Sunday, April 7, 2013

Werewoods / Ditko GORGO Contest

Continuing on with another Giant Monster entry, (that is, if you consider giant murderous living trees as monsters), this time from the great Steve Ditko and from the October 1976 issue of Ghost Manor #31-- though my scans are actually from the reprint issue of Ghost Manor #47. It's WEREWOODS!! Therewoods! Right over there. And speaking of Ditko and giant monsters, if you're interested in winning yourself a copy of IDW / Yoe Books new Ditko Monsters GORGO, all you have to do is this: leave us a comment with your first and/or fondest Ditko memory and you are instantly entered into the werebowl for a drawing to be held next weekend; Craig Yoe or I will pick a name at random. So come on, paint us a picture of how SD became a name in your life. It's that simple. And consider it Ditko Week here at THOIA as well-- more hairy scaries from the legend coming up!












WIN THIS!!
NOW!!!


21 comments:

David Windhorst said...

Dang...favorite Ditko...that's almost unfair! But sticking with the theme of this post, how about his work on Marvel's "Tomb of Dracula" (the first comic I ever felt compelled to follow):

http://ditkocultist.com/2012/11/19/original-art-tomb-of-dracula-2-the-dimensional-man-splash-1979/

Turok1952 said...

Here's my favorite Ditko moment:

As a child, I was fascinated by the Tales to Astonish! story "I spent midnight with the thing on Bald Mountain."

So one Saturday morning I told my pals Billy and Gary the story. Gary had some water colors. I had them paint a brown "beard" on my seven-year-old face so I could be the sculptor, then I painted Billy's face yellow (the good statue) and Gary's face black (the evil statue)...it actually looked kind of runny gray)and we went about the neighborhood reenacting the story, which was a very dissimilar rendition of the comic tale.

Our escapade turned into a house to house roving narration by me and wrestling matches in which poor Billy always lost. But, in an hour or two we had a regular following as kids tagged after us to participate as villagers.

My uncle, the fire chief, finally came down the street and good-naturedly broke us all up after I instigated a simulated attack on the castle (a neighbor lady's house)by villagers waving burning "torches" (dried cornstalks.

Things were better in the late fifties! Thanks, Steve Ditko!

Brandi Weed said...

I probably enjoyed Ditko work without knowing who he was, but I have a perversely fond memory of one of his lesser efforts: the 10-issue Speedball mini-series. One of the comic book fans in my college dorm would set out his monthly box o' comics in the lounge for all to enjoy, and we found Speedball kind of dorky but interesting (the late 80s was NOT a time to try and bring back the Silver Age!).

The funniest part to me was that in the wildly swelling comic price bubble of the time, Speedball *lost* value-- and my friend seemed to cherish the series all the more for it...

Mestiere said...

At first I thought that the person frolicking through the woods in short pants chasing after a butterfly was an adult. That kid had some broad shoulders.

I expected that someone would get bitten by a weretree and turn into a tree. Or, since it's Ditko, bitten by a radioactive tree.

Page six:

"I'll take care of these roots with my shotgun!"

Page seven:

"I'll just set fire to these woods near this residential area!"

Page nine:

Jimmy: "The woods are on fire!"

Homeowner: "Come on in and lie on my couch!"

But how can we analize this story from an Objectivist point of view? As soon as Jimmy asked for help, instead of pulling himself up by his own bootstraps, the woods caught him. Or something.

That was an entertaining read!

Dr. Theda said...

I have this one in my collection as well I believe it is issue #31...
I loved his illustrations in the Old "Charlton Comics (Tom Sutton Was my favorite... Him and Ditko Would "switch-up" One would do the cover art and the other drew the story inside... Cool) I also enjoyed his work for Warren (Creepy and Eerie) I had never even bought a "Spiderman" comic.... I had very limited funds back then... Horror and "monsters"... was what we desired as a kid... Plus his concepts of "Dark Dimensions" (Often used in "Dr. Strange" stories... He would often have a mirror or painting as a "doorway" to these dark places... I really enjoyed the story of "a Demon and His Boy" (published in DC Comics "House of Mystery"... I did not learn of his time with Marvel Comics till much later in our life...

Brian Barnes said...

Our horror host just sits silently in the last panel. He desperately wants to say "yes, the ending came literally out of nowhere, I know, don't blame me, I'm just the host" but his desire to keep his job overrides that.

He does give us that "look", though...

First Ditko: Reprints of Spider-man and Dr. Strange, and the Warren mags. I never had a big love for his early Spider-man (to me, Romita was the one who's look became the standard), but his Dr. Strange basically set the template for later stories, though (IMHO) Colan was the guy that truly refined it.

Turok1952 said...

One Tales of Suspense featured a giant Ditko critter, and it was an unexpected one at that. The Black Planet was the story, and all I remember of it was the hilarious last panel.

If anyone knows this story, let's talk it up. It features a Ditko critter I would wager few remember.

Mr. Cavin said...

Man. Like Brian, I'm sure the first Ditko I ever saw was in Spider-Man reprints. Spider-Man was the only superhero book I grew up reading, actually. I dipped into the Hulk every now and then, Fantastic Four too. Very occasionally the X-Men. But Spider-Man was really it. Also like Brian, I was a Romita Sr. man, and thought Ditko's odd, encephalitic take on figure drawing was too corny. So I came up kind of disliking the guy, actually. Unlike Brian, I did not read Dr. Strange, you see, and that would have completely changed everything.

My relationship with Steve Ditko has had three distinct phases so far. The second was when I was fifteen and really started looking into the man's stuff in response to Watchmen. Well, also because I was really digging Warren back issues at the time. The tragedy here, of course, was the slow realization that Alan Moore was really spoofing Ditko more than he was flattering the guy--followed by the very quick realization that, in reality, Ditko was far creepier than the spoof. Sure, Rorschach sort of pampered my teen angst need to shuttle everything into black and white moralities, but my response to the sheer fascist madness of Mr. A was the close the book and back quietly away.

Phase three started in the last few years when I really started to analyze how inventive the guy was, especially in that period between fifty-five and sixty-five when he seemed to be doing all the heavy lifting. Besides Kirby, is there anyone else who really saw comics through the dark times after the fifties witch hunts and on into their silver age renaissance? It's hard to imagine, but since we are now enjoying a golden age of archival quality access to these rare pages (thanks, in part, to movers and shakers like Yoe and Karswell here), I've now happily spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars on numerous heavy compilations of this nutjob I didn't like all that much on Spider-Man. Go figure.

Gorgo! is a thrilling, beautiful book. Mine arrived in the mail just today.

Brian Barnes said...

Since it's been eluded to, and I certainly don't want to step to closely to this, but while I disagree with most of Ditko's political leaning, I find them fascinating and I find some of the work that grows from them fascinating, especially as a writers tool. It's such a stark place that he lives that it really infuses it with a cardboard like world of 2D characters which can work if done right. It's very much like early 40s or WWII era propaganda comics.

While I respect his total adherence to it, it's sad in the way that Ghastly was sad; Ghastly's (and not without reason because of the witch hunts) hate for the horror stuff kept him out of the public that was, especially these last decades, would have showered him with the praise he deserved. Same thing for Ditko, though Ditko has keep up his artwork, he just doesn't usually return to the stuff that made him famous.

Michael N. said...

The first Ditko comic I read, when I was around nine years old in 1970, was The Creeper #1. The comic lived up to its name: a crazy yellow guy with green hair leaping and laughing insanely. It really creeped me out back then and was a fitting introduction to Ditko's world.

Oz said...

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Jeff Overturf said...

My entree into the world of super-hero comic books, was my big brothe Dave's 8.5x11x11 pasreboard box full of Marvels. I, as a grubby handed, dirty little tyke was never allowed to touch this box of treasures. The year was about 1969, I was 6, Dave was 17 and the taped and worn box was chock full of original runs of Fantastic Four and Spider-Man...oh the temptation of that box of 4-color adventure and the sweet smell of musty newsprint held within!

Later that year I came down with tonsilitis, had to go to the hospital for an operation and home to recoup for a few days. Home while all the brothers were in school. Home with just me and Mom...and that box!!!

I know what you're thinking, but there is no ending to this tale of retribution from an angry brother over torn, mis-handled or missing commics. Just a glorious afternoon of a boys eyes being opened and forever changed. The dynamism of Kirby, the elegance of Romita and the sublime grittiness and grace of Ditko. I drank in each and every panel of every book as the work of art it was and learned everything a comic book could be!

I put the box away and was never discovered. II was able to snea into it many more time over the years. As I grew older and the 70's crept in and my friends were raving about the modern age of Spider-Man. Morbius and Man-Wolf and the rest and even now when I hear the kiddos talk about Lee and McFarland and the age of Venom. I just sit back, cose my eyes and smile and twhisper to myself, "Yeah, it's probably all pretty cool. But you should have seen how it was when Ditko held the reigns.".

docvoltage said...

1973: I am 6 years old and a friend shows me a Spider-Man reprint. I didn't know Ditko from Donuts, but I recognized him as the "good" Spider-Man artist like I could tell Barks' ducks from the rest. His Peter Parker was more spidery when out of costume, for gosh sakes. That was how was innoculated with Steve Ditko.

I'd love to meet him to ask him about his love life. Of course he'd slam the door in my face, but if he did open up, I bet it would be fascinating. After all, he created Mr. A and hung out with Eric Stanton ;)

Tony said...

My first and fondest Ditko memory would have been from one of the Charlton Ghost comics that I purchased at my local news stand in my youth. One story in particular which I fondly recall made a specific reference to the legendary horror radio program "Lights Out" which I am also a huge fan of. It told the story of a couple who stumbled across a deserted house inhabited by a very weird gentleman who later is revealed to have passed away several years previously. This character utters the classic radio program's intro "Lights Out" in a presumed spooky tone while approaching the couple in a threatening fashion. Even though Charlton was notorious for paying their artists and writers very low rates, they were allowed almost complete creative freedom which the higher paying competition did not. Ditko always gave one hundred percent when taking on an assignment despite what his monetary compensation was. I also remember the fantastic work Ditko did for the Warren publications as well, Creepy, Eerie, and Vampirella. Ditko is my all time favorite comic artist and his original quirky style placed him on a pedestal far apart from his competition.

Karswell said...

Thanks to everyone commenting and sharing their first or fondest Ditko memory... another post coming up and then this weekend we'll reveal the winner of the Gorgo book drawing. Everyone who comments gets entered, so get your comment in before Fri at midnight.

JMR777 said...

Ditko, my earliest memory of his work was from Charlton Comics. In my pre-teens comic books were my reading pleasure. I wasn't a hard core comics fan, but I could tell a Ditko illustrated comic right away. His work in Charlton was so unique it stood out from any of the other artists. It had a feel, a look, a style that no one seemed ever to copy, as if it couldn't be copied, wouldn't allow itself to be copied.
In the above story you can see complexity and simplicity, detail and minimist artwork all in the same story. The trees, background details, the jeep plowing through, those are the complex/sharp detail while the look and feel of the people in the story seem simplistic/minimally drawn, more of a sketch drawing compared to the background art.
While Charlton gets a bad rap (much of it deservedly so) their horror comics were like spooky campfire stories, not really scary but scary enough to entertain and retell later on.

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TheUUShadow said...

After a vigorous internal debate I finally decided to go with Fantastic Four Annual #16 "The coming of Dragon Lord". What ended up being a one hit wonder that I always wanted to see more of.

But I can't think of ANY Ditko that I don't love.

Anonymous said...

Earliest Ditko memory: the first Marvel Tales reprint of Amazing Spider-man #19; the change in JJJ's facial expression floored me when I was nine years old. Favorite Ditko memory: the first time he answered a fan letter. Disturbing Ditko memories: how unsettled I felt the first times I read Avenging World and the Creepy story "Collector's Edition." Thanks for the post! --- DRC

Mestiere said...

I just checked out Avenging World and it really looks like the parody of an insane political tract rather than a real political tract. It's relentlessly ugly. I wonder how effective they were?

I've been trying to remember if I have any "fond" memories of Ditko, but it looks like I really don't have any. I tried!

Dr. Theda said...

Wow.... All I can say is "Thank You" ...I never expected to have actually won ...This is Awesome...!!!