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


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