Happy Birthday to Steve Ditko

It’s Steve Ditko’s 84th birthday. Thank you. Your work means a lot to me.

8 thoughts on “Happy Birthday to Steve Ditko

  1. Richard

    Of course I mean to say, “it probably shouldn’t surprise me anymore.” (Neither should typos and grammatical errors in comments made at one in the morning while under the influence of cold medicine…)

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  2. Richard

    Wait a minute, the guy from the Times Square Two? Man, they were great! I just never knew their names, so I had no reason to associate one of them with the Lampoon et al. The idea there’s a connection between my favorite obscure neo-vaudevillean musical acts and a newly uncovered Kirby work is the sort of thing that probably should surprise me anymore, but does…

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  3. James

    I fell bad about beating on the coloring. Perhaps it is less about the actual color than how it is printed—the harsh solid colors printed on super slick paper may be what gives it that gad seventies look. Then, I often think that most comics were never intended to be printed as if they were a Tiffany’s catalog. Holding lines themselves were developed for shitty newsprint runs which were often off-register. These type of super slick printing jobs on paper made of the pulp of the rarest of trees will no doubt last a lot longer than their bindings will, but they also make it so the wonderful books coming out are all so expensive that only the top 1%ers can afford them.

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  4. Rand HOPPE

    James, an introduction notes that Choquette asked many of the artists to provide space for “continuity drawings” – although he had no idea what would end up there. So it was part of a plan, not an after-the-fact “must fill this space” compulsion.

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  5. James

    I just took a look at Someday Funnies at Strand here in NYC and I have to say that the best of Kirby’s work is here on this site. His pencils are lovely and by the time Joe Sinnott inked the pages, he no longer understood how to ink Jack. The cartooniness of Kirby’s late style threw him completely, ergo the pencil version is more aesthetically satisfying not to mention being a more pure pre-rewrite version. The worst is that the printed version is colored garishly, in fact the entire book is colored very nastily in a way that recalls the ugly comics reprints of the 1970s or maybe the Boy’s Ranch volume that Marvel did. I’m sure the colorist did their best but the package itself is, um, tacky— why someone would feel that Vaughn Bode’s work should be colored by someone other than Bode, for instance, is a mystery…and the design is hodgepodge. For instance there are lots of little sketches, like faux-Aragones marginalia cartoons, but these are actually inserted into people’s art, such as in panel 2 of the first page of Kirby’s contribution, there is a doodle inserted into a bit of white space Kirby left, as if the “real estate” of the page needed to be filled up. Yuck.

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  6. patrick ford

    Absolutely fascinating find Rand. So apparently the version in the book has a completely different text? Or is it just the one panel you showed?
    Reads like a poem. Here’s a transcript.

    Bullfeather Or Tune in–Cop-Out. And Drop Up

    In Nineteen Hundred and Sixty-Five.
    The World was lucky to be alive.
    Mid shot, and shell, and protest hell,
    Beardsley Bullfeather left that hell.

    Past Sputnik, and Lunik, and Echo, and Telestar,
    Past all Earthly drama that got out of hand…
    Lone Beardsley had made it beyond all expectations,
    And gave vent to emotions inspired by Ayn Rand, “Get yours!”

    By superior, practical fiscal ability…
    Above the disturbance that troubles the soul…
    Go to the satellite asleep in it’s vacuum…
    Bask in the silence of each gaping hole…

    Then Moonwalk, and skim past the gritty horizons…
    Dance in the Earthlight that shines so serene…
    See it glisten on novels, and cooling martinis.
    As time dims the vision of blood on the green.

    By Virtue of “Apollo” that project most vaunted.
    The trip that came later found nothing upon,
    That gray lifeless surface to betray a lost presence.
    Bullfeather, his soul, and the Sixties, had gone.

    Who steps across history?
    Whose mark stamps the years?
    Whose image leaps forward, and the disappears?
    Who lives and who dies in the turbulent scheme?
    The questions grow moot, as facts fade into dreams.

    Reply
  7. Rand HOPPE

    Found a few blips in your transcript, Pat, so I’m re-presenting it here, as well as that of the published version

    In pencil:

    (“The Ballad of Beardsley” cropped off of photocopy)
    Bullfeather Or
    Tune in! — Cop-Out! And
    Drop-Up!

    BEARDSLEY: “FAR OUT!”

    In nineteen hundred and sixty-five,
    The world was lucky to be alive…
    Mid shot and shell and protest yell,
    Beardsley Bullfeather left that hell!

    BEARDSLEY: “PISH AND TUSH TO ALL THAT SLUSH!”

    Past Sputnik, and Lunik, and Echo, and Telestar,
    Past all Earthly dramas that got out of hand…
    Lone Beardsley had made it beyond all expectations…
    And, gave vent to emotions inspired by Ayn Rand!

    BEARDSLEY: “GET YOURS!”

    (Illegible) by superior, practical fiscal ability…
    Above the disturbance that troubles the soul…
    Go to the satellite asleep in it’s vaccuum…
    Bask in the silence of each gaping hole…

    Then “Moonwalk” and skim ‘cross the gritty horizons…
    Dance in the Earthlight that shines so serene…

    See it glisten on novels and cooling martinis
    As, time, dims the vision of blood on the green..

    By virtue of “Apollo”, that project most vaunted,
    The trip that came later, found nothing upon,
    That gray, lifeless surface, to betray a lost presence.
    Bullfeather, his soul, and the Sixties, had gone.

    Who steps across history? Who’s mark stamps the years?
    Whose image leaps forward and then disappears?
    Who lives and who dies in the turbulent scheme?
    The questions grow moot as fact fades into dream…

    As published:

    The Ballad of Beardsley Bullfeather
    or
    Tune In — Cop Out and
    Drop-Up!

    BEARDSLEY: “FAR OUT!”

    In nineteen hundred and sixty-five,
    When the world was lucky to be alive,
    Though middle-aged and far from hip
    Beardsley Bullfeather took a trip.

    BEARDSLEY: “PISH AND TISH TO ALL THAT SLUSH!”

    Past Sputnik and Lunik and Telstar and Echo
    The rocket Bullfeather alone built and manned
    Flew him free of the laws of both Newton and Congress
    To indulge in emotions inspired by Ayn Rand.

    BEARDSLEY: “GET YOURS!”

    “So ‘do-it-yourself’ and a little ambition
    Pay off in the end!” chuckles Beardsley, and soon
    Lands his ship, his visage as calm
    As the smile on the face of the Man in the Moon.

    He moonwalks and skims ‘cross the gritty horizons
    And dances by earthlight that shines so serene

    By its glow he reads novels and sips cool martinis
    As time dims his visions of blood on the green

    Apollo explorers, as might be expected,
    Found boulders and pebbles, no trace upon
    That gray lifeless surface of Beardsley Bullfeather.
    His skeleton, soul, and the sixties were gone

    Who steps into history? What’s in a name?
    If a plot has a hero, who stars in a scheme?
    Does it matter whose footprint officially marks
    The start of an era, the end of a dream?

    Reply

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