Friday, December 14, 2012

The Later Ditko Years at Charlton

Some of the toughest Ditko items to find are actually some of the books he created later in his career. Steve Ditko worked for decades for Charlton Comics. The page rates there were far lower than with other companies, but the work was steady for him and so he kept at it, working for Charlton when other artists of his caliber would not have done so.

Most of the work he did for Charlton in the 1980s was very different from the kinds of things he had illustrated earlier in his career. Gone was the detail and the obvious expenditure of great labor into his pages. He still showed a definite brilliance for layout and continuity, but he was just doing a draftsman's job at this point and, to me, the heart was not there.

He could still shine brilliantly when he wanted to, but by and large this was just work to pay the bills, and you don't see much in the way of inspiration in the artwork that he did for Charlton during this stretch.

Still, it's Ditko, and just about anything he did is worth looking at, and worth having in my collection.

This book just has a Ditko cover, with no accompanying story by him.

This cover is a busy one and, to me, quite captivating. It strikes me as the kind of thing that would have been rejected in his days working under editor Stan Lee at Marvel, but which passed muster at the less exacting editorial oversight at Charlton.

Reminiscent of the kind of monster Ditko would cook up for Goodman in the old days at pre-hero Marvel.

And occasionally the kind of thing that reminded me of the work of Ditko's youth.

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