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Topic: Ditko in the ’70s (and beyond) Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 13 February 2023 at 5:18am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Steve Ditko is one of the most unique comic book artists we'll ever see, and also one of the most creative! One of my favorite creations of his appeared in the back of early Charlton E-Man comics... Killjoy! It really has to be read to be believed with a bonkers chorus of bleeding heart liberals crying for the villains the title character thwarts!

In the late '70s Ditko had a run of eight (nine counting one unpublished) Shade, The Changing Man for DC centering on characters from another dimension, one of whom had a sort of super-powered psychedelic vest! At Marvel soon after he took up Machine Man for ten issues introducing a villain that went on to feature in Spider-Man and Captain America comics; Jack O'Lantern (Hobgobiln II?). He also did fill-in, or inventory, issues for The Incredible Hulk (#249) and Daredevil (#162) as well as two Micronauts annuals.Into the '80s and beyond he was still creating arrestingly visual characters like Static, Missing Man, Speedball and Squirrel Girl.

Tracking down all the work of Steve Ditko, especially with new creations involved, from the '70s and later to add to his impressive roster of the '60s can be a decades long pursuit.

Edited by Rebecca Jansen on 13 February 2023 at 5:19am
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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 13 February 2023 at 9:08am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I would love to get a collection of all of Steve Ditko's CREEPER, especially including the short stories from WORLD'S FINEST COMICS.  (I actually have BEWARE THE CREEPER #1-4, but not the last two--or the SHOWCASE intro!)  But I'm not prepared to spend $126 for 288 pages for the hardcover (on Amazon right now).

While Marvel reprints everything in five different formats, DC's reprint philosophy (for the things I most want at least) is nothing or the most expensive hardcover possible--and not enough of those!

The dollar boxes have been pretty reliable for things like SHADE, STALKER, and SPEEDBALL--which I finally found the last issue of...just after I saw that there was a tpb collection in 2019!  Also recently got the MACHINE MAN tpb (when else are you going to see Ditko take over a series from Kirby?!?) and, for a Christmas present for a friend, the MARVEL VISIONARIES: STEVE DITKO tpb, full of fun stuff!
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 13 February 2023 at 5:44pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Next on my personal list to check out is Starman with Steve Ditko art from Adventure Comics when it was split with Plastic Man. It's always cool to see Ditko inked by Wally Wood and I think some of those Stalkers were by the two together (as well as a Charlton Jungle Jim I once had). Mr. A appeared in Wood's Witzend magazine but it's not something I've found a collection of... I take it he was full-on into Ayn Rand with that creation; might make an interesting ideological bookend to Spain Rodriguez' Trashman! :^D

Shade has a lot of early Doctor Strange to it in terms of other dimensions, the full art job is among Ditko's best I think.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 13 February 2023 at 5:51pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Ditko was one of the most glaring examples of Marvel's "What have you done for me lately?" attitude. It's true that his work had declined over the years, but there was nothing really wrong that a good inker couldn't have fixed.
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Mark Haslett
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Posted: 13 February 2023 at 6:44pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Q for JB: Did you ever pitch a project with Steve Ditko in mind to draw it?
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John Byrne
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Posted: 13 February 2023 at 7:10pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

I was pleased to ink several Ditko jobs, but the opportunity did not arise to create a project specifically with him in mind.
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 13 February 2023 at 9:19pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Charlton Bullseye Magazine #1 & 2 with that Ditko/Byrne Captain Atom story has been a major 'wish list' item of mine. A blog scanned in all the pages in pretty high quality though so, there's that at least.
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Doug Centers
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Posted: 14 February 2023 at 12:06am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Some of my first group of comics were a couple of issues each of Tigerman and Destructor from Atlas. Also had that first Man-Bat issue and the 1st Issue Special with the Creeper. Then nothing until Machine Man.

A couple of years ago I got his collected early Dr. Strange and it blew my mind. Genius!

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Jason Czeskleba
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Posted: 14 February 2023 at 4:23am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

I didn't read Shade The Changing Man when it was originally coming out, but about ten years ago I bought up the run and read it, and was quite impressed.  Imaginative and different, and not too bogged down by philosophy in the manner that most of his writing went afterwards.  And his artwork seemed a cut above some of the stuff he was doing concurrently, with a lot of imaginative, hallucinogenic imagery somewhat reminiscent of what he'd done on Doctor Strange.  The series is one of his career highlights as far as I'm concerned.

Shade also was notable as Ditko's final attempt to write a mainstream comic book for a major publisher.  After that, he limited his writing to his small press or self-published work, and was strictly an art robot on the subsequent stuff he did for Marvel, DC, and MLJ. 


Edited by Jason Czeskleba on 14 February 2023 at 4:27am
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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 14 February 2023 at 1:28pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Here's a fun little thing I just came across!  For whatever reason, Marvel sometimes used new covers for various issues of reprint titles.  Here's a new Ditko cover for the April, 1979 issue 47 (the final issue) of MARVEL TRIPLE ACTION, giving a rare look at Ditko's version of the 1960's Avengers!

This is the reverse view of the original John Buscema/George Klein cover for AVENGERS #54, with all the heroes more plainly seen and the villains (this time) getting the back treatment.
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 14 February 2023 at 5:32pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

That Marvel Triple-Action is a favorite... it has that 'Still Only' thing that presses a major nostalgic button ever since seeing it at the time so I almost want every comic that ever showed it.

The one before that (I think) reuses the X-Men logo from the two Giant Size issues. :^)

I become a typography nut!
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John Byrne
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Posted: 15 February 2023 at 3:12pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

For whatever reason, Marvel sometimes used new covers for various issues of reprint titles.

•••

Many readers did not realize those books were reprints. New covers encouraged them to buy.

(That failure to recognize reprints resulted in some amusing reactions from readers. Chris and I received mail asking us to do an X-Men book like the reprints of other titles—but those reprints were clearly not recognized as such.)

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