Diversion


by

Thursday, April 24, 2008


I found the comic pictured above for 25 cents today. Am I the only one out there who didn’t know that Steve Ditko drew an FF Annual? And inked himself? In 1981? I haven’t read it yet but it looks amazing and, well, I’m that much of a comics fan that this was a big find. For a quarter!!

Marshall Rogers is a better artist than you. I also found this today. For a dollar. And I printed this upside down on purpose. No-Prize to whomever can guess what comic this is…

message to all auto-bio comics / art comics lovers out there, this post is for you: Read more old school super-hero comics.

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25 Responses to “Diversion”
  1. chan says:

    That’s a handsome cover
    I still remember when he took over ROM and I thought, “This guy draws weird.” Little did I know how weird he could get.

  2. Frank Santoro says:

    Ditko is wacky thats fer sure.

    It’s like 48 pages or more. and so weird! I’ve never seen Ditko draw the FF except in passing…

    And when I find something like this I think that 20th century American comics truly were the back roads of art –which are preserved in amber — for us to discover anew over and over. Every time you feel frustrated with the form, the fans, the critics, the cons, whatev– man, just read a retarded comic like this and have some fun.

    (The opposite feeling that auto-biographical comics give me. or even auto-bio disguised as fiction)

  3. chan says:

    I hear you. I just picked up a copy of Marvel Premiere 32 featuring Monark Starstalker. Yes, Monark- freaking-Starstalker! Written and drawn by Howard Chaykin. You can’t beat that.

  4. Jason Ramos says:

    Where did the Marshall Rogers page go?

  5. Frank Santoro says:

    Chan: I love that Marvel Premiere (of course I have it!)

    Jason: sorry, I fugged it up when I added the Ditko page earlier, fixed now.

  6. Bradley Susumu says:

    I don’t really have a problem with super-hero comics, but I am really not that interested to see this week’s take on characters someone else created 30+ years ago.

    Though I suppose older super-hero comics might be the only place to see work from some talented artists.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Is that Rogers page from an issue of Batman, maybe during the Englehart run?

    I was a kid just getting into comics when Ditko made his return to Marvel. He drew a ton of comics, including a couple of Micronauts annuals, a couple of issues of Iron Man, that FF book, that very long run on ROM (that Craig Russell later inked, and looks great) and of course his immortal Speedball series.

    Some of Ditko’s work wound up in these inventory books (“holiday specials”), including one where he created the immortal Squirrel Girl. She helps Iron Man defeat Dr Doom.

    Rob Clough, who also very much loves autobiographical comics, fictional and otherwise

  8. T Hodler says:

    I like autobio comics. Or at least some of them. Crumb is more fun than anybody!

    (Don’t get mad, Frank. I like Ditko and Rogers, too.)

  9. Frank Santoro says:

    I like auto-bio comics too you guys, I’m just saying that too many alt comics guys pretend that they never liked hero/adventure comics. Like they were “smart’ comics readers from day one. Yeah right.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Frank, I hear what you’re saying, but is it true that most alt-comics types hate superheroes of all stripes? Something that I think has marked the generation that came after Clowes/Bagge is that there’s less of a need to set themselves apart from mainstream comics.

    While I know plenty of alt-comics folks who don’t read current superhero comics, I guess I don’t know many who didn’t grow up reading genre stuff. Even someone like Jason Lutes grew up wanting to draw Spider-Man.

    –Rob C.

  11. Frank Santoro says:

    hey Rob

    Yeah, I’m only slightly younger than that generation so I still have this chip on my shoulder about this need for my “peers” to distance themselves so vocally. Maybe I’m preaching to the choir but I still see enough auto-bio fans and super-hero fans warily (and wearily) avoiding each other, eyeing each other up in disgust, in the store on new comic book day, that the distinction is still sharp from my vantage point.

  12. The Miizzzard says:

    There’s nothing better than finding an old, weird superhero comic in a box somewhere. Old sf books can have some awesome psychedelic sci-fi power fantasy art on them too. I found an issue of “Warp” by Frank Brunner that was awesome for that.

  13. Frank Santoro says:

    love those WARP issues.

  14. The Miizzzard says:

    I read in the first issue that “Warp” was based on a play. I would love to see that.

  15. Frank Santoro says:

    hunh…thats crazy. So was “Starstruck” the Michael Kaluta comic with Elaine Lee.

  16. Daniel says:

    You have alt-comic guys come in on Wednesday?! Man, even living in Seattle, we don’t get any that daring. They usually get their kicks from the Fantagraphics store or on-line.

  17. The Miizzzard says:

    I can barely find anything about the “Warp” play on the internet, but it ran on Broadway in the 70s?! I think the world needs more space opera on the stage.

  18. Marc Arsenault says:

    The Warp 1 shot by Chaykin was the best thing that came from that. Fun book.

  19. Frank Santoro says:

    hey everyone who is still reading this thread:

    I think it’s a flawed argument that I put forth earlier in the comments. This part sounds okay:
    “And when I find something like this (a Ditko FF comic) I think that 20th century American comics truly were the back roads of art –which are preserved in amber — for us to discover anew over and over. Every time you feel frustrated with the form, the fans, the critics, the cons, whatev– man, just read a retarded comic like this and have some fun.”

    But that this part is flawed: “The opposite feeling that auto-biographical comics give me. or even auto-bio disguised as fiction”

    I’ve gotten some feedback from some trusted friends that this is an unnecessary tactic to make my point. And that, ultimately, it may turn people off. People who might have actually checked out the Ditko book I’m lauding. But cuz I coupled my point with sneering at auto-bio comics those people may just close their ears.

    I really enjoy a lot of work in the auto-bio genre, or quasi-auto bio fiction (roman a clef?) –so I’m sort of misrepresenting even myself. And when I prop up Michael Golden or Marshall Rogers it’s really just to open up the discussion of these artists in a forum like this. A forum like this that is generally a blog for non-superhero reading comics fans. I don’t dislike the auto-bio genre. I’m simply amazed at the ignorance of most young comics fans of the form’s recent history. And the need of some fans and creators to distance themselves so vocally from entire genres. —which is exactly what I sort of did, revealing my own prejudices, so round and round we go, eh?

    I can make note of the sharp distinction between camps in comics without being divisive. Thanks.

  20. The Miizzzard says:

    Maybe this is tangential, but what I thought was so great about the previous Mister Miracle post was that it pointed out how Kirby used the visual metaphors of the superhero genre to express the emotions that he was going through. Auto-bio and superhero comics don’t have to be considered such different things.

  21. blaise larmee says:

    i don’t think they are that different. look at peter parker — it’s not hard to imagine him as drawn by tomine. now look at love and rockets. “indie” comics use the same basic “learn comics the marvel way!” method, just in a different way.

    it seems now that there is a large shift back to the pulpy roots of comics. now they’re “comics” again — “graphic novel” is too pretentious a phrase. “comics are not literature.” they’re silly again in the hands of paper rad, they’re closer to superheros in the hands of brian chippendale.

    honestly, i love this newfound self-confidence and self-affirmation, but i don’t think it’s the final say on what comics “should” be. i doubt these creators are as “over it” as they claim. insecurity — that terrible cliche of indie comics — still exists, and is not being addressed by the new school.

  22. Frank Santoro says:

    thanks M
    thanks Blaise

    Like I said, I sort of misrepresented myself and my position on all this by setting up a dichotomy between the two.

    I think that kind of pitting one genre against the other is almost the opposite of what I think Comics Comics is about — finding what’s worthwhile in all kinds of comics, without prejudging the genre beforehand. You know, autobio deserves the same benefit of the doubt that we think old superhero and romance stuff deserves.

    What I’m usually trying to say around here is that a lot of younger cartoonists are missing out on learning lessons from mainstream comics of the past. That their sense of history is limited. That’s all.

    I have plenty of fun reading some auto-bio comics. Debbie Dreschler’s work is hilarious, okay, well, not hilarious but fun to read because she’s such a good cartoonist, such a solid craftsman, er, has such a solid sense of craft.

  23. Matt Seneca says:

    On the two-year anniversary of the last posting on this thread, I’m going to step forward and claim that no-prize: Detective Comics #471.

  24. Matt, you get one free 25 cent comic at the new show. Please bring identification.

  25. I meant “next” show.