January 26, 2016

New Ditko - Ditko #24 and Ditkomania

Now available, Ditko's 32-page series hits #24 with the aptly named #24, and DITKOMANIA #94.

Ordering info for #24 and the earlier Ditko/Snyder publications is on this page, while DITKOMANIA info (including copies of some earlier issues) is over here.

January 2, 2016

Ditko in 2015 wrapup

Busy year for new and reprint Ditko in 2014. As usual, go here for the occasionally updated list going back to 2005.

Robin Snyder and Steve Ditko's publishing continued with two all new books in their 32-page series, some reprint and previously unpublished material in two revivals of old Charlton titles, a 40th anniversary reprint of a Mr. A. book and the final three installments in the FOUR-PAGE SERIES of essays.

Ditko also contributed to a few issues of Robin Snyder's newsletter THE COMICS, including a wraparound cover on the January 2015 issue.

A few things from other publishers, the most noteworthy is STEVE DITKO'S WEIRD COMICS #1, from Mort Todd, reprinting coloured versions of five black and white stories Ditko did under Todd's editorship of MONSTERS ATTACK in 1989/1990. Also some stuff from DC, IDW, Marvel and others.

December 4, 2015

Upcoming Ditko - #24 Kickstarter

Now on Kickstarter, the next new Ditko comic, #24, featuring The !?, The Cape and The Outline, based on the cover.

Higher funding levels let you catch up on the previous 23 issues you may have missed, or all of the in-print Snyder/Ditko publications.

For those catching up:

The !?
ACT 4 [2010]
A DITKO #15 [2011]
ATE TEA N - 18 [2013]
#2OWW1 [2014]

The Cape
DITKO, ETC... [2008]
A DITKO ACT 3 [2010]
ACT 4 [2010]
DITKO #5 - FIVE ACT [2010]
ACT 6 [2011]
A DITKO #14 [2011]
A DITKO #15 [2011]
#16 - SIXTEEN [2012]
#17 - SEVENTEEN [2012]
ATE TEA N - 18 [2013]
#20 [2014]
#2OWW3OWW [2015]

The Outline
DITKO, ETC... [2008]
A DITKO ACT 3 [2010]
ACT 4 [2010]
DITKO #5 - FIVE ACT [2010]
ACT 6 [2011]
#16 - SIXTEEN [2012]
#17 - SEVENTEEN [2012]
#20 [2014]
#2OWW1 [2014]
#22 [2015]

November 18, 2015

Marvel Comics Presents #14 [1989]

Out of 26 stories featuring The Masked Marvel with the Speedball effect by Ditko that Marvel published from 1988 to 1991, this 8-page story "The Feathered Felon" from MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS #14 [1989], midway through the 10-issue series run of SPEEDBALL, was the only one that Ditko inked himself, in addition to his usual plotting and penciling work (Jo Duffy provides the script). Comparing it to the other stories, that's a shame, since it's probably my favourite of the Masked Marvel stories. Most of the other inking on the character was acceptable, some of it was really not suited to Ditko's style, none of it was quite Ditko.

This is also a pretty fun story. The felon of the title is a mysterious bird creature which swoops down at random and steals various objects, including the briefcase of Robbie Baldwin's father, which has some documents essential for a case he's prosecuting. Robbie tries to use his powers to follow the felon, but a combination of his general lack of control and the sheer randomness of the felon make it difficult. There's a nice combination of super-heroics and Robbie's civilian life in this story, and a good look at a few of the major themes that pop up in many of the stories.

November 17, 2015

The Unexpected #221 [1982]

"Em The Energy Monster", a 9-page story from THE UNEXPECTED #221 [1982], is an unusual story in Ditko's work at DC.  Of the three dozen non-series stories he drew in the various anthology books, this is the only one Ditko wrote as well, and is in fact one of the few stories he did for the DC/Marvel where he was the sole credited writer.

This story features an alien who crashes on Earth and has the ability to animate any type of matter, and causes great destruction while trying to find a suitable body. Meanwhile, Dr. Bazom is in charge of efforts to stop the creature he's dubbed EM.

The concept of this story provides for some interesting visual ideas. You actually see a hint of the concept in a cover from over two decades earlier and would see it again in a story Ditko wrote almost a decade later.

The story is well-inked by Gary Martin, although the opening splash page (which looks like it was designed to be a cover, with a large space for the title logo) looks like Ditko might have inked it himself. Overall it's one of the most wholly satisfying of the short stories Ditko did for DC. Unfortunately this would be the last Ditko drawn story published by DC for several years (and going by story codes might actually have been drawn several years earlier) and the last Ditko written story ever at DC.

This was reprinted in THE STEVE DITKO OMNIBUS #1 [2011].

November 2, 2015

Doc Stearn...Mr Monster #6 [1986]

DOC STEARN...MR MONSTER #6 [1986], published by Eclipse, features a reprint of the 5-page story "Stretching Things" from FANTASTIC FEARS #5 [1954]. This Bruce Hamilton written story is one of the first Ditko stories to be drawn and published, and had been reprinted a few times before this (such as the 1970 fanzine FMZ #1, where editor Michael T. Gilbert's introduction mentions as the first place he saw it), but not in colour as far as I know. The colouring is some then-state-of-the-art work by Steve Oliff, and might be a bit over-rendered to my tastes, but doesn't look too bad compared to the original.

As I've said before, this is a great little story in both writing and art. You can see a lot of the little storytelling bits that would appear in more polished form in later Marvel and Charlton shorts.

Gilbert's introduction also includes a few bits of art that Ditko had drawn for the fanzine ALTER EGO in the 1960s.

Giant-Size Man-Thing #1 [1974]

While he wasn't doing any new work for Marvel in the early 1970s, you could count on a regular supply of Ditko from the company in the form of reprints, especially of his short fantasy and science fiction stories. Case in point, GIANT-SIZE MAN-THING #1 [1974] has a reprint of "The Ice-Monster Cometh" from AMAZING ADULT FANTASY #11 [1962], an entertaining 5-page story about Hugo Bogg, a jewel thief who hides his loot for years, and plans to use the local myth of an "Ice-Monster" to recover it.

Lots to like about this story. As usual, Ditko does well with the rustic European setting, and Bogg is a suitably weaselly looking ne'er-do-well.

October 25, 2015

Four-Page Series essays

S. Ditko, "Why I Quit S-M, Marvel", 2015

Steve Ditko recently wrapped up THE FOUR-PAGE SERIES with the ninth issue, co-published with Robin Snyder, collecting various essays between 2012 and 2015. In total there are 45 essays, ten un-numbered from the first two issues and 35 in the other issues, numbered 9, 10, 12-15, 17-38 and 40-46. Yes, that means there's one missing. Just for reference I've arbitrarily labelled the un-numbered ones as 1-8, 11 and 16 in the order they were published, leaving a mysterious #39 that we may see in the future. Or may not.

The full list of Ditko essays is always available here. Contact information for Robin Snyder to find our which are currently available and to order is over here.

#1*:  The Knowers & the Barkers [FPS#1]
#2*:  The Silent Self-Deceivers [FPS#1]
#3*:  A Newspaper Article, A Reporter's Report [FPS#1]
#4*:  A Deadly Fantasy [FPS#1]
#5*:  Why Out Of Their Way? [FPS#1]
#6*: Circle The Mind [FPS#2]
#7*: The Fixated Negative [FPS#2]
#8*: For/Against One's Best Interest? [FPS#2]
#9: An Eternal Truth, Lesson Rejected [FPS#3]
#10: The Fantasy Lifters [FPS#3]
#11*: LINT [FPS#2]
#12: For Good Or Ill [FPS#3]
#13: Tsk! — The Still Unreachable — Tsk! [FPS#3]
#14: Labels And Labelers [FPS#4]
#15: Wants/Needs Shortchanged [FPS#9]
#16*: Honoring Or Dishonoring [FPS#2]
#17: …To The Last Drop [FPS#3]
#18: Anti-Ditko 'Fans' [FPS#3]
#19: Action/Reaction And The Self-Claimed, Self-Creators [FPS#4]
#20: Out Of Their Way [FPS#9]
#21: How Dare He! [FPS#4]
#22: He Should Have X@*#! Done... [FPS#8]
#23: The Intolerable Other [FPS#6]
#24: The Eternally Fixated [FPS#5]
#25: Choice: Either/Or [FPS#5]
#26: 4 tHe knot 2 BritE, rite [FPS#5]
#27: The Movers And The Freezers [FPS#4]
#28: Red Flag [FPS#6]
#29: Too Late [FPS#4]
#30: Repeater, Spreader, Reinforcer [FPS#6]
#31: Copycat Mind [FPS#8]
#32: With Everyone, A Free-Will Choice [FPS#5]
#33: X's 'Idea' [FPS#6]
#34: Memory [FPS#5]
#35: FP: Comic Book Fan Packs [FPS#6]
#36: CC: The Caller and the Called [FPS#6]
#37: Start & Finish [FPS#6]
#38: Correct, Corrector, Corrections [FPS#8]
#40: The Chosen Grey Mind [FPS#7]
#41: A Cure Or The Actual Disease? [FPS#7]
#42 [FPS#8]
#43: The 1st New York City Comic Book Convention [FPS#7]
#44: Foolish Fans [FPS#9]
#45: Why I Quit S-M, Marvel [FPS#9]
#46: Either/Or [FPS#9]