Saturday, July 14, 2018

Reading Room MAN-BAT "Beware the Eyes of Baron Tyme" Conclusion

...Francine (She-Bat) Langstrom, wife of Kirk (Man-Bat) Langstrom is being mind-controlled by the evil mage Baron Tyme and used to murder his enemies in Gotham City!
This has, of course, attacted the attention of...The Batman...
In best super-villain fashion, Baron Tyme survived and returned to fight Jack Kirby's The Demon in a story arc pencilled and inked by Ditko!
Ditko keeps The Batman's face shadowed most of the time, showing only the eye-slits, giving him a really-kool look I'm sorry other artists haven't followed-up on!
For unknown reasons, the next (and last) issue of the series featured a totally-different creative team (except for cover artist Jim Aparo)!
Ditko kept very busy, doing projects like Stalker and one-off tales for the DC mystery and sci-fi anthologies as well as work for other companies like Atlas/Seaboard and Charlton.
He returned to Marvel in 1977, with the explicit mandate he not illustrate anything involving his co-creations Spider-Man or Doctor Strange!
But anything else was fair game, and he worked on everything from Machine Man and The Avengers to Chuck Norris: Karate Kommando!
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Volume 2
(which reprints this tale as well as Baron Tyme's return story-arc vs The Demon, also illustrated by Ditko)

Friday, July 13, 2018

Reading Room MAN-BAT "Beware the Eyes of Baron Tyme" Part 1

Steve Ditko studied under Jerry (Joker) Robinson at the Cartoonists and Illustrators School...
...(now known as the School of Visual Arts), and here's the only time Steve illustrated an iconic character Jerry rendered numerous times!
...where Guess Who? is you'll see tomorrow!
Ditko did a spectacular job on this tale, and was apparently very enthusiastic about doing the series.
His promo (and probably tryout) piece... absolutely beautiful!
Al Milgrom, who is a longtime fan of Ditko's also threw himself into his work, turning in some of his best non-Jim Starlin inking!
(Milgrom was Starlin's preferred inker during the 1970s whenever Jim didn't ink his own work.
Their co-created covers are signed "Gemini".)
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(which reprints this tale)

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Reading Room COMIC CRUSADER STORYBOOK "Mr A: Deaths vs Love-Song"

To celebrate the late, great Steve Ditko, we present a tale without captions or word balloons...
...demonstrating his amazing storytelling capability by proving the adage "You can enjoy and understand a great graphic tale without any words at all!"

One unique aspect of this Mr A tale from Martin L Greim's Comic Crusader StoryBook (1977) is that, usually, the panels are packed with word balloons and captions explaining the concept of Objectivism that drives Mr A to battle evil without compromise!
In many cases, the text overwhelmed the graphic narrative, dominating the pages!
But for this one time, Ditko just let the action rip...and hoo-boy does it ever!

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(which cover-features this tale)

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Before The Black Panther...LionMan!

Think the Black Panther was the first high-tech Black superhero?
Decades before him, a hero stalked the jungles and plains, defending them from evil men!
He's not only a scientist and athlete, but an American, as well!
LionMan made his first and only appearance in All-Negro Comics #1 (1946), a unique title for a number of reasons you can read about HERE!
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Monday, February 12, 2018

Not Who You Think / One-Shot Hero: BLACK PANTHER

Prince T'Challa, Marvel's first Black superhero, ruler of Wakanda, husband of Storm, a Mighty Avenger...
1) Who is he?
2) Where did he come from??
3) What are his powers???
4) Why does he have a tail????
Of all those questions, we can only answer #3: Agile as a cat (obviously), expert in hand-to-hand combat, and probably good with the knife he carries.
Since he only made one appearance, in Centaur's Stars & Stripes #3 (1941), we will never know what his creator, writer/artist Paul Gustavson, had in mind for him.
Gustavson, though not a "big" name, did contribute several long-running characters to Golden Age comics history at Timely (Marvel), Quality, and Centaur, including The Fantom of the Fair (FantoMan), The Human Bomb, The Angel, two archer-heroes; The Arrow and Alias the Spider, and Man of War.
He also worked on Blackhawk, Uncle Sam, and other Quality Comics characters.
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