Saturday, August 11, 2018

Gasolina #1 Review



Gasolina #1 from the Skybound Imprint of Image Comics -

     Randy and Amalia seem to be sugarcane farmers somewhere near Veracruz, Mexico. However, Randy - an American doctor, and Amalia - a beautiful but lethal Mexican woman, are way more than meets the eye. And they have dangerous a secret that kept them running and hiding for years. Just when it seems that they can stop looking over their shoulders, trouble finds them again. A missing boy. A mysterious pestilence attacking their crops. A weird, vicious death cult. And real, honest-to-goodness monsters. There's a storm coming for Randy and Mal...And there will be blood.

    Seam Mackiewicz makes his first foray into comics in this atmospheric take on the drug war, and the influence, and power of the nightmare that has become the drug cartels. Mackiewicz is exploring some potentially combustible subjects here in this genre-bending crime/mystery/supernatural (sci-fi?) thriller, and I am looking forward to seeing how deftly he handles it all. Mackiewicz gives introduces us to his protagonists, Amalia and Randy, by showing us the world they inhabit, and the way that they interact with the people in it - they are kind but guarded, quick to lend a hand, and heroic, yet a lingering isolation and darkness surrounds them, separating them from their world, but never from one another. Though Mackiewicz gives us a wide view into the lives of our protagonist, and their struggles, he manages to keep much about them shrouded in a delicious mystery that will surely get me to buy the next issue. Then Mackiewicz throws in an enigmatic, savage cult/cartel resulting in the kidnapping of someone close to Randy and Mal, and a plague of monsters reminiscent of Ridley Scott's "Alien" and this book starts to feel like an odd, beguiling little rabbit-hole. Niko Walter, an artist with whom I am not in the least familiar, pulls out a strong showing on this first issue. His pencils are clean, precise, and no-frills, but very expressive - even if they seem a bit stiff at times. Mat Lopes' colors add heft to Walter's pencils and lend an oppressive atmosphere to the book which makes the story even more alluring. This comic has "MOVIE" stamped all over it...And strangely, it has the scent of great crime/mystery comics like 100 Bulletsor even mystery/crime thrillers with supernatural bents, like Greek Street. I can't wait for issue #2.

RATING: 9 out of 10. I need to see where this goes.


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Friday, August 3, 2018

CBCS REVEAL EPISODE 7 (Dell's Lobo)



Hey friends!

   I am glad to be back with my fellow questers with another fun-filled episode of TEX'S BACK-ISSUE QUEST! Today, we churn out episode 6 of the chronicle of my journey through my first slabbing experience with CBCS!!

   More than a year agone, I introduced you to an important obscure Dell western hero named...LOBO!!


   Lobo #1 was printed in 1965, and the world came to know the legend of the Union-soldier-turned-gunslinger-hero...LOBO!! Well. Kinda. Actually, not really at all. Lobo didn't sell very well. Some sources say it may have sold just 10,000 copies - some retailers took one look at the color of the hero on the cover and returned the comics right back to Dell. 

   Unfortunately, it was the world we lived in, then. You can dive into the history of Lobo HERE. Oh, go on and click it. You know you want to. :-)

   Since Lobo was largely forgotten, he languished in obscurity for more than forty years until collectors caught wind that Lobo was a VERY IMPORTANT piece of comicbook history; it featured the VERY FIRST African American to have his own title!! However, it was too little, too late. Lobo comics were scarcer than free money and smart dummies. Me? I just wanted to read it, and as luck would have it, I happened to come across a very nice copy for an incredibly low price. If I recall correctly, I paid about $25 for this comic about 10 years agone. In the past few years, collector demand has soared for Lobo, so I had mine graded and slabbed for posterity (but mostly to keep it out of my grubby hands because I LOVE to read my old comics). Here's what I went and did:


   Oooh-wee!! Lookitdatrightdere!! It's my freshly-slabbed copy of Lobo #1. I had it scoped at an 8.0, but CBCS graded it at a nice 7.5. No complaints here - the thing's been read 20 times or more, so it's fine with me. Comicspriceguide has this book valued at, get this, a whopping $16!! But in the real world, Ebay values it at...Well, I can't rightly say since mine is graded higher than any sold on Ebay in recent months. Sweet. A copy graded at 6.5 sold for $595 and a few days later, a copy graded at 7.0 sold for only $450. You can see the completed listings HERE. There are only 5 for sale on Ebay right now; you can see the asking prices HERE

   Whatever the value of my book, I am sure that we can agree that it IS NOT $16. LOL!

   I am really glad to have such an important key in my comics collection. And I am really glad that you took the time to visit with me today. Thank you, fellow Questers...And happy collecting!!

PS. Hey. Wanna see my other CBCS REVEALS? Click one, or click 'em all:


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Monday, July 30, 2018

Captain America Vol 9 #1 Review



Captain America vol 9, #1 from Marvel Comics -

    Captain America, the REAL Captain America has returned. He returned in time to help save the world that was firmly in the grip of Hydra. He is the hero he always was, yet his friends, his government - the world - seem wary of trusting him again. Still, he fights, quelching a violent, bloody terrorist attack in the nation's capital, and stopping crime on the streets of NYC. But there's something deeper afoot. In Russia, Anti-Hydra groups have risen to crush the remaining Hydra loyalists led by a new, dangerous, merciless cabal called The Power Elite. In America, the president has shut Captain America out, choosing instead to tap some of Cap's best old friends and worst enemies, men and women with questionable pasts and special skill sets, to covertly track and eliminate the root of the terrorist attack - an attack carried out by soldiers wearing the American Flag itself on their faces. Captain America is out in the cold, unsanctioned, unsupported. How will Captain America take his rightful place as the living symbol of a country that he no longer recognizes, and that no longer trusts him? And where will he turn for help against the Power Elite who has found a way to insinuate themselves into our government at the highest levels?

   Luminary, Ta-Nehisi Coates, best selling author who exploded into comics a little over 2 years ago with Black Panther vol 6, brings the real Captain America back to his own series in a story that highlights all the best parts of why we love Captain America. Coates shows that Steve is a man of peace, and a man of action - a reluctant, philosopher-warrior who doesn't revel in the glory of combat and carries the heavy burden of the consequences of battle on his mighty shoulders. Steve feels the alienation from the country he holds so dear, and its deep mistrust towards him. He senses that somehow, we have forgotten the price of freedom, lost our way, and to avoid the natural controlled chaos of being a free nation, we unwittingly chose the safety and order offered by a dictator with Captain America's face. And now, another enemy is inside the gates, The Power Elite, an obvious nod to C. Wright Mills' novel of the same name that shook the nation in 1956. Cap is just the man to escort them out - but how can he do it all alone, out in the cold? Coates masterfully uses the text boxes to reveal the nobility, confusion, and determination of America's greatest flag-draped hero. Leinil Francis Yu's pencils are equally masterful. From Captain America's explosive battle scenes to his thoughtful, powerful gaze, Yu's lays down panel after panel of stellar comicbook art. This story, in my opinion (useful, or useless as you find it) is the height of great comicbook storytelling - these are the types of stories that inspire readers, and make us think about our world in a different, more meaningful way. Captain America was MADE for these types of stories because, like it or not, Captain America has been a political symbol - a symbol of national ideals - since his inception. Sometimes we need to be reminded of those ideals. Sometimes, those ideals change as the nation changes, advances, and grows. Captain America is not an agent of the status quo, but an agent of the common good who, as Coates writes it, echoing Frank Miller (Daredevil vol 1, #233, 1986), "is loyal to nothing...Except the dream." Captain America #1 is simply amazing.

RATING: 11 out of 10 (extended scale).

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Sunday, July 29, 2018

The Weekend Presents: Starboy #1 Review


The Weekend Presents: Starboy #1 from Marvel Comics - 

   The futuristic megacity of Alphatron is on the edge of collapse. Cannibalistic crime-boss, Jack "The Chef" Smiley, has taken over all the organized crime in the city and created a unified criminal front that has overwhelmed public officials, law enforcement, and everyday citizens alike. No one is safe from Smiley - he is a ruthless, vicious, bloodthirsty criminal juggernaut that cannot be negotiated with, swayed nor stopped. In desperation, Mayor Arnold Winter commissions the creation of an equally unstoppable mechanical law enforcement corps - The Solar Police Force. The designers, genius scientist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, Isaac Starr, and his self-centered, but equally genius son, Jeremiah, have created a solution to Alphatron's crime problem...And made themselves the targets of the most soulless crime-lord in Alphatron's history. When Jack Smiley comes calling, the blood will flow, a father will fall...And a hero will rise. Maybe.

   From the mind of genre-spanning recording artist, The Weekend (Abel Tesfaye), La Mar Taylor, and veteran comics writer, Christos Gage, comes this epic sci-fi stunner, The Weekend Presents: Starboy #1! Based on The Weekend's double-platinum-selling album, Starboy, this writing team delivers big time, with a cool, if familiar, sci-fi story set in a futuristic city beset by a relentless villain. The protagonist, Jeremiah, is an egotistical, genius, youth who can't seem to find a meaningful connection to the world outside himself. His only real connection is his loving father who is very preoccupied with the needs of his fellow man, much to the chagrin of his selfish son. These two men share blood, but their worldview is very different. When Jeremiah's world comes crashing down, he will find himself with new powers, and a choice to make. A great, complex protagonist, an inexorable villain, rampant corruption, and a city on the brink of destruction - this is a world in need of a hero. The Weekend, Gage and Taylor are doing some seriously great worldbuilding here. I enjoyed this book so much - it's like someone took the premise RoboCop, and elements of the origins of Iron-Man, and Ditko's creations, Spider-Man, and The Destructor, shook them all up in a bottle, and poured them all out in this super-fun, super-engaging origin story that leaves you hungry for more. I mean that last part LITERALLY, as this issue closes gracefully the most pivotal part of the origin story. The artwork, by Eric Nguyen tells the story in cinematic style with perfectly kinetic, sketchy, and expressive pencils. I hope that we haven't seen the last of The Weekend's and Marvel's Starboy. I'd happily read this series, or watch this film or TV series. I dig it. Hey, Marvel, I want more Starboy!

RATING: 9 out of 10. And I'm digging the title track to the album - a banging collabo with Daft Punk (Who doesn't like Daft Punk?). Beware, the video contains some HARSH LANGUAGE.




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The Immortal Men #1 Review



The Immortal Men #1 from DC Comics -

    Caden Park is a normal teenager with dreams of changing the world. Ever since he had a chance encounter with Superman, his mind has teemed with images of heroes. However, lately, Caden's dreams have become the darkest of nightmares - dreams in which two super-powered cabals of immortals vie for total control of the world. On the side of light, is the wise, enigmatic Immortal Man, with his army of Immortal Men who wish to leave it to humanity to shape their own destiny. Then, there is the warlike, bloodthirsty Infinite Woman, the oldest human in existence, and her army, The House of Conquest. What Caden doesn't know is that behind his dreams lie a dark reality: this once covert, ancient battle is about to be brought into the light by the bloody hands of The Batman Who Laughs who has tipped the scales in favor of conquest...And Caden will be caught in the crossfire. Will Caden survive when dreams and reality dangerously intersect?

   James Tynion IV writes this mystical hero's journey, The Immortal Men #1. Tynion gives us Caden Park, a teenager that wants to be a part of something bigger than himself, a teenager plagued by nightmares of a battle that he can't understand - visions containing a man with ancient eyes that see right into the depths of Caden's soul. The story is quite gripping (even if the dialogue seems a bit clunky at times), quickly paced, and introduces us to intriguing new villains that look like they could become major players in the dynamics of the DCU. And I am really excited to see one of my favorites, The Immortal Man, return to the DCU, even if he doesn't stay around. With all this going for the story, I am sorry to say that Park and the Immortal Men haven't really captured my imagination as much as the villains, and the trajectory of the overall story itself. The mystery of the millennia-old battle and how it has shaped the DCU intrigues me, and the villains drip danger; but the heroes look weak, disorganized, and whiny by comparison. I can't say I really dig that, even though I understand that Infinity Woman and The Batman Who Laughs have them on the ropes. As far as the art goes, Jim Lee, and Ryan Benjamin dig a great job with this book, especially on the darker, nightmarish panels. Although I'm not totally sold on the heroes, I'm definitely sold on the story and the villains; Immortal Men has a lot of potential. I am looking forward to this journey that will probably take us down a rabbit-hole that unlocks many of the mysteries of the DCU. 

RATING: 7.5 out of 10.

NOTE: In the DCU, it seems that Resurrection Man has kind of replaced Immortal Man. Resurrection Man debuted in one of the best series that came out of the 1990's which you can read HERE. I have no idea how Resurrection Man has been overlooked in DC film and TV. 

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Thursday, July 19, 2018

TEX'S BACK-ISSUE QUEST EPISODE 71 (The Question)



Welcome back, Fellow Questers!

    I am so glad to be able to join you once more in the continuation of our celebration of the life of a creative who would become a key contributor to the birth of the Marvel Universe as we know it; a man who would also leave an indelible mark on the DCU, and the entire comics industry.

   Of course, I'm talking about the gone, but never-to-be-forgotten, Steve Ditko, may he rest in peace.

   A few days back, we studied the story of Mr. A, who was probably Steve Ditko's most personal creation. Today, we consider Mr. A again, sort of, but not really. Just hang loose; all will be explained as we seek to find answers by exploring...



THE QUESTION!!!

   Above, is my copy of Blue Beetle, vol 5, #1 published by Charlton Comics in June of 1967. This comic marks the first time that Ted Kord, Blue Beetle II, got his own title, but more importantly (at least to me anyhow), it is the comic in which Steve Ditko's faceless superhero, The Question, made his explosive debut!! Blue Beetle II, The Question, and Mr. A all come from the fertile mind of Steve Ditko!

   Not to worry - there will be more to come on Blue Beetle II later. I'm a man of my word. :-)

   Now, the obvious QUESTION (See what I did there?) is: Which came first, The Question or the very similar Mr. A? My answer is not going to satisfy you: I just am not sure. I read part of an interview in which it seems that Ditko implied that Mr. A came first, and that The Question was created solely out of the necessity for a companion feature for Blue Beetle in his new comicbook series:

W
hen Blue Beetle got his own magazine, they needed a companion feature for it. I didn't want to [use] Mr. A, because I didn't think the Code would let me do the type of stories I wanted to do, so I worked up the Question, using the basic idea of a man who was motivated by basic black & white principles. Where other "heroes" powers are based on some accidental super element, The Question and Mr A's "power" is deliberately knowing what is right and acting accordingly. But it is one of choice. Of choosing to know what is right and choosing to act on that knowledge in all his thoughts and actions with everyone he deals with. No conflict or contradiction in his behavior in either identity. He isn't afraid to know or refuse to act on what is right no matter in what situation he finds himself.

Where other heroes choose to be self-made neurotics, the Question and Mr. A choose to be psychologically and intellectually healthy. It's a choice everyone has to make.
(Source: The Vic Sage Site)   

    This quote from Ditko himself, leads me to believe that Mr. A was conceptualized, and realized before The Question. However, other comics scholars like the late, great Don Markstein, and Mr. Steve Replogle (thanks for your comments!), believe that it was indeed The Question that came first. Others still, like Thom Young over at comicsbulletin.com, believe that they were possibly created with some semblance of simultaneity. But which appeared in print first? That should be a question that is easy to answer...But, no. Since witzend #3 has no publication month, it's really hard to actually pin down which character appeared in print first without access to some other firsthand sources. But as to which character inspired the creation of the other, I do believe that Steve Ditko's above quote gives us some insight to the answer - and to me, that answer seems to be Mr. A. 

   The Question is Vic Sage, an incorruptible TV reporter in the fictional Hub City. Vic is secretly the vigilante known as...The Question! He is out for justice, armed only with his keen detective skills (honed by years as a journalist), his fists, and a faceless mask made of a new material material called pseuododerm, an artificial skin pioneered by Vic's friend, accomplice, and mentor, Aristotle "Tot" Rodor. The pseudoderm is donned by Sage whenever it's crime-smashing time. It is activated by a special gas, also invented by Tot, that cements the pseudoderm to Vic's skin, and reacts to chemicals that he has sprayed on his hair and clothing to give him a totally new identity as The Question! 


   In his first adventure, The Question is hot on the trail of a crime-boss named Lou Dicer. You can read it HERE. The Question, like Ditko implied, is a Comics-Code-acceptable version of Mr. A - he's still an embodiment of Ayn Rand's Objectivism, yet a bit watered down so as not to ruffle the feathers of the Comics Code Authority. The Question appeared in all five issues of Blue Beetle, vol 5, and in the cool Charlton one-shot, Mysterious Suspense, which was the first comic totally dedicated to The Question. Soon after, Charlton's action hero line went the way of the dinosaurs, and it seemed that The Question was going too. But at least Ditko could still give voice to his philosophy via Mr. A in Wally Wood's witzend. Eventually, DC would end up with many of Charlton's action heroes (you can read more on the whys of that HERE), but The Question wouldn't reappear, with several other Charlton heroes, until 1985 in issue #6 of Marv Wolfman's and George PĂ©rez's SWEEPING EPIC, Crisis on Infinite Earths, a series which this humble fan refers to as "the SINGLE GREATEST event comic in history." Seen as denizens and heroes of Earth Four, The Question, Captain Atom, Blue Beetle, and other Charlton heroes are brought into the DCU in Wolfman's and Perez's chronicle of the desperate fight to save the multiverse from the Anti-Monitor. 

   

(You can read the entire series HERE - if you haven't, you SHOULD)

    Alan Moore wanted to use The Question, and others of the Charlton action line for his legendary 1986 series, The Watchmen. Moore wanted to kill the character off (Moore deeply disliked Mr. A, and The Question), but DC had future plans for him, and the other Charlton heroes DC owned. So, Moore was forced to create new characters, thus The Question spawned Rorschach. 


Ironically, in a classic story in The Question, vol 1, #17, we find out exactly what The Question thinks of Rorschach: HE SUCKS. LOL.


(Source: Revolution Science-Fiction)

You can read a great article by Jayme Blaschke on it HERE, or read issue #17 for yourself, HERE.

   Soon, DC's plans for The Question materialized. They put him back in publication in his very own series, for the very first time. So, in February of 1987, The Question, vol 1, kicked off with a POWERFUL first issue:



   The chosen scribe was comics veteran, Dennis "Denny" O'Neal, and the interior artist was one of the best of the age, the VERY unsung penciler, Denys Cowan - and if you know comics, you'll instantly recognize that cover as the work of the one-and-only Bill Sienkiewicz. O'Neal, who did not share Ditko's views, decided that the best thing to do was to give the character something like a soft reboot...by KILLING him off in the first issue!!! The Question is soundly beaten by one of DC's deadliest fighters, Lady Shiva (hired by Vic Sage's enemy, Rev. Hatch), and handed over to two henchmen to be viciously pummeled to a pulp, and finally shot in the heat and dumped in a river. 

  Yeah. Talk about a bad day. 

   Luckily, Shiva saves The Question out of respect for him, and delivers him to Richard Dragon, another of DC's greatest fighters, who hones Sage's physical prowess, combat skills, and most importantly, his new Zen-like philosophy that moves him away from Diko's Objectivist point-of-view. O'Neal knew that only Ditko could write The Question in the Objectivist way, the way in which he was conceived, so O'Neal killed and resurrected the character to take him in an entirely new direction. The series ran for  37 issues, and 2 Annuals, and then spawned a follow-on series, The Question Quarterly. As much as I love Ditko, I have to admit that this volume of The Question hangs in my mind as a truly legendary series - so much so, that I would, without hesitation, recognize it as one of the best series of the 80s, and one of my favorites of all time. It is one of the few titles of which I own a COMPLETE run (don't judge me - I am not a completist):






(The Question vol 1, issues 2 through 6, from my collection)

    You can read the series HERE. I hope you read it, enjoy it, and come back and let me know what you think about it. 

    In 2007's series, 52, things went badly for Ditko's creations. The Blue Beetle was murdered, and The Question died of lung cancer, leaving his protege, Renee Montoya, to be the new Question.


   In 2011, once again, The Question was retconned in The New 52, seen as one of several beings punished on The Rock of Eternity for unrevealed sins. Made to forget his face and identity, he is supernaturally forced to seek out his own identity, and solve conspiracies and crimes:


The Trinity of Sin (The Phantom Stranger, Pandora, and The Question)

   As of now, Vic Sage has been retconned to have no ties to The Question. He was a high-level government agent over Task Force X (Suicide Squad) until he screwed up. Then he went rogue, and tried to take down Amanda Waller. You can guess where that got him.


Needless to say, this iteration on Vic Sage is a real head-scratcher. Nope. I don't like it.

    The Question, and Mr. A: two very similar characters churned from the same feverishly inventive mind. Whether you dig The Question or Mr. A more probably has to do with your own personal beliefs and worldview; however, the fact is that both of these characters are part of a great legacy. Both reflect the complex life philosophy, thought processes, and moral beliefs of a singular creative icon in varying degrees of intensity. The Question was created with more of an intent to be accepted by the comics mainstream - an audience that Ditko knew wouldn't swallow Mr. A's bitter pills of his treasured, hardline philosophy. And he was right. The Question has a rather large following, especially after he debuted on The WB's smash series, Justice League Unlimited, quickly becoming a fast favorite:



But Mr. A? He is still only known to hardcore Ditko fans, comics enthusiasts with a love for comics history, and probably, followers of Objectivism. Maybe Mr. A will find a wider audience someday - I can't say, but The Question has, with a great bit of dilution, begun to bridge the wide gap between prevailing worldviews, and Rand's philosophy. Like Mary Poppins said, "A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down." I have been taking this medicine happily for many years: The Question is one of my favorite Ditko creations, and one of my favorite superheroes. 

  Thank you for reading!

IN LOVING MEMORY OF STEVE DITKO (1927-2018)


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Saturday, July 14, 2018

TEX'S BACK-ISSUE QUEST EPISODE #70 (Mr. A)

Welcome back, Fellow Questers!

    It's your favorite comicbook fan, gearing up once again to give you all that comicbook knowledge that you can't get in any college! We're returning to our series, paying homage to the gone, but never forgotten, Sturdy Steve Ditko!!

   Today, we will talk about what just may be Steve Ditko's most-beloved, most deeply personal creation:



MR. A!!!

    Mr. A was born out of Steve Ditko's passionate support for Ayn Rand's philosophy, Objectivism, which puts forth that reality exists independently of individual consciousness, and therefore, it exists independently of individual power (since you can't "think" reality away, or cause it to not exist, simply by willpower in the focused belief that reality does not exist). Rand believed that reality can only come to be known through our human powers of perception, and inductive logic, and that everything has a specific nature or identity, which she demonstrated in her writings as "A is A". This harkened back to the law of identity, first touched on by Socrates (Plato's dialogue, Theaetetus,), and later expounded upon by Aristotle (Prior Analytics, Book II). Hence, the name, "Mr. A," was inspired by both Ayn Rand's writings, which were inspired by Aristotle's famous proof in Prior Analytics. 

   Steve Ditko was so enamored with Rand's philosophy that it captured his fertile imagination, and from that imagination sprung, Mr. A, a new superhero that was ruthless with criminals, and heavy with his inflexible philosophy of black and white morality. And it all began here:



   This is my copy of Wally Wood's witzend #3, published in 1967. In a story entitled, "Mr. A," in which a young, violent ne'er-do-well comes face to face with the stark reality of justice incarnate in the form of Mr. A, a relentless, white-suited nightmare with a steel mask and steel gloves. Don't let the "comic" in comicbook story, fool you - in this story, written, penciled and inked by Ditko himself, it is ALL business with a deadly serious message inundated in Objectivism and a stern no-tolerance for crime/evil sentiment. You can read it HERE.

   Folks, this AIN'T The Amazing Spider-Man. 

   Mr. A is Rex Graine, a hard-edged, absolutely incorruptible reporter for a newspaper called The Daily Crusader. Even though no origin story ever appears for Mr. A, it makes sense that a guy like Graine couldn't just sit around and do nothing while his city sinks into corruption. Graine dons a white suit, steel gloves, and a steel mask, and pummels crime into submission with his fists, and long, sermon-like speeches on morality and justice. And it's not just the criminals that should be fearful; Mr. A doles out tough love to those with their heads in the sand, those who are indecisive, and those who are unknowing enablers to the criminal hordes descending on his city. It's no wonder that Mr. A never found a really wide audience in the civil unrest and love-fest of the 60s and the good-time chasing of the 70s - a hero so severe was probably just too unpersonable and unrelatable to the comics readers of the time, despite the absolutely INCREDIBLE artwork that Ditko poured onto the pages:




            Isn't that art GORGEOUS? Mr. A continued to appear in witzend and other fanzines until 1973 when this happened:


Mr. A #1 (front cover)


Mr. A #1 (back cover)

   Above, you can see both the front and back covers to Mr. A #1, published in 1973 by Comic Art Publishers. The series lasted two issues. The first issue featured an all-new story entitled, "The Right To Kill," and several reprints from fanzines. The second, which I don't have, issue featured only all-new material. After that, Mr. A was relegated to a few reprints in the 80s, a couple of false starts in the 90s (stories advertised, but never materialized), until the 2000s, when Ditko teamed up with a publisher named Robin Snyder in Bellingham, Washington, to create a few new stories backed up with old reprints. 

   Mr. A would go on to inspire the creation of The Question, his comics-code compatible doppelganger, Alan Moore's Rorschach of The Watchmen (sources say that Alan Moore REALLY disliked Mr. A), and even a character named "Q" in the videogame, Street Fighter III. 


   While Mr. A is neither as well-known nor well-beloved as other Ditko creations, he stands alone as the creation that probably most gives us insight into the inner workings, beliefs, and motivations of the brilliant mind of the enigmatic recluse that gave us Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, The Question, and countless other characters in universes that caused our imaginations to take flight. And the art was simply out of this world!! One could imagine that if Steve Ditko could have taken on the identity any of his creations come-to-life, Mr. A would have been his chosen alter-ego. That alone, in my mind, probably makes Mr. A one of Ditko's most important creations, whether I agree with his philosophy or not. For Steve Ditko, A was indeed A...Mr. A!!

IIN LOVING MEMORY OF STEVE DITKO (1927-2018)


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