Thursday, September 01, 2011

Charlton Action 12

Wow. I just got this relatively new book (1985--only 26 years old!) for my back issue collection. One of my favorite comic book creators is Steve Ditko. The man has been just amazing during his very long career in comics. He really is one of the finest artists ever to work in the comics medium. I always have to mention that he's a flake when it comes to politics and philosophy because the great body of his work for several decades has been centered around what I can only describe as a kind of religious fanaticism resulting from his worship of Ayn Rand and her execrate writings.

That said, the man is brilliant when it comes to his art. One of the things that stands out about his work is his use of something as seemingly simple as panel construction, probably the single oldest feature of modern comics. He plays with construction and layout even when it seems as if he is not fiddling with it at all. The ways he violates and expands the use of panels is often very subtle, and sometimes it's blatant.

Another feature of the comics that Ditko was creating in these last days of the publisher Charlton was that apparently they had given him free reign, editorially. I somehow get the impression that the publishers really didn't give a rat's ass what he was drawing and writing as long as it wasn't going to get them arrested. He certainly didn't seem to have any real editing going on with his books. They're wacky in ways that's hard to describe without seeing them. I find it impossible to believe any other mainstream publisher at the time would have allowed Ditko to do this book.

As I had only seen the STATIC character collected in black and white format (I wrote about it earlier in my blog), I had no idea what the pages looked like in color. As soon as I cracked the cover on this issue to read it, I was impressed with how it appears in classic four color format! It's a superior book in color, and I regret that Dikto and Snyder can't afford to put these chapters out in glorious full color!

Well, now I'm going to have to seek out the rest of these Charlton titles until I have them all. Oh, well. That's what collecting is all about.

The cover to Charlton Action #12.

The opening page of the book in my Ditko-published omnibus. Nice enough as it goes.

Now here's the book in color! Wow! I'm reminded again that my first impression of this book being Ditko's version of showing what Spider-Man would have been like without editorial interference is reinforced. Totally insane fanaticism at work, which has created a book that is brilliant on some levels and is downright nauseating on others.

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