Thursday, November 13, 2008

Diggin' Ditko: Killjoy

Ah, Steve Ditko. One of the all-time greats. Up there with Stan Lee and Jack Kirby as an awesome architect of the Marvel Age of comics for co-creating Spider-Man and Dr. Strange. Captain of the Charlton Action Heroes line for his work on Captain Atom, the Question, and Blue Beetle. A major T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agent contributor. A DC darling for creating Hawk & Dove and the Creeper. Then came the early 70s. Ditko's political leanings took him pretty much out of mainstream comics, so he spent a lot of the decade back at Charlton, churning out horror/mystery stories, along with odd little gems like these two Killjoy strips that ran in the back of E-Man issues 2 (September, 1973) and 4 (May, 1974). Here, Ditko's libertarian beliefs were given a chance to run wild, embodied by the enigmatic Killjoy. Rather than the straight-laced, serious fare like Mr. A (produced for mags like Witzend), Killjoy was a snappy social satire. Weird, funny, and thought-provoking stuff. Check 'em out, Groovesters!


  1. most cool. I've never seen these in colour before ( " there is black and there is white, and there is nothing, nothing in-between, " 'ey? ). I remember them from the old DITKO'S WORLD FEATURING STATIC comics.

    God, but I love Steve Ditko.

  2. My Grandad bought me E-Man No. 4 when I was about seven years old, and that Killjoy strip in the back... let me tell you: weird, yes; funny, yes; slightly crazy and confusing to a seven-year-old in the mid-70s? Yep.

  3. They were quite crazy and confusing to a ten-year-old young Groove, as well, Aldous! But so cool!

    Yeah, Joe, Ditko is far-freaking-out, man!

  4. Ahhh ... you beat me to this story! One of my all time favorites that seriously bent my mind when I first read this back in the mid-70s. Your blog just keeps getting groovier and groovier!

  5. Thanks, Keeper! Compliments from the guy running one of the most outta sight blogs around? Far out!

  6. God thank you for this! I had the E-Man comics as a kid but like so many others they were lost to the sands of time. I've always had a very strange place in my heart for Killjoy. It's very cool to see them again. THANKS!

  7. Thanks for posting this! I really loved seeing this again. It's been years since I've read E-Man comics, but these pages make more sense today than they did years ago. Great work!

  8. You can't believe how thrilled I am to see this. I've been looking all over for more info on this character.
    Real preachy stuff it looks like, but that's Ditko for ya. Thanks for sharin', man! Love this guy, and Ditko!

  9. I always thought the Killjoy stories were lots of fun, and it was a shame that there weren't more of them. Ditko rarely focused on humor, except for those Creeper stories in World's Finest, and the occasional humor story in his independent comics.

    And what characters he came up with! S.S.S. Snake in the Grass, Hart and Sole, Killer Ded, The Flame, and all those diamond-based villains. All in these two short stories.

    Just great stuff!

  10. Really beautiful artwork. But as for the writing, wow, you really can not say the words "subtle" and "Steve Ditko" in the same sentence, can you? Looking at this, it's amazing to think that Ditko and Denny O'Neil ever worked together, considering their diametrically opposed political views. That said, I'm suddenly wondering how a team-up between Ditko's original Objectivist version of The Question and O'Neil's early 1970s ultra-left wing Green Arrow would have played out!

  11. Ha! I used to have E-Man #2 back in the day. That was the one with the young lovers he force to stay apart or they'd end up dying, right? :)

    I always wanted to read more of him and now I have! Thanks, Groove! :)

  12. Ho-ly *shit*...! :O much of a looney was Ditko? :I putting aside the man-thong (hey, i love 'em as much as anyone, but here it's just *totally* unflattering), the design is striking...only in the face-mask, cause there's nothing else there otherwise :) but seriously, who's "Killjoy" (which might just be Mr. Ditko's behind-the-back nickname among his co-workers, imo :P ) gonna fight next? The sinister Straw-Man? :P ;) haha, geezus :D



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Special thanks to Mike's Amazing World of Comics and Grand Comics Database for being such fantastic resources for covers, dates, creator info, etc. Thou art treasures true!

Note to "The Man": All images are presumed copyright by the respective copyright holders and are presented here as fair use under applicable laws, man! If you hold the copyright to a work I've posted and would like me to remove it, just drop me an e-mail and it's gone, baby, gone.

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