Tag Archives: steve ditko

Review: The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage #1

The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage #1

DC Black Label branches out from Batman, the Joker, and Harley Quinn in the gritty and trippy The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage #1. With a dedication to both Question’s original creator Steve Ditko and his finest writer (Up to now) Dennis O’Neil, writer Jeff Lemire, artists Denys Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz, and colorist Chris Sotomayor attempt to bridge the character’s portrayals as an Objectivist, who views the world in strict black and white terms and as an Eastern philosophy-influenced fighter of systemic evils, who donned the Question mask to right wrongs that newscaster Vic Sage couldn’t. They also craft the first chapter in one hell of a mystery. It features an art style that is far from the usual capes and tights.

Bringing back artists Cowan and Sienkiewicz from The Question’s original DC Comics series was a stroke of genius. It’s what initially got me interested in this series. Sienkiewicz’s scratchy inks and Cowan’s almost journalistic portrayal of human nature roots the first half of Question in the violent, yet ripped from the headlines crime stories that characterized the original run.

The comic opens up with Question muttering something straight out of a Mr. A strip or an Ayn Rand novel and catching a Hub City councilman in a brothel with underage girls. He knocks the creep about a little bit but is mostly concerned with recording footage for Vic Sage to play on the evening news where he openly accuses Hub City mayor Wesley Fermin of being connected to organized crime that leads to a lawsuit and more trouble. The sequence sets up Sage’s very public persona and role as the gadly, or voice of truth, in Hub City. That makes it necessary for him to wear face-warping masks courtesy of his old chemistry professor, Aristotle “Tot” Rodor.

However, this dual identity isn’t so simple. Lemire and Cowan play with the different sides of Question and Vic Sage’s personalities. They show that Question’s single-minded quest for justice sometimes makes him lose the big picture. An example is the police shooting of an unarmed man while he’s following a lead about a ring that was on both the councilman’s finger and the mayor’s lawyer’s. The Question is a skilled detective but his conspiracy-driven nature can blind him to the everyday issues of his city. Cowan, Sienkiewicz, and Sotomayor show this visually through a wavy line, lots of black ink, and a darker color palette. It culminates in Question’s discovery of a literal abyss and some surreal imagery where you can really see the Sienkiewicz influence shine through.

Thankfully, in the second half of The Question #1, Lemire and Cowan create the context for these images. It’s a departure from the crime fiction of the comic’s first act to something more mystical. Hence, Richard Dragon shows up with insight and potty mouth one-liners. (Think the Bride’s sensei in Kill Bill sans the misogyny and xenophobia.) From a big picture perspective, the conversation between Dragon and Sage also seems like a conversation between O’Neil and Ditko. The former taking Question into more of a zen Buddhism direction while Ditko used him as the avatar of his black and white view of the world. That was passed onto his creation Mr. A and Question’s spiritual offspring, Rorschach. (The nine panel grids and the use of “Hrrm” are a nod to that fellow.)

Richard Dragon believes that souls can travel between bodies while Question just wanted to learn martial arts to kick ass and is talking to his old teacher to solve a mystery steeped in symbolism, but connected to Hub City and its corruption. To take a page out of the German philosopher Hegel‘s book, Dragon is thesis, Question is antithesis, and they are a long way from synthesis. The last few pages introduce another wrinkle in the status quo in a natural non “Oh shit, we need a cliffhanger” way. Cowan makes fantastic use of recurring metronome motif to slip readers into another world. It’s like seeing a hypnotherapist as the story shifts in genre. His solid storytelling and well-placed use of six and nine-panel grids, as well as larger layouts, doesn’t waver.

The debut is steeped in the classic O’Neil and Cowan run as well as the ideology of Ditko. Lemire, Cowan, Sienkiewicz, and Sotomayor make sure The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage #1 isn’t a nostalgia-driven retread. In a current era where political corruption runs rampant, and the said corrupt don’t even try to sweep it under a rug, a character who isn’t afraid to speak truth to power is incredibly relevant. However, the Question also engages in Randian purity policing and has a primal, childish view of the world. He’s far from an inspirational figure. This is why Cowan and Sienkiewicz’s naturalistic, almost dirty art style is a good fit for the book. They and Lemire also aren’t afraid to get a little weird. I’m interested to see how they synthesize the various versions of the Question in both the spiritual and physical realms.

Story: Jeff Lemire Pencils: Denys Cowan  Inks: Bill Sienkiewicz
Colors: Chris Sotomayor Letters: Willie Schubert
Story: 8.9 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics/Black Label provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Marvel Masterworks Pin-Up HC

Marvel Masterworks Pin-Up HC

(W) Craig Yoe (A) John Severin, John Romita, Wally Wood (CA) Steve Ditko
In Shops: Nov 13, 2019
SRP: $34.99

An incredible artbook showcasing some of the greatest comic artists of all time! Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Jim Steranko, Don Heck, John Byrne, Barry Windsor-Smith, John Severin, Wally Wood, John Romita, and many more!
As part of the tremendous fun of Silver Age comics, artists created pin-ups of the most popular Marvel heroes and villains! Now the greatest of those works of art are gathered for the first time in a beautiful large-format hardback book! Included are rare examples of original art of The Thing, Spider-Man, and Dr. Strange.

True believers, thrill to pulsating pinups of Spidey, Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, The Avengers, Nick Fury, Daredevil, Millie the Model (!), and the ever lovin’ blue-eyed Thing-and many marvelous more!

Marvel Masterworks Pin-Up HC

Dead Reckoning and Marvel Deliver Atlas at War!

Atlas at War

Dead Reckoning and Marvel are working together to release Atlas at War on June 17, 2020. The collection features fifty hard-hitting stories from Marvel’s Atlas era.

From 1951 to 1960 Atlas Comics, which later became Marvel Comics, published more war titles than ayn other comic company. The collection is edited by comics historian Dr. Michael J. Vassallo. Some of these comics are being reprinted for the first time. 4 never-reprinted classics were written and penciled by Jack Kirby.

The collection features stories from sixteen different Atlas war titles and features the artwork of artists like Russ Heath, John Severin, Bernie Krigstein, Joe Maneely, Jerry Robinson, Steve Ditko, and Kirby.

Each page has been restored from its first printing by comic art restorer Allan Harvey.

Atlas at War

In the 1950s, when these Atlas war comics were originally published, the hand-drawn artwork was photographed, and the resulting negatives used to produce the printing plates from which the final comic was printed. In the intervening sixty or seventy years the artwork, negatives, and plates have all been lost or destroyed, so, if a publisher wishes to reprint these comics, the only thing they have to use as a source is the decades-old printed comic. Over that period of time acids within the paper itself have acted to darken the paper and make it brittle; oils from countless fingers, too, may have taken their toll, making a clean reprint very difficult—without help. That’s when someone like me steps in.

As a restoration artist, I take a high-resolution scan of the printed comic page and load it into computer software [See image 1 above] where I use my skills to remove or minimize the accumulated dirt and deterioration of the ages. First, I strip out the color information, which results in a very washed-out file [See image 2 above]. I work on this extensively, manually darkening the linework and black areas, removing deterioration, dust and dirt and any problems introduced on the original printing press, such as line drop-outs, etc. This process produces a file which looks as close to how the artwork would have looked when the artist handed it to the editor back in 1950 as I can make it. [See image 3 above]

At this point I reintroduce the color information and work on that, again removing defects and smoothing out the “look” to my satisfaction, working and re-working it until I get a sharp, clean digital color file [See image 4 above], from which reprints can be made, allowing these exciting comics to be brought to a whole new generation. The time taken to complete a page varies, but, on average, a single page can be produced in around 4-6 hours.

– Allan Harvey

More Variant Covers Revealed For Marvel Comics #1000!

In celebration of Marvel‘s 80th anniversary this year, scores of comic creators – some Marvel icons, some first-timers – are assembling for an epic comic book story in honor of the very first issue of Marvel Comics. This August, get ready for Marvel Comics #1000, a massive collaborative effort that will see 80 different creative teams weave together one, expansive story.

In honor of an 80-year legacy, we’re proud to present an incredible lineup of variants, all by an exceptional roster of artists, that exemplify the richness and scope of Marvel history. Collect these iconic covers soon!

MARVEL COMICS #1000:

MARVEL COMICS 1000 40’S VARIANT COVER BY MARK BROOKS (JUN190850)

MARVEL COMICS 1000 60’S VARIANT COVER BY MIKE ALLRED (JUN190851)

MARVEL COMICS 1000 70’S VARIANT COVER BY GREG SMALLWOOD (JUN190852)

MARVEL COMICS 1000 90’S VARIANT COVER BY RON LIM (JUN190854)

MARVEL COMICS 1000 00’S VARIANT COVER BY MARK BAGLEY (JUN190855)

MARVEL COMICS 1000 DECADE VARIANT COVER BY KAARE ANDREWS (JUN190856)

MARVEL COMICS 1000 VARIANT COVER BY JEN BARTEL (JUN190858)

MARVEL COMICS 1000 VARIANT COVER BY CLAYTON CRAIN (JUN190857)

MARVEL COMICS 1000 VARIANT COVER BY GABRIELE DELL’OTTO (JUN190845)

MARVEL COMICS 1000 VIRGIN VARIANT COVER BY GABRIELE DELL’OTTO (MAY198761)

MARVEL COMICS 1000 HIDDEN GEM VARIANT COVER BY STEVE DITKO (JUN190862)

MARVEL COMICS 1000 COLLAGE VARIANT COVER BY MR GARCIN (JUN190849)

MARVEL COMICS 1000 VARIANT COVER BY GREG HILDEBRANDT (JUN190860)

MARVEL COMICS 1000 VARIANT COVER BY INHYUK LEE (JUN190846)

  • MARVEL COMICS 1000 80’S VARIANT COVER BY JULIAN TOTINO TEDESCO (JUN190853)
  • MARVEL COMICS 1000 VARIANT COVER BY J. SCOTT CAMPBELL (JUN190847)
  • MARVEL COMICS 1000 VIRGIN VARIANT COVER BY J. SCOTT CAMPBELL (MAY198819)
  • MARVEL COMICS 1000 VARIANT COVER BY ED MCGUINNESS (JUN190848)
  • MARVEL COMICS 1000 HIDDEN GEM VARIANT COVER BY GEORGE PEREZ (JUN190861)
  • MARVEL COMICS 1000 WRAPAROUND VARIANT COVER BY JOE QUESADA (JUN190843)
  • MARVEL COMICS 1000 BLACK AND WHITE WRAPAROUND VARIANT COVER BY JOE QUESADA (JUN190844)
  • MARVEL COMICS 1000 VARIANT COVER BY SKOTTIE YOUNG (JUN190859)
  • MARVEL COMICS 1000 BLANK VARIANT COVER (JUN190863)

Amazing Spider-Man #25 Marks Year Two of Spencer, Ottley & Ramos’ Run

It may be hitting comic shops next month, but the buzz is already on for the giant-sized main story in Amazing Spider-Man #25, where the bandaged villain who has been on the periphery since #1 strikes at last! But this mysterious figure isn’t the only menace after the Wall-Crawler: Spider-Man and Mary Jane find themselves in an incredibly tough situation, thanks to Electro. Can Spider-Man save MJ? Can MJ save Spider-Man? Plus, what is Mysterio cooking?

For what will be an unforgettable issue, Marvel has rolled out a lineup of iconic variants, all by premiere Marvel talent. Get a sneak peek at this amazing slate!

Amazing Spider-Man #25 is written by Nick Spencer and features art by Dan Hipp, Ryan Ottley, and Kev Walker, with colors by Nathan Fairbairn and a main cover by Ottley.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 25 BLANK VARIANT (MAY190824)

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 25 STEVE DITKO HIDDEN GEM VARIANT (MAY190818)

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 25 STEVE DITKO HIDDEN GEM VARIANT (MAY190818)

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 25 DAN HIPP VARIANT (MAY190819)

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 25 DAN HIPP VARIANT (MAY190819)

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 25 TODD NAUCK CARNAGE-IZED VARIANT (MAY190822)

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 25 TODD NAUCK CARNAGE-IZED VARIANT (MAY190822)

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 25 POP CHART VARIANT (MAY190823)

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 25 POP CHART VARIANT (MAY190823)

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 25 WALTER SIMONSON VARIANT (MAY190816)

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 25 WALTER SIMONSON VARIANT (MAY190816)

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 25 GREG SMALLWOOD VARIANT (MAY190817)

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 25 GREG SMALLWOOD VARIANT (MAY190817)

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 25 PAT GLEASON VARIANT (MAY190820)

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 25 PAT GLEASON VARIANT (MAY190820)

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 25 STEGMAN VARIANT (MAY190821)

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 25 STEGMAN VARIANT (MAY190821)

Preview: Ditko’s Monsters

Ditko’s Monsters

Joe Gill (w) • Steve Ditko (a & c)

Two “famous monsters of filmland” battle for your hearts and minds in this terror-ific comic! Gorgo and Konga’s best individual stories! They don’t go head to claw, they’re busy fighting commies, but they battle for your mind as you decide who is the coolest of the cool! Plus, two covers using Flipism technology: one on the front, another on the back! And wait till you see the flipped-out centerfold!

FC • 96 pages • $9.99

Yoe Books Launches Marvel Hardcover Program

IDW Publishing and Yoe Books have announced a new line of Marvel Comics collections, a sensational series of large-format hardcovers curating the finest artwork from the Golden Age’s four-color foundations all the way up to the Marvel Age’s dizzying heights!

Coinciding with the year-long celebration of Marvel’s 80 years of publishing, Yoe Books will debut their retrospective look at the House of Ideas with Marvel Masterwork Pin-Ups, which will be followed by additional entries in 2019.

In Marvel Masterwork Pin-Ups, the pulsating pin-up artwork of legendary Silver Age creators – including Jack KirbySteve DitkoJim SterankoDon HeckJohn ByrneBarry Windsor-SmithJohn SeverinWally WoodDan DecarloJohn Romita, and many more – is collected for the first time ever into a single volume, accompanied throughout with witty wordage, pulse-pounding patter, and zany zingers by Stan “The Man” Lee!

Fans will treasure large, deftly drawn pin-ups by these marvelous artists of Spider-ManThorDoctor StrangeCaptain MarvelThe HulkThe X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and many more, plus nefarious villains led by Doctor Doom – and even Millie the Model by Dan DeCarlo!

Marvel Masterwork Pin-Ups

Preview: The Unknown Anti-War Comics!

The Unknown Anti-War Comics!

Craig Yoe (Editor) • Steve Ditko, Pete Morisi, & Various (a) Steve Ditko (c)

An action-oriented medium, comics have long used wars—real and fictional—as narrative fodder. Now, discover the secret, surprising history of anti-war comics with this marvelously curated collection.

A few comics of the time portrayed the horrors of war, but no blatantly anti-war stories were known to exist—until now! Buried in rare comics published during the Cold War were powerful war, fantasy, and sci-fi stories that strongly condemned war and the bomb, boldly calling for peace.

HC • FC • $29.99 • 224 pages • 7-9/16” x 10-7/16” • ISBN: 978-1-68405-178-6

The Unknown Anti-War Comics!

The Unknown Anti-War Comics, Out this January

The world is now marking the 100th anniversary of the Armistice of World War I, “The War to End All Wars” that brought the cry, “Never Again!” Nearly four decades later, Never Again was a rare two-issue anti-war comic book with a host – a WWI doughboy referred to as The Unknown Soldier – who told gripping war stories with a strong anti-war stance.

The comics from Never Again and other arcane historical comic book sources are carefully restored and showcased in an important new book, The Unknown Anti-War Comics. An action-oriented medium, comics have long used wars – real and fictional – as narrative fodder, often with a strong message attached. Buried in the comics published during the Cold War were powerful combat, fantasy, and sci-fi stories that strongly condemned war and nuclear weapons, boldly calling for peace.

The Unknown Anti-War Comics features the art of Steve Ditko and leads off with two noteworthy introductions. The first introduction is a comic story created especially for the collection by Nate Powell, artist of the National Book Award-Winning March books about Civil Rights leader John Lewis. The second introduction is by Noel Paul Stookey, activist and singer/songwriter of Peter, Paul, and Mary fame.

The 224-page book’s artful advocacy of peace is as important as ever in a world still embroiled in war.

The Unknown Anti-War Comics is edited by Craig Yoe, multiple Eisner Award winner, Mobius winner, and recipient of the Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators. Now available for pre-order via online booksellers and comic book specialty retailers, The Unknown Anti-War Comics is slated for release in January.

« Older Entries