Saturday, 30 March 2013

Sim on Ditko

Amazing Adult Fantasy #7 (Marvel Comics, December 1961)
Art by Steve Ditko
(from a review of Amazing Adult Fantasy #7, Blake Bell's Blog, 15 May 2012)
This batch of five stories, all from the same issue (sporting one of the greatest pre-super-hero Ditko covers in Marvel’s history – even the colouring is great!) interested me because they’re all in the same category as “There It Is Again!”

All are scripted by Stan Lee and it’s as if he cracked the Ditko code and figured out the exact overall story tone that was required to get a Ditko Iconic job. I suspect there’s a story behind all of these ending up in the same issue.

Looking on the bright side, I can envision Stan Lee, as I say, cracking the Ditko code and writing four High Iconic Ditko stories to appear in the same issue. Looking through a more jaundiced lens, Stan Lee had no idea what was going on and over a period of time just ended up with four High Iconic jobs and decided What the hey! And put them all in the same issue. The job numbers that appear on the splash pages aren’t completely sequential (V-391, V-392, V-393, V-395, V-396) but pretty close. It might be something as simple as a deadline crunch and Ditko picked out the five scripts that he thought he could draw the fastest.

If we assume (as I do) that solo Steve Ditko is the REAL Steve Ditko, I suspect these stories gave him his first taste of iconic story-telling and told him this was where his creative heart was and where he needed to go when he opted for a smaller audience and complete creative freedom.

“Why Won’t They Believe Me?” actually delivers the goods. Good build-up, good red herring on the second to last page and good actual twist ending. “The Last Man on Earth”, nah, “Witch Hunt”, nah, “Journey’s End” yeah.

I’ve just spent the last half hour flipping through all of them, admiring the artwork, the composition, the story-telling, the pin-stripe suits. If you’re a major league Ditko fan, you couldn’t go wrong bidding on a reading copy of AMAZING ADULT FANTASY #7 on eBay.

Dave Sim reviews 1950s and 1960s Steve Ditko comics at Blake Bell's Blog, and you can read more Steve Ditko comics for yourself in the Blake Bell edited Steve Ditko Archives series published by Fantagraphics Books (Vol 4 due in May 2013!).

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