 Series By Ditko Vol. II - Opening Acts [2019] -- US$24.95 9781945307164

The 32 Series By Ditko Vol. I - V [2019] - Collecting all 27 comics from 2008 to 2019 in five books, plus extras

A Touch Of Genius [2021] - Full colour reprints of Ditko/Gill Charlton stories published in 1971

This Is How It Is [2022] - Full colour reprints of Ditko/Gill Charlton stories published in 1972

Tonight I'll Dream Of You [2023] - Full colour reprints of Ditko/Gill Charlton stories published in 1973

The Avenging Mind [2023] - Book two[*] of "Ditko Complains", with two major essays, "The Avenging Mind" and "The Sore Spot", plus the "Tsk! Tsk!" editorial cartoons, various shorter essays (some unique to this book), a few key letters and drawings and more

The Complete Four-Page Series And Other Essays [2020] - Book three[*] of "Ditko Complains", with the titular series of 45 essays published from 2012 to 2015, plus many other pieces, a few published first here or only seen on-line.

[* Book one not yet published, but I'm sure it'll be worth the wait]

Steve Ditko's Static The Definitive Edition [2022] - One of Ditko's most fully realized works, in its largest and most complete version, 140 page story plus covers, advertising artwork and miscellaneous material.

Steve Ditko's 176 Minus 30 Page Package [2023] - The 2000 book minus the Mr. A. story (planned for inclusion in a future book). Some returning characters, including Killjoy, and some original.

Avenging World: The Complete Mr. A. Volume II[*] [2021] [176 pages] - Many Mr. A. stories from the 1960s and 1970s (including the first), plus "The Avenging World", "Laszlo's Hammer" and various short comics and essays that fit thematically,

[* Volume I not yet published]

May 22, 2023

New Ditko - THE HERO COMICS #37 and more print-on-demand


Now available from the usual sources, the recently kickstarted THE HERO COMICS #37, the latest in the revolving anthology series by SD Publishing and their Famous Comics imprint. This one obviously has a bit of Captain Atom from Ditko and Gill, with an interesting short note by Ditko about that panel on the cover, and some reprints from Ditko's 32-Series.  Also included is the comparatively rare 1960s Blue Beetle story "A Specter Is Haunting Hub City" first published in CHARLTON PORTFOLIO [1974], a 1940s Bouncer story by Robert Kanigher and Louis Ferstadt and a few other surprises.

The print-on-demand books also continue, with recent publication of THE AVENGING MIND, a volume in the "Ditko Complains" series, and STEVE DITKO'S 176 MINUS 30 PAGE PACKAGE, a reprint of the 2000 book without the long Mr. A. story (possibly held for a later Mr. A. specific book). See the same link above for ISBN numbers to order the print-on-demand books from your favourite local or on-line retailer.

March 9, 2023

--Link-- Upcoming Ditko - RETURN OF THE HERO by Kickstarter


Now on Kickstarter, a campaign for the next SD Comics release in their revolving anthology series, which brings classic Ditko stories back to print (plus sometimes previously unseen work).  This one looks to have some Captain Atom from the 1960s and some selections from the 32-Series Ditko created from 2008 to 2018, plus no doubt more from vast Snyder/Ditko archives.


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