Sunday, July 10, 2011

Amazing Fantasy #11

I landed a pretty nice copy of AMAZING ADULT FANTASY #11. The only real flaw with the book is that someone along the history of this copy used a watercolor marker to put a jacket and tie on the middle figure of the alien. Other than that, the book is in excellent condition and a welcome addition to my collection. I am very close to completing a set of the Ditko-inspired comic series that was THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN.

As recounted here before, the book began as AMAZING ADVENTURES, a comic of fantasy and science-fiction stories illustrated by Jack Kirby, Steve Dikto, and various other artists, including Don Heck. This comic also featured what is now considered Marvel's first continuing superhero, a mysticist named Dr. Droom. This anthology series came to an end with #6 and was thereafter retitled with...

#7 of the series appeared as AMAZING ADULT FANTASY. With this book, Stan Lee, the editor-in-chief, gave free reign to his most daring artist, Steve Ditko. Ditko filled each issue of AMAZING ADULT FANTASY with several stories from (I will assume) plots delivered by Lee and almost all copped from stories by far more talented authors. This book lasted for seven issues and there was another change in title after issue #14 when it became...
AMAZING FANTASY. This book lasted precisely one issue. The first story introduced a new character created wholly by Ditko--a new kind of superhero that had never been seen and which has never been matched for sheer originality. His name, of course, was Spider-Man: Steve Ditko's ultimate stroke of genius.

Thereafter, the book became THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and its sole creator stayed with the title until issue number 38 when he walked away from it forever.

Steve Ditko was obviously having fun with this book. I have to think that he was still feeling some youthful exuberance in these days, before he turned his life completely over to his obsession with Ayn Rand's diseased philosophies.

Five Ditko stories. Good grief! Pure comic magic. This title page isn't as dynamic as some others he'd done, so I'm wondering if it was done in a hurry.

This is a classic Ditko monster. I've always liked his monsters, which are always as good as the ones by his fellow Marvel creator, Jack Kirby. Those guys could whip up some truly great creatures.

I slam Stan Lee fairly often here in my blog. For good reason, of course. But he was the finest huckster that the comic book business ever had. Jack Kirby and Steve Dikto created everything, but Stan Lee sold it lock, stock, and barrel to the world at large. The industry never had such an effective bullshitter. One thing that he did better than anyone else was to make the fans a part of the action. There had been letters pages in comics before, and fan clubs and such. EC Comics did that effectively in their day. But Lee drew it larger and made the fans feel like part of the family. It was among the innovations by others that Lee took and polished to a high shine.

The top shelf in part of my re-fitted office. Amazing Spider-Man #s 31 through 33, the greatest superhero comic book ever created by a single artist. Steve Ditko wrote it, he penciled it, he inked it. No one has come near the perfection that he achieved with this total work of art and philosophy. Steve Ditko is the greatest!


Al said...

Nice blog entry, I'll come back from time to time to check things out.

HemlockMan said...

Thanks! I tend to post Ditko bits as I add his books to my collection.

MarkGelbart said...

When my Jewish grandmother died in Hallendale, Florida in 1985, our family went there for the funeral.

We met the real estate agent who was working to sell her condo.

The real estate woman was a voluptuous woman who claimed to have worked on underground comics with Stan Lee. I assume they were sexy comic books. She was sexy.

Know of any underground comics by Stan Lee? He probably used a fake name. I wonder if there are any underground comics drawn by Steve Ditko, that collectors don't know about.

HemlockMan said...

The only underground comic I know of that had Stan Lee's name on it was COMIX BOOK, a slick magazine that published the work of a number of well-known underground cartoonists. It was published by Curtis, ostensibly an arm of the publishing company owned by his uncle (for whom he worked). I think it lasted five issues. It was edited by Denis Kitchen and Lee had nothing much to do with it except for talking Kitchen into bringing the project to Marvel (Curtis). Yer sexy condo lady perhaps worked in the production department at Marvel/Curtis or maybe even in Denis Kitchen's outfit.