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  • Matt Linton

Comics Collective Splash Page!

SPLASH PAGE (noun) - Often the first page of a comic, it is generally a full page image designed to introduce the story and draw readers in.

Hi everyone! Welcome to what will hopefully be the first in a weekly column looking at what's going on in the world of comics. The plan is to feature significant news, mini-reviews of comics-adjacent content (such as this week's look at the latest offering from the Marvel Cinematic Universe), spotlights on new comics, and features on comic creators. I'll also be trying to include info about where you can get comics, including in-depth spotlights on local shops, how to find shops near you, upcoming events, and more!

STEVE DITKO (November 2, 1927 – June 29, 2018)

One of the most significant creators of the 20th century was discovered to have passed away at the age of 90. Steve Ditko is perhaps best known as the co-creator of Spider-Man, along with Stan Lee, for Marvel Comics in 1962. Along with designing the timeless look of the character (which continues relatively unaltered more than half a century later) Ditko co-plotted and/or plotted the character’s origin in Amazing Fantasy #15, as well as the first 36 issues of the Amazing Spider-Man comic. Prior to Spider-Man, Ditko illustrated a number of sci-fi and horror comics for Charlton and Atlas (a forerunner of Marvel).

Ditko’s other creations include Doctor Strange, the Question, the second version of the Blue Beetle, the Creeper, Mr. A, Hawk and Dove, Shade the Changing Man, Captain Atom, Speedball, and Squirrel Girl.

While Ditko’s art leaned heavily toward the fantastic and surreal, his characters often reflected his strict Randian Objectivism. Since largely retiring from mainstream comics in the late 1990s, Ditko continued producing and publishing his own work with the help of his longtime editor Robin Snyder. Beyond his work, little is known of Ditko’s life as he was notoriously reclusive, avoiding interviews and personal appearances.

Mini-Review: Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

Director: Peyton Reed

Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Hannah John-Kamen, Michelle Pfeiffer, Walton Goggins, and Laurence Fishburne

In a Nutshell: After discovering that the original Wasp, Janet Van Dyne (Pfeiffer), may still be alive in the Quantum Realm, Hope (Lilly), Pym (Douglas), and Lang (Rudd) overcome their differences and work together to stage a rescue while trying to stay ahead of the mysterious Ghost (John-Kamen).

Brief Critique: While there’s nothing especially groundbreaking, challenging, or even inventive about Ant-Man and the Wasp it’s an entertaining 2 ½ hour film about likable characters chasing a Macguffin in the middle of fun action and effects sequences. The best parts of the film focus on the relationship between Scott Lang and his daughter Cassie (much the same as the first), and the action and violence fits the family audience they’re going for.

Verdict: Recommended

Comic Pick of the Week: Real Science Adventures: The Nicodemus Job #1 (IDW)

Spinning out of the amazing Atomic Robo comic series, this also follows last year's Real Science Adventures: The Flying She-Devils mini-series. Don't let any of that scare you, though, as this is an entirely standalone adventure set back in 11th century Constantinople. Nicholas Vardas, once a renowned Advocatus, now a disgraced drunkard, is approached by a wealthy patron and given the opportunity to get revenge against the corrupt Grand Librarian who framed Vardas for his own crimes. This first issue is a "getting the gang back together" story, setting up the caper to come.

Like Atomic Robo, this series is written by Brian Clevinger, joined here by artist Meredith McClaren and colorists J.N. Wiedle (on the main story) and Shan Murphy (on the back-up). The work is light and cartoonish while also being highly detailed. This grounds the world while allowing the action and humor to propel the story along. And this issue is filled with both, as we get a great chase sequence along with short gags during our introduction to the characters.


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