Friday, March 25, 2011
GORGO first menaced the world in 1961. One of the magazines commemorating this golden anniversary is a gem of a fanzine, DITKOMANIA #83. While not a monster magazine, this publication may be of interest to readers of MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD who enjoy monsters in the comic books as well as on the silver screen.
DITKOMANIA is a digest-sized fanzine devoted to the work of comic book artist Steve Ditko, best known for his efforts at Marvel Comics in the 1960s, where he co-created Spider-Man and created Dr. Strange. It is edited and published by Rob Imes. The current issue is dedicated to Mr. Ditko’s work for Charlton Comics, where he drew numerous horror, mystery, and science-fiction stories, including GORGO.
In true fanzine fashion, Martin Hirchak not only writes but illustrates a brief article on the history of Gorgo at Charlton. He speculates on the timeline involved in the comic book’s creation and Ditko’s source material from the studio. Hirchak mentions that Charlton’s winning the rights to publish a major movie tie-in book was a coup d’etat in the comic industry. DC Comics would have been the logical choice. I would love to read an article that answers the question of how this happened. But, as Hirchak writes, Ditko did a great job on GORGO and it is a faithful adaptation of the movie.
The horror/science-fiction theme of DITKOMANIA 83 is carried out by an interesting speculative article, “Ditko at E.C.?” Michael Tuz points out similarities between certain stories in the fabled E.C. Comics and in Ditko’s work in STRANGE SUSPENSE STORIES and THE THING. The illustrations drawn from the various comics show that artists and writers liked to “borrow” from one another! Another story details Charlton’s HAUNTED #1, published in 1971, which featured three supernatural stories by Ditko. Rob Imes also contributes a piece on supernatural themes in the artist’s new work.
The magazine also contains reviews of newly-published collections of the artist’s early work, as well as his brand-new comic books. (Although in his eighties, Mr. Ditko continues to create and publish new stories!)
Rob Imes publishes this labor of love several times a year. For those of you interested in comic books in general, or Steve Ditko in particular, I recommend this fanzine. Many issues have themes, but not all. The October issue, for example, usually focuses on horror stories. Rob is planning issues featuring Ditko’s robots and monsters, which may be of special interest to MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD readers. It is not a high-budget, glossy magazine, but it packs a lot of fun and entertainment in a small package.
If you are interested, check out Rob’s web site http://groups.yahoo.com/ditkomania or email him directly at robimes[at]yahoo.com.