Friday, September 9, 2011

A "CREEPY" END TO THE WEEK, BUT NOT AN END TO "A CREEPY WEEK"

He should by now, need no introduction, but I'll go ahead with one, anyway. Doug and I have been best of friends for a loooong time now. Remember me showing you the very first issue of my homemade 'zine called MONSTERS MAGAZINE? He was part of the monster "music group" that was profiled in that issue. You may recall that I mentioned him as "very good at being the Wolf Man" (!). His mag was called HALL OF FLAME, and Doug's guest posts here at MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD are entitled DOUG'S HALL OF FLAME in honor of his great labor of love, and very esoteric entry into the world of monster fanzines, I might add. Doug's been a long time monster lover and fellow Monsterologist. Like me, he's also a huge fan of  comics artist, Steve Ditko. Read on, and you'll see why . . .



THE CURE FOR "A CREEPY WEEK" WITHDRAWAL

I have been a bit depressed since the end of MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD'S most recent A CREEPY WEEK. CREEPY was always one of my favorite magazines and holds a special place in my (Tell-Tale) heart. It was one of the first magazines I bought off the newsstand as a boy and it was the first magazine that I ever subscribed to. So, it is no surprise that I enjoy MMW’s weeks devoted to Uncle Creepy, Loathsome Lore, the fantastic artwork, and all aspects of Jim Warren’s great comic magazine. An antidote to my post-Creepy week funk showed up in my mail box last week in the form of DITKOMANIA #85.

DITKOMANIA is Rob Imes’s outstanding fanzine devoted to the legendary comic artist Steve Ditko. The theme of the new issue is black and white magazines, focusing primarily on the artist’s work for Warren Publications. Mr. Ditko drew sixteen stories for Warren between 1966 and 1968, appearing in CREEPY 9 through 16 and EERIE 3 through 10. In “Steve Ditko at Warren” Jason Sacks summarizes and comments on each of these stories. He points out Ditko’s art style for each piece (most often an ink wash, used to great effect). Sacks mentions some of the artist’s signature themes and images, such as “fear-filled eyes” or fantastic mystical realms. Ditko’s depictions of other dimensions or internal torment are without equal in comics! As evidence, check out the opening page from “Second Chance,” published in CREEPY #13. Ditko excels at illustrating emotions on character’s faces, especially the emotion of terror, exhibited frequently in the stories done for Warren. Sacks’s article is well-written and superbly illustrated. It inspired me to revisit the early CREEPYs and EERIEs to read these wonderful stories again!

In addition to his work for Warren, Ditko also drew stories for the Mort Todd-edited MONSTERS ATTACK, published by CRACKED publisher Globe Communications from 1989-1990. Though less well-known than the Warren magazines, MONSTERS ATTACK featured work by several outstanding artists, notably John Severin, Gray Morrow, Alex Toth, and Gene Colan. Ditko contributed one story to each of the five issues and this body of work is described in “Ditko’s Little Monsters” by Bob Heer. The illustrations in the article highlight Ditko’s attention to mystic detail, as an illusionist morphs into a demon and his fingers turn into snakes. This article was a revelation to me, as I have not read any issues of MONSTERS ATTACK. I hope to rectify this omission soon!

In addition to the articles on horror comics, there are reviews of Ditko’s latest self-published work and a “lost” Human Torch/Hulk story recently published by Marvel. This is an excellent fanzine for comic fans and issue 85 is especially recommended to all of Uncle Creepy’s followers! For information, contact Rob Imes at robimes@yahoo.com. Please tell him you heard about his ‘zine at MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD!


From "Collector's Edition" CREEPY #10, with very
Reed Crandall-esque inking.
  
From "Deep Ruby" EERIE #6

[Not enough creeps for you? Want to read the complete story of "Collector's Edition" from CREEPY #10? How can you do this? Just click on the READ MONSTER COMICS title under the MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD heading at the top of this blog!]



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