Thursday, October 16, 2014


When I was a kid I discovered the work of Jack Kirby before that of Steve Ditko. I was very young indeed when my mom gave me a copy of FANTASTIC FOUR #4. But I didn't see anything by Ditko until around late 1965 (perhaps early 1966). And over the years I think it was Ditko who influenced me more than Kirby. Jack Kirby's work was all about raw power to me, and Ditko was about taking chances. I've often said that Kirby was every kid's rabbi, and Ditko was every kid's philosopher. I still hold with that.

One of the companies where Ditko ended up working after he walked away from his creations at Marvel Comics was Warren Publishing. For a time Jim Warren was apparently paying very attractive rates to comic artists, drawing in the best talent in the industry. In fact, he managed to corral most of the old EC artists. During the time he was paying those inflated rates, Ditko worked at Warren where he turned out some of the most daring efforts of his career.

Now Dark Horse has published CREEPY PRESENTS STEVE DITKO, collecting all of the Ditko stories that he produced during that brief period for James Warren. Here we see Steve Ditko experimenting with the comics form as he would never have been able to do for traditional comic book formats. He uses washes, and gouache, and fine lines to exquisite effect. As a kid I was overwhelmed by the stories Ditko illustrated for the Warren magazines and those stuck with me to a greater extent than those of any other artist who worked there during that brief flash of publishing genius.

I'm not sure if Ditko is receiving any royalties from this book, so there is that to consider when purchasing this volume. But here it is, some of the most visually striking work I ever saw from Steve Ditko, illustrating stories written by Archie Goodwin (with one exception, written by Clark Dimmon & Terry Bisson).


A man beaten to death, just at the moment of his final mortal breath. The image of the shattered teeth was nothing I'd ever seen in comics.

Ditko excelled in this kind of exposition within a single panel. I've never really seen any other comic book artist achieve this kind of effect within the confines of one panel.
This splash page amazed me as a kid and still does.

Words fail.

Grime and dissolution.

Ditko proves himself the equal of the best with pen and ink.

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