ROBIN SNYDER AND STEVE DITKO are pleased to announce the publication of a new title in their 26th year of publishing. Thank you for your continuing support. But what have we been doing lately? We have been busy...
The Four-Page Series
The Ditko Public Service Package #2
Now comes one more book. Our next title is nearly finished. All we have to do is add your name to the list of Backers, carefully review it one more time and send it to the printer. That new title is Mr. A.
Mr. A. first appeared in Wally Wood’s witzend in 1967. The image I have included in this presentation is from the first story.
The mid-1960s were a tumultuous time of upheaval, transition, exploration and pressure. I have been reading and thinking about the men and characters and ideas in the 1960s in American Comic Book Chronicles: 1965-69 by John Wells (TwoMorrows). Here is a sampling of quotations from that book and that time...
“Over the course of a forty page story in His Name Is…Savage #1 (June 1968), a jailed U.S. spy was returned to action to thwart the cyborg General Simon Mace from murdering president Lyndon Johnson. Blood flowed freely in the story, punctuated by moments of shocking gore like a hand being crushed to an oozing pulp or a gun shattering a man’s teeth as it was shoved into his mouth.”
Charles Hauser, of the Greensboro Daily News, cancelled Dick Tracy and Little Orphan Annie. “It wasn’t that the strips contain a great deal of violence, but rather that they advocated it.”
“Did I make a mistake in showing Jackie as an American soldier without a single stereotype action, name, or word to mark him as a Negro,” Robert Kanigher wondered. “Did I make a mistake in not having him dance or sing or play a horn—to keep him in the usual typed roles for Negroes? Did I make a mistake in thinking that Jackie’s skin was khaki-colored like everyone in Easy? The silence then, makes me regretfully think so.”
“S. Clay Wilson completed the Zap Comix quartet and, in some ways, influenced the direction of underground comix just as much as Crumb had. Their content was undeniably not for children, interwoven as it was with profanity, drug usage, nudity and innuendo. Wilson, though, pushed barriers that shocked even his colleagues, creating images of grotesqueries, mutilation, and sexual deviancy.”
It was in this period that Steve Ditko created, wrote and illustrated the first story featuring Mr. A. Fan and journalist Don Thompson, in the pages of Comic Art #7, 1968, was one of the first to comment on Ditko’s new direction. Here is the opening of his editorial, The Word, for that unique publication.
“I have been increasingly disturbed of late by unpleasant developments in Steve Ditko’s work. I am an admirer of his artwork, and, until recently, of his plots. But his work since leaving Marvel has been propaganda—and badly done propaganda at that—for a frightening philosophy.”
On the other hand… Here is a reprint of an editorial of ours from the November 2012 number of The Comics!
THE MOST ORIGINAL NAME IN THE COMICS
Pioneering Wally Wood wrote of his new publication, witzend, that it “is a platform, a vehicle, for any idea in any form. Our theory is that an artist is his own best editor, and left to his own devices will turn out his best work.”
Wood wanted only first-publication rights to the work. All rights to the property remained with the writer and/or artist.
There have been a number of creator-owned concepts, titles or characters that have stood the test of time.
Jack Kirby produced half-a-dozen characters such as Captain Victory, Silver Star, Secret City, etc.
Batton Lash began publishing Wolff and Byrd, Counselors of the Macabre, in 1979.
Dave Sim’s Cerebus ran from 1977 to 2004 and is still going strong in reprints.
Steve Ditko introduced his new character, Mr. A., in witzend #3, 1967.
Consider the state of the hero in the comics and film at that time.
And compare that with the idea and character of Mr. A.
This is a unique achievement.
Why is that?
Mr. A. is not like just any other character.
Mr. A. and not his creator would set the standards.
The basics were there from the beginning.
In Masters of Comic Book Art, Ditko explained that “Mr. A. is based on Ayn Rand’s theory of justice, on Aristotle’s Law of Identity, his definition of man and his view of art.”
The value of Mr. A. has always been the Law of Identity, a basic law in metaphysics and epistemology, hence objective justice in ethics.
It is especially intriguing to realize there is no origin story for this character. He arrived full-blown and fully developed.
Imagine what must have taken place in the mind of his creator for him to be able to bring this character to publication?
Ditko, like his creation, takes ideas seriously.
The man and his creation are still at it 45 years later.
Mr. A is timeless because the morality of A is A is timeless.
Mr. A. is not locked into a particular idea, theme, format or publisher.
Mr. A. is at home in the 1960s or the 21st century.
Here then is our salute to the timely and timeless Mr. A. and his creator, the most original name in the comics.
This brings ius to today and this announcement.
How many times have you been frustrated by a review that gave away the plot, theme, characters and surprises in a new book or movie?
One of the several hosts of Turner Movie Classics recently introduced a George Sanders picture by telling us the plot and revealing the name of the mystery murderer.
We will do no such thing. Here or in the pages of our newsletters, The Four-Page Series and The Comics!
We do have plenty to say about that which we have already produced. Look to right side of this Introduction and scroll down to the link that reads “See full bio”. You will find more paragraphs there about us than you can shake a stick at.
We invite you to place your Pledge for this unique publication.
This story, artwork and covers of this new book are already complete. It will be in the same size and format (6 1/2 x 10 1/4, saddle-stich, black-and-white) as those in The 32 Series. The money you Pledge for the project will go toward the costs of printing, production and distribution of 1,000 copies of our new title.
Risks and challenges
There are no risks and challenges in the production of The Return of Mr. A. As we wrote earlier, the book is complete but for your participation and the recording of your name in the Honor Roll. We are making arrangements for the printing and will be ready to handle any and all orders you give to us.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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