Saturday, November 21, 2015

Preview P1: Images from "Outer Limits: The Steve Ditko Archives vol. 6"

Just leafing through some of the original comic books that will be included in my next book, "Outer Limits: The Steve Ditko Archives vol. 6" and it's great to see that, even at volume six, the book leads off with a bang. 

Check out page three of "The Time Chamber" from Out Of This World #11. It was published by Charlton Comics, with a January 1959 cover date, meaning that Ditko likely drew the story five-to-six months in advance of that date. Is it difficult to see how Ditko would go on to create those amazing alternative dimensions in one of his signature strips, Dr Strange?

The work in this volume of the Steve Ditko Archives series coincides with Ditko starting back up with Marvel Comics and Stan Lee for their uninterrupted run of 7+ years which encompassed the creation of the Amazing Spider-Man, as well. Truth be told, Ditko's favourite work of mine is the period of 1959 to about 1961 on these five-page "Twilight Zone"-type stories, with the shock endings. His line work, under the influence of his study of John Severin's inking, is so detailed, yet the layouts are so fluid, so easy to interpret; perfect comic-book storytelling.

And, in the late 1950s, not a lot of artists, especially on these non-superhero books, were breaking apart the traditional 6 or 9-panel page grid. As we know, however, Ditko was not "a lot of artists" and he was doing this frequently during this late 1950s period to great effect. Click on the image below to enlarge...


  1. Blake,

    Currently in the middle of reading Vol 4. I'm really loving this series, as it presents such a great opportunity to see Ditko's exploration and growth as a storyteller. Even when the scripts leave something to be desired, Ditko's handling of the material shows his nuanced craft work and innovative approach to unfolding the story.

    Looking forward to Vol 6!

    Javier Hernandez

  2. Couldn't agree more, Javier! Volume 6 is exciting to behold (having just re-reviewed all 200+ pages over the weekend) because it marks a real turning point in Ditko's career and style, and is the end of that first stage in his career.