Monday, 9 July 2018

Steve Ditko's 5 Page Shockers

Like everybody, I'm reading a lot of Ditko right now. So let's read four of Steve & Stan's all-time classics, from the 5 page shockers period.
I hope our American pals will forgive us, but I'm going for most of these in an Alan Class / British Marvel b/w style, as that's where we mostly read them.
Every one of these stories is ingrained on my brain, and scared the living heck out of me as a kid. And I'm not the only one.
So much so, that if you concentrate, you'll be able to hear every single British fan of a certain age gasping out loud: "It's THAT one!!!"


  1. These are great Pete. Are stories from this period collected anywhere?

  2. As far as I can tell, Colin, the best place to start is Amazing Fantasy Omnibus, a hardcover published by Marvel in 2007.
    It seems fairly evenly split between Ditko & Kirby.
    They also did Marvel Visionaries: Steve Ditko, which is worth getting.
    Can anybody else suggest any collections?

  3. The Lee-Ditko 5-pagers are not only great comics - they're textbook examples of how to do everything right. From the eye-catching splash page (each one a stand-alone masterpiece) to the final panel pay-off, everything you need to know is right there, just waiting to be deciphered.

    As far as collections go, I've gotten tired of Marvel dragging their feet over stuff like this & so I just cut/paste my own digital trades. When it came to assembling 'the best' of the Ditko 5-pagers, I'm afraid that I was so impressed with them that I ended up making THREE volumes of roughly 250 pages each.

    Anyone who wants to take 'x' amount of months to do the same, you'll need to track down the following (NOT including Amazing Adult Fantasy 7-15): Journey into Mystery 50-96, Strange Tales 67-114, Tales of Suspense 1-46, Tales to Astonish 1-48 & Amazing Adventures 1-6. Good luck.

  4. Good call, Kiyote, that prob'ly is the best option.

  5. I was lucky to have met Steve Ditko twice when he freelanced for Deluxe Comics. Unusual guy as others have reported.

    Neil A. Hansen

  6. From what I've seen on the Internet, Ditko's Charlton stories from the same time period are pretty nice, too, and I believe a lot of them were reprinted by Ditko and Robin Synder, though the price-to-page count ratio is a little off-putting. Not so bad compared to the other collections you mentioned, though, I guess, albeit in black & white, not color.

  7. I've always found the Charlton mystery books reasonably priced at cons, tho' I guess that'll change now.
    And tell us more if you can, Neil..

  8. He had had a studio in Manhattan, and was never really concerned about what work you loved of his. To my mind, he really embodied that Ayn Rand philosophy. Never had much of a conversation with him.

    1. Kinda contradicts your assessment of him, no?

  9. Ah well. I'm sure I've told this story before, but my mate Sean Philbo nearly got Ditko to appear at his arts festival in the Lakes a couple of years ago, by the simple expedient of getting the girl who organizes the guests ( and who is no way a comic fan, and who'd never even heard of Ditko ) to phone him up and sell it to him as a nice holiday in the country. He came THIS close to agreeing, before deciding he was too old to fly.

  10. Fantagraphics has reprinted all of his early works in very reasonably priced nice hardcover additions. At least 4 so far.

  11. Ok thanks, hopefully Colin saw this.