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Topic: Ditko in the í70s (and beyond) Post Reply | Post New Topic
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Marcus Hiltz
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Joined: 07 September 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 1031
Posted: 15 February 2023 at 5:18pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

I loved Ditko from the get go! There were some classic artists I didn't like so much initially i.e. Curt Swan was boring, 70s Kirby looked "off" to me (I was 6! I didn't know any better.) But Ditko was a favorite of mine back then. Still is! 
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John Byrne

Grumpy Old Guy

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 129872
Posted: 15 February 2023 at 6:20pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I was introduced to Ditkoís work in the pre-superhero monster comics I read while waiting to get my hair cut in the early Sixties. When he showed up as the artist in the first issue of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN I was delighted. Bad distribution meant Iíd missed the debut in AMAZING FANTASY.

(When I tracked down a copy of AF15 I was surprised to read of Spider-Manís oblique involvement in the death of Uncle Ben. That was omitted from the flashback in the first issue.)

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Rebecca Jansen
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Joined: 12 February 2018
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Posted: 15 February 2023 at 6:52pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

I think of Curt Swan as the Norman Rockwell of superhero comics... when he inked himself, especially in the '50s, his work could be very good.

Those Ditko and Kirby monster comics with Stan Lee are really imaginative; such an endless seeming cast of visual surprises... and their aliens too! I had a couple with 'try-outs' for later characters, there was a tragic Thing kind of guy and Sandman.

Those two issues of the X-Men reprints with the current regular title artist were a great 'bonus' at the time! I had some kind of Not Brand Ecch reprint under the title Crazy that came as an extra with a special issue of that magazine and it got me interested in what the team characters were like in the '60s. It made me understand they were reprints but I did not really 'get it' though at first with the Spider-Man, Hulk and Fantastic Four comics and their con-current reprint titles. They just didn't seem dated, but when I got to the Avengers and X-Men reprints they pretty obviously were not the current characters/teams.

I may've first gotten into Ditko with #2 and #3 of the color paperbacks reprinting the earliest Spider-Man comics (albeit at very small size)... amazing stuff! Only started buying Marvel superhero comics after those (had been getting Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica). Machine Man was an early favorite once I'd gotten going as well as Rom.
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Joe Hollon
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Joined: 08 May 2004
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Posted: 15 February 2023 at 6:57pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

As you are gathering your Ditko comics from the 70s don't
short change the "Beyond" part...I highly recommend the
work he put out over the last 25 years or so with Robin
Snyder.
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Rebecca Jansen
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Joined: 12 February 2018
Location: Canada
Posts: 3906
Posted: 15 February 2023 at 7:12pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

What I've gotten of Static is very cool! I only had one solo comic with the character in the '80s when it came out though, I guess the others he was more a backup feature. Missing Man was easier to follow being in Pacific Comics just when I had discovered comic specialist shops and would buy everything they released. I totally missed out on Speedball and Squirrel Girl though as I had grown up by then, ha!

Edited by Rebecca Jansen on 15 February 2023 at 7:17pm
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Jason Czeskleba
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Joined: 30 April 2004
Posts: 4492
Posted: 15 February 2023 at 10:13pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Minor correction, Rebecca:  Curt Swan didn't ink himself in the 50s, to my knowledge.  When he first started out on the Superman books his primary inker was John Fischetti.  On Jimmy Olsen he was paired with Ray Burnley, and by the end of the decade Stan Kaye was inking him a lot on the various covers he did.  Instances of him inking himself are few and far between... page 1 of the Legion story in Adventure Comics #369 being a notable example.

And to correct myself... earlier I said that Shade was the last time Ditko wrote a book for a major publisher.  I forgot about his run on The Fly for MLJ in 1983-84. 

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Eric Jansen
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Joined: 27 October 2013
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Posted: 15 February 2023 at 11:29pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Not that I have trouble reading other people, but there is just something about JB and Steve Ditko that is just so readable!  I think it is the clarity of storytelling that makes the reading flow so easily.

(I happen to be reading the original Steve Englehart/George Perez run on AVENGERS right now, and that is just flowing too, but I don't have that sense with everything that either did elsewhere.)
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Rebecca Jansen
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Joined: 12 February 2018
Location: Canada
Posts: 3906
Posted: 16 February 2023 at 1:19am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Thanks for the info Jason. Credits on late '50s covers used to be pretty difficult to find out about, but now looking it up on 'DC Fandom' wiki I can see it was Stan Kaye on Adventure Comics #252's cover which is the main one I was picturing as Rockwell-like!

I'd forgotten about The Fly revival, I kept buying it for quite awhile too despite the change in artists after the first two. I remember a story about domestic abuse in it which seemed fairly powerful and well done. Created by Kirby and carried on by Ditko... kind of like with Machine Man.

Would anybody know if Shade #9 ever surfaced anywhere outside the scant number of Cancelled Comic Cavalcades produced? I've been able to read Firestorm #6 and chunks of Vixen #1 but not the unpublished Shade or Mister Miracle issues.

Edited by Rebecca Jansen on 16 February 2023 at 1:44am
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Dave Phelps
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Joined: 16 April 2004
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Posted: 16 February 2023 at 2:20am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Rebecca, it's in this book:


(Might be able to find a cheaper copy elsewhere, though.)
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Jason Czeskleba
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Joined: 30 April 2004
Posts: 4492
Posted: 16 February 2023 at 3:26am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

 Rebecca Jansen wrote:
I'd forgotten about The Fly revival, I kept buying it for quite awhile too despite the change in artists after the first two. I remember a story about domestic abuse in it which seemed fairly powerful and well done. Created by Kirby and carried on by Ditko... kind of like with Machine Man.
The Fly also has a notable place in Ditko's history in that it indirectly landed Ditko the Spider-Man gig, because when Ditko pointed out to Stan that the Kirby-plotted Spider-Man origin story was very similar to The Fly's origin, Stan decided to have Ditko redo the story. 

For some reason, the unpublished issue of Mister Miracle (which would have been issue #26) did not even make it into Cancelled Comic Cavalcade.  Only the cover is in there. 

Regarding the unpublished issue of Shade, you probably know this, but Ditko's Odd Man backup feature wound up being printed in Detective Comics #487.
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Rebecca Jansen
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Joined: 12 February 2018
Location: Canada
Posts: 3906
Posted: 16 February 2023 at 4:02am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

I found that hardcover book at $49 but still a bit too steep for me. :^/

I can still hope to live to see facsimile color editions of those cancelled/implosion comics... so strange how some comics can be reprinted umpteen times while others not even once...

I hope everyone has seen that hour long BBC 'In Search Of Steve Ditko' program from when he was still around. It's still available to watch via Youtube.
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Eric Jansen
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Joined: 27 October 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 2112
Posted: 20 February 2023 at 1:51am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

It's time to show Ditko some love!

Of his later work, I think he really cut loose on SHADE THE CHANGING MAN, with dimensional traveling and illusions.  Here are the first four issues, all penciled and inked by Steve Ditko.





Just the very nature of Shade's powers shows Ditko's unique inventiveness and that he was still trying to push the boundaries of his art.
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