Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Brand new Steve Ditko comic books!

So the other day I'm working on my new comic book story. Penciling some pages, listening to some music. As I break for lunch, the mail arrives. What could be better than working on your own comic book, and at the same time, receiving the latest comic book from one of your favorite creators?

Artwork © Steve Ditko 2009

It's the latest in a series of new comics by one of the truly great artists of comics, Steve Ditko! Yep, the Co-Creator of Spider-Man & Dr. Strange, the man who created Mr. A, The Creeper, The Question and many other characters and comics in his 50+ year career is back with a whole new series of comic books!

Published by Robin Snyder and Steve Ditko, (in essence making Ditko a self-published cartoonist!), these new Ditko comics feature all-new material, written and illustrated by Ditko. He's been publishing all of his creator-owned comics and graphic novels through Robin Snyder for the past 20 years.

The new book, DITKO PRESENTS, follows "DITKO, ETC" which was released in Oct. 08, "DITKO CONTINUED", "OH NO! NOT AGAIN, DITKO!" and "DITKO ONCE MORE". That's five 32 page comic books in less than a year, without the traditional distribution method the majority of comics use, and from a creator in his 80s! If Steve Ditko self-publishing new comic books isn't an example to DIY creators, then I don't know what is!
I would guess that his books are bought by what you could call the hard-core Ditko fans, with not much (if any, actually) coverage in the 'comics media' (as it is).

Ditko's new books are what I call pure expression, he's creating the type of stories he wants to tell and making them available to whomever wants to buy them. Simple as that. No Tweeting, blogging, Myspace, Facebook and DeviantArt posting to let the world know about the new books. (Full disclosure, I use all the previously mentioned social networking tools myself!). There is a blog, STEVE DITKO COMICS WEBLOG, run independently by a fan of Ditko that contains a page showing all the Snyder/Ditko books in print.

These new books contain about 4-5 new stories in each issue, sometimes the stories will run over several issues. Ditko's a one-man anthology factory! He's created a new collection of characters for these books, with names like The Cape, Miss Eerie, The Outline, The Grey Negotiator, Hero and even the return of what has to be Ditko's signature character, MR. A!

The new book, DITKO PRESENTS, features a couple of new characters. One of them really knocked my socks off.. MISS EERIE!

Artwork © Steve Ditko 2009

She's like POLICE WOMAN meets DEATH WISH! Miss Eerie is hell-bent on some type of vigilante/revenge quest, and she goes about it packing a Colt .45 and smashing down doors, and faces, with her foot! All this in 8 pages. Man, I hope to see more of this character, as she's unlike anything I've ever seen from Ditko. He doesn't do many female hero characters, so this is a real treat. And she's not a cheesecake pin-up girl either, just a force of retribution who happens to be a woman.

What I love about all these books is their very spartan nature: the books are printed in black and white, not a drop of color throughout. Interior pages are on newsprint. The entire covers are hand-drawn, even the logos. The only computer lettering is on the inside front cover editorial/ordering page and the front cover indicia. 32 pages of all new art and stories.

Another thing I love about these new books is the sense of humor evident in the design. With titles like "OH NO! NOT AGAIN, DITKO!" and such, how can that not bring a smile to your face?

Artwork © Steve Ditko 2009

With a career now in it's 56th year, it's really great to be buying new Steve Ditko comic books as they're released. Ditko gets a lot of flack for his brand of storytelling and subject matter (Objectivist philosophy), but as long as he's doing exactly the types of stories he wants to, on his own terms, that's all anyone can ask of an artist. Our choice as readers is to buy the books, or not. Clear as black and white.


Mort Todd said...

After reading your review, I'd like to know more about this Steve Ditko!

Rob Imes said...

This was my favorite line in the review: "Ditko's a one-man anthology factory!" So true!

Javier Hernandez said...

Hey! The publisher/editor of DITKOMANIA, and the back cover artist for issue #74! Thanks gentlemen, glad to have your comments. And yes Mort, look up more info on this Ditko fellow....Pretty interesting career, I'd say!