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Topic: Ditko in the ’70s (and beyond) Post Reply | Post New Topic
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Jason Czeskleba
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Joined: 30 April 2004
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Posted: 20 February 2023 at 3:31am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

As we all know, Ditko did not give interviews and did not like to talk about his work, saying the work should speak for itself.  So here's something that's pretty rare...  Ditko commenting on the record about his then-current project Shade, as well as his general attitude about the comics industry.  This appeared in the October 1977 installment of Joe Brancatelli's The Comic Books column, which appeared in Warren magazines at the time:

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Dave Kopperman
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Posted: 20 February 2023 at 4:02am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Who could blame Ditko for his disdain of interviews when the interviewer leads into the print version with a full on nut-kick review with the weakest of backhand compliments to round it off (“it’s not as good as his old work but it’s getting better”).  Fuck that.
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Jason Czeskleba
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Posted: 20 February 2023 at 5:32am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

That slightly-negative comment is just about the artwork, not the work as a whole.  And it's in the context of an otherwise extremely-positive review that says the book is "easily the most intriguing comic on the market."  Ditko and Brancatelli had a relationship... Brancatelli published the Mr. A comic that came out in 1973, and they remained friendly acquaintances after that, which is obviously why Ditko was willing to make the exceptional move of talking to him about the book.  So I doubt Ditko cared about that one comment on the art.  My guess is that Brancatelli probably told Ditko the same opinion to his face. 


Edited by Jason Czeskleba on 20 February 2023 at 5:40am
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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 20 February 2023 at 11:34am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Here's the rest of the SHADE covers!  Really amazing how Ditko made that "double body" effect work!




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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 20 February 2023 at 5:54pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Wow, any quotes from Steve Ditko are exciting as a peek behind the scenes, it's too bad he was mostly as isolated as usual.

I may be way off base but there's something about Shade and his meta dimensional vest effects that makes me think about the possibly inherent conflict between his audience of sort of hippy 'heads' readers, and the semi-fascistic but right if not right-wing outsider individual protagonists. One of the early San Francisco hip events was titled A Tribute To Doctor Strange after all. Or perhaps it's just too much for me to grok being born just after the "summer of love"... I just love his work for it's individuality, and the '60s changes in dress and explorations in music and film and other forms was definitely about that. Maybe the far right and far left meet in ways that aren't all bad?

I'm glad I found Shade finally, I passed it over for so long while getting early Hawk & Dove and a ton of the Charlton comics. This just leaves The Creeper and Mr. A... I don't have a clue where to start with either.

There's the cover for a Shade #9 I've seen; an old low quality photocopy of it... does it exist in higher quality? It's still my dream to see the facsimile approach used on it and other implosion casualties (and Ms. Marvel #24 and various '50s Atlases). I really shake my head at some of the choices to do facsimiles of and can only assume they are movies/tv related somehow which I'm not aware of, but then they'll come out with Black Knight #1 by Joe Maneely or Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 and get me stoked again! If you snoozed on those two you really losed (and I used to have the real Annual #1).
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Jason Czeskleba
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Posted: 20 February 2023 at 10:22pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

I'm surprised DC has never issued facsimile versions of the two issues of Cancelled Comic Cavalcade.  Sure, they do not consist of DC's finest material, but given their legendary status I'm sure they would sell.  I think about 1/3 of the material in those books has not been published to this day.

I'm not sure where a good place to start with Mr. A is.  I was going to say Fantagraphics' The Ditko Collection V. 1 (1985) but then I did some research and I see that it's become quite pricey in the ten years since I bought my copy.  It's a nice volume that collects the first decade's worth of Mr. A stories, but it's not worth the $50 or more that amazon 3rd parties are asking.  I've heard some sort of Mr. A collection/anthology is forthcoming from Robin Snyder, so maybe it's best to wait for that.


Edited by Jason Czeskleba on 20 February 2023 at 10:23pm
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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 21 February 2023 at 5:19am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Around 1980, Steve Ditko did a lot of work for Marvel--he was (seemingly) everywhere!

DAREDEVIL #162 penciled and inked by Steve Ditko

INCREDIBLE HULK #249 penciled and inked by Steve Ditko


MARVEL SPOTLIGHT #4 penciled and inked by Steve Ditko

FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #16 penciled and inked by Steve Ditko

MICRONAUTS ANNUAL #1 penciled and inked by Steve Ditko

MICRONAUTS ANNUAL #2 penciled and inked by Steve Ditko



Edited by Eric Jansen on 21 February 2023 at 5:29am
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Jason Czeskleba
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Posted: 21 February 2023 at 6:44am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Micronauts Annual #2 is interesting because the first ten pages of the story are drawn by Rich Buckler and inked by Ditko.  Then the remainder of the issue is both pencilled and inked by Ditko.  Presumably Buckler originally had the assignment but had to give it up, so his ten pages were given to Ditko to finish, along with the rest of the job.  That makes it an anomaly... to the best of my knowledge, this was the only post-60s instance in which Ditko ever inked another artist.  Kind of a weird combo that doesn't blend well together:
 




Edited by Jason Czeskleba on 21 February 2023 at 6:45am
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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 22 February 2023 at 9:41am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

1980 also gave us these three issues of MARVEL SPOTLIGHT with Steve Ditko drawing "The hero who could be you!"--CAPTAIN UNIVERSE!  Ditko did some more CU stories that appeared elsewhere--two WEB OF SPIDER-MAN annuals (if not more I don't know about).  I always thought that was a little tricky.  I knew (from somewhere) that Ditko did not want to do new work on his two big characters--SPIDER-MAN and DR. STRANGE!  But Captain Universe and Speedball (at least--Squirrel Girl too?) appeared as back-ups in some SPIDER-MAN annuals!



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Mark Haslett
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Posted: 22 February 2023 at 8:30pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Eric: I always thought that was a little tricky. I knew (from somewhere) that Ditko did not want to do new work on his two big characters--SPIDER-MAN and DR. STRANGE! But Captain Universe and Speedball (at least--Squirrel Girl too?) appeared as back-ups in some SPIDER-MAN annuals!

**

Tangent: I was just looking at Ditko's story where he teamed up both his big Marvel characters -- Spider-Man and Doctor Strange in Spider-Man Annual #2.

Man. Do comics get any better than that?
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 23 February 2023 at 1:26am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Squirrel Girl first appears in a Marvel Super-Heroes quarterly issue... but they were similar to an annual in size.

I never took to Captain Universe. Ambitious idea I suppose but as I hadn't enjoyed the appearances in Micronauts, or now later in Guardians Of the Galaxy, I didn't seek out any solo stories. I would like to get that one Captain Marvel issue though! The best of those one-off issues in my opinion is the Hulk #249, definitely recommend it if you see a copy of it... and Ditko did do it 'back in the day' for awhile when he was half of Tales To Astonish. I've always liked his Hulk though, other might not.

If there was a good reprint of Amaz. Spider-Man Annual #2 I'd be on it in a second... have never read that one. :^(

Edited by Rebecca Jansen on 23 February 2023 at 1:28am
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Mark Haslett
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Posted: 23 February 2023 at 2:16am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Rebecca, it's in Marvel Tales 167 -- available on eBay for around $5.
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