Sunday, July 08, 2018

STEVE DITKO

Steve Ditko has died. A real comics legend. Great storyteller, imagination, and very individual and dynamic art style.

I looked through my Ditko comics yesterday to scan and post in tribute. Click images for larger views.

I'm not sure when I first saw his art. He was always around.

In the late 1970s a paperback book was released with the first six Hulk comics reprinted therein. Maybe that was the first thing for me:


(That's sellotape holding together this well thumbed copy).

There were many 1960s Marvel comics being reprinted in the UK and the US as the 1970s went into the 1980s, so I was exposed to both eras of work from Ditko.

Here's another Hulk story from the 1980 Hulk Annual:


The British Spider-Man Summer Special was a black and white reprint of the 1960s Sinister Six story. This remains a favourite of mine:


Also in the UK, Alan Class was reprinting 1950s work from Ditko. In Sinister Tales, I read Grulla:


A fascinating story was presented in Strange Tales, Dragon Lord:


Marvel US were also reprinting Ditko Spider-Man in their Marvel Tales series:


In 1984, Marvel UK started their Transformers comic. The back up story was Machine Man:


Ditko drew a good few Indiana Jones comics:


And was regular artist on Rom; comics based on a robot toy:


Here's Daredevil from 1986:


Ditko drew a new superhero comic for Marvel in 1988, Speedball:


The same year, a new number 1 issue of "What If?":


So as you can see, Ditko was still very much a current artist at Marvel.

In 1993, he did a one-off comic at Dark Horse, "The Safest Place":


It was the late 1980s before I started frequenting comic shops. The search for back issues was given a considerable boost by this. Here are some of the Ditko goodies I've picked up over the years.

Ditko's Doctor Strange is wonderful:


Destructor from Atlas Comics, 1975:


Not often you see Ditko draw Batman. Here he is in Man-Bat, 1975:


I liked the Micronauts comics by Michael Golden, and the annuals drawn by Ditko were a nice variation on the characters:


Charlton were good about aiming their comics at fans. They'd label them, "All Ditko Art" on the covers. This is from "Giant from the Unknown" in Monster Hunters, 1978:


Another landmark character from Ditko was The Question. This is from a 2000 reprint edition:


The Missing Man, from Pacific Presents, 1982:


A Black Lightning solo story from The Outsiders, 1986:


Static, from Eclipse Monthly, 1983:


An older one from 1967. Captain Atom:


The Ditko comic I bought most recently was last month. An issue of Jack Kirby's Secret City Saga from 1993:


I saw the news of his death Friday night as it was first announced, and involuntarily let out an audible "no".
It was the Hollywood Reporter article ("published 2 minutes ago"). I went to his wiki page to see his birth date listed as if he was still with us.
Refreshed a minute or two later and there was his date of passing added. Gone.

R.I.P. Steve Ditko.

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