Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Original Art Stories: Ditko Fanzine Art

Ya know, there's no other reason why I've posted this other than I really like looking at it. This art (currently for sale - wish I could afford it) was drawn by Ditko for the The Comic Reader #42, published October 1965. Here's where the funny stuff begins. As everyone is well aware Ditko doesn't do commissions. Shame really as I expect that he'd made more money than anyone else if he did, and that includes Neal Adams. Just imagine, a Ditko Spider-Man of your own hanging on the wall - what's that worth to you bucko? Having said that back in the 1960s Ditko was very active in the fanzine scene and would more often than not do these little drawings (they're a bit more advanced than a sketch) for use as spot illos or even covers. Bill Schelly's excellent, and essential, book The Golden Age Of Fandom shows a few examples, including a very similar image to the one above, along with a great Captain Atom shown below.

The Captain Atom shown here was drawn for The Comic Reader #36, and as Schelly states in his book, 'Few professional artists were as supportive (of fanzines) at this juncture (early to mid 1960s)." It's very ironic considering that Ditko has almost withdrawn from the world at large, but then I've always found the man to be more than interesting.

This image, along with an all too brief and rare interview, first appeared in Komik Heroes Of The Future #6, as published by Don Schank. With this image it's fairly clear that Ditko, at this stage in his career (mid 1960s) has developed a sort of generic template that he'd dip into for such fanzine illos. Not that there's anything wrong with that. When you stop to think about how much an original Ditko Spider-Man or Dr Strange page would cost you, getting one of these fully inked and thought out sketches of both characters on the one page is a bargain.

If you're curious as to what Ditko did do for fanzines then you can check here at Blake Bell's Ditko checklist, as you'll soon discover there's a lot of stuff out there. However, if you are a bit lazy to click a link, then here's the fanzine list. Check the rest of the checklists out though, there's a goldmine of information up there.

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Alter Ego : [1964, 65]
#6 : Mar '64 - Spider-man / Dr. Strange illo. and accompanying letter
#8 : Win '65 - Half-page illo. of Marvel characters' heads. [Fanzine by Roy Thomas]

Aurora: [1964]
#5 : 1964 - Dr. Strange Cover.

Champion : [1968]
#5 : 1968 - Letter to the editor. [Published by Bob Cosgrove].

Collector, The : [1970, 72-74]
#19 : May '70 - Mr. A illustration : Ditko copyright.
#26 : Sum '72 - ''When Is A Man To Be Judged Evil?'' (6 pages) : Ditko script, copyright.
Wraparound cover : Mr. A. .
#27 : Win '73 - ''A View Of Justice'' (8 pages) : Ditko script, copyright.
#29 : 1974 - ''Libage Vs. Chain'' (4 pages) [Fanzine by Bill Wilson]

Comic Crusader : [1968-70, 72, 73]
#4 : Dec '68 - ''Debaters'' (1 page) : Ditko script, copyright - Mr. A..
#5 : Mar '69 - ''Too Late'' (1 page) : Ditko copyright.
#6 : Sum '69 - ''What Happens To A Man When He Refuses To Uphold The Good?'' (4 pages) : Ditko copyright.
#7 : Fal '69 - ''What Happens To A Man When He Refuses To Uphold The Good?'' (4 pages) : Ditko copyright.
#8 : Feb '70 - Defender illo. (1 page).
#13 : 1972 - 8 one-page Mr. A. stories.
#14 : 1972 - H Series, Part 1 (8 pages) : Ditko script, copyright.
#15 : 1973 - H Series, Part 2 (8 pages) : Ditko script, copyright.
#17 : 1976 - H Series : The Screamer (8 pages) : Ditko script, copyright. [Fanzine by Martin Greim]

Comic Crusader Storybook : [1978]
#nn : 1978 - ''Death Vs. Love-Song'' (10 pages) : Ditko plot - Mr. A story.

Comic Fan : [1965]
#2 : Sum '65 - ''Steve Ditko - A Portrait Of The Master'' : interview.

Comic Fandom Monthly : [1972]
#7 : Apr '72 - ''Ditko On Ditko'' interview.

Comicom Booklet : [1964]
#nn : Sum '64 - Full-Page illos. of Spider-Man and Dr. Strange.
[Program for the 1964 Comic Convention, attended by Ditko, in New York]

Comic Reader : [1965, 80]
#33 : Jan '65 - Dr. Strange illo.
#35 : Mar '65 - ???.
#36 : Apr '65 - Captain Atom illo.
#42 : Oct '65 - ???.
#176 : Jan '80 - Unused covers to MACHINE MAN #10 (2 pages).

Ditkomania : [1983-pres.]
#1 - #63 : ??? '83 - [Fanzine by Bill Hall]

Eon : [1969]
#3 : 1969 - ''They Never Learn'' (1 page) : Ditko script, copyright - Mr. A.

Epoch : [1972]
#4 : 1972 - Mr. A. illustration : Ditko copyright.

Fantasy Advertiser : [1986]
#97 : 1986 - 20th Anniversary Cover : Ditko art and colors. [fanzine by Martin Skidmore]

Fanzation : [1969]
#3 : 1969 - Letter to the editor. [Published by Robert Beerbohm]

FMZ : [1970]
#1 : 1970 - Reprints ''Stretching Things'' (5 pages) : FANTASTIC FEARS #5, 1/54.

Gosh Wow : [1968]
#2 : 1968 - Blue Beetle/Question illo : Ditko inks.

Graphic Illusions : [1971]
#1 : Sum '71 - ''Middle Of The Road?'' (5 pages) : Ditko script, copyright.
Mr. A back cover : Ditko copyright. [Published by Rob Gustaveson]

Gremlin : [1970]
#2 : Dec '70 - Captain Atom Cover.

Guts : [1969]
#5 : Sum '69 - ''Violence, The Phoney Issue'' (8 pages).
Note : 1st page is Mr. A. splash; the text article runs over 5 pages.
Page 7 is a newspaper composite with a MR. A. card in the middle.
Page 8 is a one-page story entitled ''It's Either.....Or''.
Published by Rob Gustaveson and Jeff Gluckson.


Heroes, Inc. : [1969]
#1 : 1969 - ''Cannon'' (12 pages). [Published by Wally Wood]

Inside Comics : [1974]
#2 : Sum '74 - ''Who Owns Original Art?'' Article.

Incognito : [1965]
#3 : Sep '65 - Reprints pin-up of Dr. Strange from SUPER-HEROES ANONYMOUS #2, 4/65.
(Note : Bill Schelly, producer of this fanzine traced the original Ditko drawing onto a mimeograph stencil
for S-H.A.#2 and then a ditto master for this issue. Technically, you could argue Schelly 're-inked' the piece.)

Journey Into Comics : [1969]
#5 : 1969 - Mr. A. spot illo. [Published by Paul LeGrazie]

Komik Heroes Of The Future : [1964]
#6 : 1964 - Dr. Strange/Spider-Man illo and interview. [Published by Don Schank]

Quintessence : [1973]
#22 : May '73 - Mr. A. pin-up (1 page). [Published by Johnny Achziger]

Rapport : [1966]
#2 : 1966 - interview.


Realm : [196?]
#3 : 196? - Head-shots illo. of Captain Atom, Blue Beetle and The Question (1 page). [Published by A. Edward Romero]

Rocket's Blast Comicollector : [1978]
#143 : Jun '78 - Reprints Cover to AMAZING ADULT FANTASY #9, 2/62.


Sense Of Wonder : [1968, 72]
#6 : Dec '68 - Cover : Ditko script, copyright - cover is actually a 1-page, Mr. A. 'story' entitled ''The Choice'']
#11 : 1972 - ''The Defenders'' (6 pages).


Super Adventures : [1969]
#10 : 1969 - Mr. A. pin-up. [Published by Marv Wolfman]

Super-Heroes Anonymous : [1965]
#2 : Apr '65 - Dr. Strange pin-up (1 page).

Yancy Street Journal : [1965]
#8 : 1965 - Cover (Dr. Strange head-shot).

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