A slight change of pace as we present some PRIME cuts of a more exotic bent for our most discerning readers. Here then are some truly mind-bending visuals on offer from the master Steve Ditko. Looking over them again one can’t help but wonder just where they came from? They seem to have no precedent in comics before, Ditko appears to be generating his own visual grammar whole cloth. While an acolyte of both Will Eisner and Joe Kubert nether of these great men had anything like these pieces in their oeuvre. No doubt he was inspired in some part by the surrealists such as Dali, perhaps even early book illustrators such as Harry Clarke? Nevertheless, Ditko’s imagery is his own, so distinctive and so utterly unforgettable. Whatever inspiration he may have gleaned elsewhere in the popular arts he assimilates it and takes it to far different places. You can see how such stunning imagery came to be embraced by the counterculture of the sixties. These pieces appear so in step with the psychedelic art that was flowering in the mid-1960’s. Ditko, however, famously was himself the very definition of straight-edge and had less than no time for any of the flower power generations “Tuning In”.
Here then is a small sampling of his more psychedelic dabblings, enabled purely with pen and ink and though saddled with the utterly crude printing processes of the time, retain their power today.
Please now enjoy this trip into the really Astonishing!