Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ghostly Haunts #47: "Final Treatment"

Download Ghostly Haunts #47

He was present at the creation of Marvel's most successful superhero. And in addition to being the co-creator of Spider-Man, he created Dr. Strange. Steve Ditko broke into comics in the early 1950s, drawing fantasy and horror tales for Strange Suspense Stories, Fantastic Fears, and Black Magic. By 1956 he'd linked up with Charlton to draw Tales of the Mysterious Traveler. Later in the 1950s, Ditko went to work for Marvel, turning out somewhat quirky tales of fantasy and horror for titles such like Journey into Mystery and Tales of Suspense. One of his specialties was alien invaders.

Ditko invented Captain Atom for Charlton in 1960 and in 1962, working with Stan Lee, he began his run on Spider-Man. He designed all the major characters—Peter Parker, Aunt May, J. Jonah Jameson, etc.—as well as such major villains as Dr. Octopus, the Vulture, and the Green Goblin. By this time, Ditko had developed a distinctive style of his own, inspired in part by both Jack Kirby and Joe Kubert.

Leaving Marvel in 1966, Ditko worked for Dell, Charlton, Warren and DC Comics, which is how we got this story. Later he worked again for Marvel. Highly independent, Ditko left mainstream comics some years ago.


Script: Joe Gill
Pencils: Steve Ditko
Inks: Steve Ditko

  • in Ghost Manor (Charlton, 1971 series) #66
  • in Blade of Fear (Gredown, 1976 series) #1

Monday, October 25, 2010

House of Secrets #139: "Instant Rebirth!"

Download House of Secrets #139

Halloween is rapidly approaching so I am dumping the superhero comic books for something a little more seasonal. After the holiday, I plan to turn my attention to Science Fiction, jungle wanderers, and other genres of speculative fiction.

This sister magazine to House of Mystery first reached the stands in the winter of 1956. While offering pretty much the same mixture as before, House of Secrets has the distinction of introducing the durable Swamp Thing.

This issue is the Halloween offering for 1976, the story written by George Kashdan and illustrated by Bill Draut. The magazine was hosted by Able, who also co-hosted Plop! along with his brother Cain from House of Mystery fame, all of which were published by DC Comics.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Marvel Treasury Edition #1: "Spider-Man Tackles The Torch!"

Download Marvel Treasury Edition #1

I was only ten years old, but I can still recall precisely where I was when I first eyed this baby. I had just stepped into The Bottle Shop, which was located on Main St. in the small bedroom community I grew up in (and the only alternative to Rexall's Drug Store's comic book spinner rack), when I spied this beauty on the magazine rack. Of course, I had to buy it and I've have had it in my collection ever since. It's almost difficult to believe that I used to think that $1.50 was a steep price to pay for a comic book!

Not a mutant, Spider-Man has been Marvel's most successful and popular character. After auditioning in Amazing Fantasy #15, he moved into his own title, The Amazing Spider-Man, early in 1963. He was the creation of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, with possible input from Jack Kirby.

The original story introduced mild-mannered high school student Peter Parker, who lived with his Uncle Ben and Aunt May. Clean-cut, hardworking, and bespectacled, Peter was a brilliant science student but was shunned by his fellows and labeled a "bookworm." After being bitten by a radioactive spider at a science exhibit, he gained "spider powers" that included superhuman strength and agility and the ability to cling to any surface and spin webs.

Among the artists who've drawn the old web-spinner have been John Buscema, Gil Kane, John Byrne, Todd McFarlane, and a host of others.


Cover: John Romita
Script: Stan Lee
Pencils: Jack Kirby
Inks: Steve Ditko

  • from Amazing Spider-Man, The (Marvel, 1963 series) #8 (January 1964)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Superman #300: "Superman 2001!"

Download Superman #300

In keeping with the superhero genre I'm currently focusing on, here is a good one from 1976 celebrating Superman's 300th issue. Basically, this issue asks the question, what if Superman arrived on Earth in '76 and was acquired by the United States with a jealous Soviet Union looking forlorn? This anniversary issue was written by Cary Bates and Elliot S! Maggin and drawn by Curt Swan (natch!) and Bob Oksner.

To many longtime readers, Curt Swan was the artist on Superman. He drew the Man of Steel for close to forty years, developing a style that was attractive and seemed highly suitable for depicting the residents of Metropolis.

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