By now, we all know what happened. He entered the marketplace with two new titles: BEWARE THE CREEPER and THE HAWK and THE DOVE. True comic book fanatics know the history of how this move coincided with serious health problems for Ditko that prevented him from working at his desired pace and intensity.
Both of these books reflected his right wing philosophy more than the two titles he had created at Marvel (THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and DR. STRANGE). And of the pair, the one least like anything he'd done at Marvel was THE HAWK and THE DOVE. It was also the first title he had to abandon due to his serious health problems. Ditko completed three stories featuring the Hawk and Dove. The issue of SHOWCASE in which they were introduced, and the first two issues of their regular title. As always, the artwork in all are superb. The stories, to my way of thinking, were rather strange and dogmatic. Apparently, Ditko was trying to present a balanced view of the political turmoil running through the USA at that time, but his particular brand of Fascism ruins any such attempt. I cannot see how the title could ever have been anything other than a failure.
After Ditko left the book due to those health troubles (tuberculosis, from what I've been able to discover), the book was left in the hands of Steve Skeates as writer and Gil Kane as artist. If anyone was going to do that book, I would think that Kane was as good a choice as any. But the writing was on the wall, and Ditko's initial tenure at DC as a superhero creator was soon at an end. Both of his titles ended after just six issues.
As with just about everything Ditko has created, though, the characters and their images live on in revivals and animation. Ditko was not quite the machine Jack Kirby was, but he is still one of the best who worked the superhero comic book world.
|Were Goodman and Lee worried? At this point, I rather doubt it. They'd already seen Ditko's new superhero creations at Charlton fail to attract the fan base he'd established at Marvel. Would the work at DC bring them in? Nope.|
|The mincing, cowardly Dove.|
|The manly Hawk dominates.|
|From here on out, it was Skeates writing and Kane illustrating. And both ultimately failing.|
|You have to admit...Ditko could create some iconic superhero imagery to be used effectively by artists who followed in his wake.|
|And then...half a dozen issues was all that DC could justify.|