Showcase Presents Bat Lash Vol. 1

Showcase Presents Bat Lash Vol. 1

First Published: July 2009

Contents: Showcase #76 (August 1968); Bat Lash #1 (October-November 1968) to #7 (October-November 1969); Bat Lash story from DC Special Series #16 (Fall 1978); and Bat Lash stories from Jonah Hex #49 (June 1981), #51 (August 1981), and #52 (September 1981)

Key Creator Credits: Sergio Aragonés, Denny O’Neill, Nick Cardy, Len Wein, Dan Spiegle, and others

Key First Appearances: Bat Lash

Overview: Meet Bat Lash, a well-mannered cowboy in an unmannered West. Bat Lash enjoys the finer parts of life – a succulent meal, a good card game, a fragrant flower, and a pretty woman. Really, he is a pacifist at heart, but he is not afraid to use his guns to protect himself from bandits or the law or sometimes both! Traveling the west on his horse Daisy, Bat Lash can show up in any town and instantly be in a mess of trouble.

Sergio Aragonês and Denny O’Neill worked together plotting out the main stories of the Bat Lash book, with superb art by Nick Cardy. As much as I love Cardy’s run on Teen Titans, I am now of the mindset that Bat Lash may be his best work.

Why should these stories be Showcased?: I really enjoyed this volume, and quickly breezed through this read. While the Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns are attributed as the inspiration to for DC to do a new western comic, I was reminded more of the Bret Maverick and James West characters from Maverick and The Wild, Wild West, respectively. In particular, the opening title sequence for The Wild, Wild West (see below) feels like an animated short for Bat Lash. Nick Cardy’s art shines in the Black & White format, well worth the price of this volume. My only complaint is how small this volume is – just 240 pages. Given the fact that DC included stories from 1978 and 1981, I would have liked to have seen the Bat Lash appearances in Weird Western Tales from that same period included here.

If you like this volume, try: tracking down Showcase #100 (May 1978). This has never been reprinted, so you will have to do some searching. For the anniversary issue, writers Paul Kupperberg and Paul Levitz contrived a story of an odd group of heroes teaming up to save Earth from an alien invasion. Those heroes were all characters that had appeared at some point in the first 99 issues of Showcase. So they were able to use the Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Atom, Lois Lane, the Challengers of the Unknown, Adam Strange, Hawk & Dove, the Creeper, and even Bat Lash, as well as many others. This story was drawn by Joe Staton, who in my opinion does not get enough recognition for his work at DC. Not to spoil this awesome read, but yes, the Earth is saved. This is a story that you just sit back and enjoy, and forget about continuity, in particular how characters from the past (Bat Lash) are interacting with current characters and even future characters (Tommy Tomorrow, Space Ranger). This is a true gem from DC’s Bronze Age.

Showcase Presents Justice League of America Vol. 4

Showcase Presents Justice League of America Vol. 4

First Published: July 2009

Contents: Justice League of America #61 (March 1968) to #83 (September 1970)

Key Creator Credits: Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky, Dick Dillin, Denny O’Neil, and others

Key First Appearances: Red Tornado (II), Black Canary (II) (see I Hope I Die Before I Get Old)

Story Continues From: Showcase Presents Justice League of America Vol. 3

Story Continues In: Showcase Presents Justice League of America Vol. 5

Overview: Meet the new Justice League — same as the old Justice League. With this volume, we finally see a change in leadership on the team. Not from heroes assembled but in the creative team. Longtime writer Gardner Fox and artist Mike Sekowsky bring their run on the title (which actually started in The Brave and the Bold #28) to an end, handing off the duties to young writer Denny O’Neil and veteran artist Dick Dillin. As a result, the type of stories that were told in Justice League of America shifted to match the changing world in which it was published in.

Let’s get the givens out of the way. We get three JLA-JSA team-ups in this collection. We do have some changes to the line-up, as Wonder Woman and Martian Manhunter take leaves from the team, and Black Canary joins the team. Green Arrow takes on a new costume, and the stories tend to start using a smaller set of characters instead of all ten members per issue.

In a surprise twist, we see the Justice Society admit a new member, in what would be Fox’s final issue of this run. The Red Tornado was created by T.O. Morrow, with the intention of inserting him into the team and then destroying them. Despite stopping the JSA, the combined might of the JLA proves too much for the Red Tornado to overcome. Realizing that their foe has been manipulated, the Justice Society nominates Red Tornado for membership. As we will see in the next collection, Red Tornado’s time as a JSA member is short-lived, as he soon relocates to Earth-1 and is eventually offered membership with the Justice League.

The JLA does have some minor changes to the membership in this volume. Founding member Martian Manhunter takes an official leave from the team to return with his people to the New Mars colony. Truth be told, he hadn’t been used much in the last several years as Superman and Batman became more featured members in the League. The Martian Manhunter would make the occasional appearance during the Bronze Age, but would not return to the League full-time until the JLA-Detroit era. Around that same time, Diana was stripped of her Wonder Woman title, abilities, and costume, leading to her white jumpsuit era. The League put her on leave and eventually allowed her to re-join once she had proven her capabilities. (Seriously, she was a founding member; she served as their secretary and housekeeper; the only female willing to hang out in a cave with these guys; and they want her to “re-apply” for membership?)

One of the most important changes in the history of the Justice League came with issues #77 and #78. Batman’s long-time foe, the Joker, tricks long-time friend Snapper Carr into revealing the secret location of the JLA’s Secret Sanctuary, otherwise known as the cave. Faced with trying to find a new place to meet and store their trophies, the League looks to the skies – specifically 22,300 miles above the Earth. The JLA Satellite is introduced as the new, more secure headquarters for the team. Members can access the satellite via transportation tubes set up in major cities around the world, or via a trip through space to reach the satellite. The satellite would serve as the Bronze Age headquarters for the JLA, until being destroyed during the events of the Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Why should these stories be Showcased?: This book marks the first major transition in the JLA’s history. To date, the adventures of the JLA had all been done by Fox and Sekowsky. But early in this volume, we see Dillin take over the art duties, followed by O’Neil taking over the writing duties. While Fox wrote stories following the traditional comic book story-methods that had worked well for 30 years, O’Neil brought a new approach to the story-telling. He was also writing Wonder Woman at this same time. O’Neil took Wonder Woman out of the League (and the book) and quickly replaced her with Black Canary. Following that, he quickly developed a relationship between Black Canary and Green Arrow, one which has lasted for decades (on and off). He took the Justice League from the cave in Happy Harbor to a satellite circling the Earth; they also lost their mascot, Snapper Carr, at the same time. And his stories started dealing with world issues such as food shortages and pollution, and not just the villain-of-the-month. I think more credit needs to be given to O’Neil for forcing the Justice League title to make the jump from the Silver Age into the Bronze Age.

I Hope I Die Before I Get Old: At the end of Justice League of America #74 (September 1969), Black Canary decides to relocate from Earth-2 to Earth-1, following the death of her husband Larry Lance. She was quickly accepted into the JLA as a member. However, flash forward to 1983, in issues #219 and #220 during the 20th team-up of the JLA-JSA, it was revealed that the Black Canary that came from Earth-2 to Earth-1 (Dinah Laurel Lance) is actually the daughter of the original Black Canary (Dinah Drake-Lance). This was done as a retcon to explain how the Black Canary could have been active in both World War II with the Justice Society and in the 1980s with the Justice League. As a result, many sources now cite Justice League of America #75 as the first appearance of the second Black Canary. (Issue #75 is also the first JLA issue where Green Arrow is sporting his new costume and goatee, perhaps another indication that the title has moved into the Bronze Age.)

Footnotes: Justice League of America #67 and #76 are 80-Page Giant reprint issues. collecting three previously published stories. The covers for these two issues are in this volume.

Justice League of America #64 did not feature any members of the Justice League. While this was the first of a two-part JLA-JSA team-up, the story focused on just the Justice Society portion of the story.

Beginning with issue #68 (August 1968), artist Dick Dillin drew part of or all of every non-reprint issue of Justice League of America, with one exception (#153), until his death following issue #183 (October 1980).

If you like this volume, try: JLA by Morrison and Porter from 1997. Following Legends in the mid-1980s, a new Justice League was introduced, affectionately known as the “Bwah-ha-ha-ha” era. In the earlier years, it was a great run on the series. As it developed, it spun out into many other titles such as Justice League Europe, Justice League Task Force, and Extreme Justice. Truth be told, they became a lot of mediocre titles, so DC made the move to re-invigorate the franchise. Superstar writer Grant Morrison and upcoming artist Porter were given the keys to the castle and begun what is an epic run on the title. The threats were greater, more global in nature. The heroes were stronger and smarter, much bigger than their counterparts. The team once again took their headquarters into space, establishing the Watchtower on the moon. This book was highly influential within the comic book community. While others might not agree with me, I can see the threads and concepts and larger-than-life approach of JLA taking us to The Authority, which that led us to The Ultimates, and so on. DC has been collecting these of late in hardcover collections, and numerous trades have been released over the years, keeping these stories easily accessible.

Essential Spider-Man Vol. 9

Essential Spider-Man Vol. 9

First Published: May 2009

Contents: Amazing Spider-Man #186 (November 1978) to #210 (November 1980); Amazing Spider-Man Annual #13 (1979) and #14 (1980); and Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #1 (1979)

Key Creator Credits: Marv Wolfman, Denny O’Neil, Keith Pollard, John Byrne, Sal Buscema, John Romita Jr., and others

Key First Appearances:  Felecia Hardy/Black Cat, Deb Whitman, Calypso, Cassandra Webb/Madame Web

Story Continues From: Essential Spider-Man Vol. 8

Story Continues In: Essential Spider-Man Vol. 10

Overview: With this publishing of this post, this will be the 14th Essential that features Peter Parker as Spider-Man. I think we all know the “Great Power, Great Responsibility” origin that got Peter into the costume business. Let’s skip the recap and get right into learning about Essential Spider-Man Vol. 9.

We all know that Peter Parker is a free-lance photographer for one of New York City’s most distinguished newspapers, the Daily Globe. Wait, what’s that? What happened to the Daily Bugle? Well, once again, J. Jonah Jameson fired Peter Parker due to a missed assignment. But before he could be hired back, Peter took his services and photos over to the Daily Globe. Setting Peter up in a new newsroom gave Peter a whole new set of characters to interact with.

Speaking of new characters, Peter gets a pair of new women in his life that are stretching him in all directions. First, there is Deb Whitman, a fellow student at Empire State that has the dreamy eyes for Peter Parker. She makes a great lab partner, but she just can’t take the hint when Peter’s spider-sense starts tingling. On the opposite side, we meet Felicia Hardy, a.k.a. the Black Cat. Is she a villain? Is she a misunderstood hero at heart? What makes this romance interesting is that the Black Cat has the dreamy eyes for Spider-Man and only Spider-Man. In fact, she finds Peter Parker to be very boring. She just wants her Spider in costume and has a hard time respecting the secret identity that Peter does his best to maintain.

The last volume ended with a large complex Green Goblin story so that villain goes into limbo for awhile. So we get some good appearances from Doctor Octopus, Electro, Mysterio, Mesmero, and more. And with Amazing Spider-Man still being the core title of the Marvel Universe, you can count on numerous guest appearances, such as Dazzler, the Human Fly, and the Punisher.

What makes this Essential?: Change is good, right? EMBRACE CHANGE, PEOPLE! OK, these are some of the most creative issues of Amazing Spider-Man since some guy named Stan Lee wrote the book. Not a knock on anyone that has written the book between then and now, but writer Marv Wolfman was not afraid to try new things with Peter Parker and his costumed alter-ego. The new employer, new love interests, both in and out of costume. And while we are boldly moving forward in new directions, Wolfman takes us back to the very beginning, questioning why the burglar would even be wanting to invade Ben and May Parker’s home all those years ago in Amazing Fantasy #15. When Wolfman ends his two-year run on the title, he hands over the duties to Denny O’Neil, who knows a thing or two about telling a good comic story. And if you need yet another reason to pick this up, we get the start of the John Romita, Jr. run with Spider-Man, that would run throughout the early 1980s and be picked back up again in the late 1990s. You would be hard pressed to find a bad Spider-Man book that has a Romita (Sr. or Jr.) attached to it.

Footnotes: Amazing Spider-Man #201 and #202 were also reprinted in Essential Punisher Vol. 1.

Amazing Spider-Man #203 was also reprinted in Essential Dazzler Vol. 1.

Amazing Spider-Man Annual #13 and Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #1 were also reprinted in Essential Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man Vol. 2.

Amazing Spider-Man Annual #12 (1978) was not reprinted in this Essential or the previous volume. Annual #12 featured reprints of Amazing Spider-Man #119 and #120, which can be found in Essential Spider-Man Vol. 6.

If you like this volume, try: the Spider-Man: Brand New Day storyline from 2008. OK, I know that a lot of fans were not happy with how Marvel was handling the Spider-Man books in this era. The previous storyline, One More Day, magically ended the Peter and Mary Jane’s marriage, which proved to be a jumping off point for a lot of readers. Following that event, Marvel retooled the Spider-Man line of books. Sensational Spider-Man and Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man were canceled, and Amazing Spider-Man started coming out three times per month. Marvel formed a creative team (Dan Slott, Marc Guggenheim, Bob Gale, & Zeb Wells) to provide the direction for Peter Parker. In this new reality, Peter Parker’s identity is a secret to the world once again; he’s single and living with his Aunt May. The Daily Bugle is struggling financially, and a new investor buys out J. Jonah Jameson and turns the paper into a tabloid. Spider-Man fights a mix of new and returning villains in these issues. Reading the Brand New Day story arc really reminded me of the Spider-Man era reprinted in this Essential — a lot of energy in the title, a mix of old and new, and willingness to take chances by changing the status quo. The Brand New Day story has been reprinted in numerous collections, so it should not be hard to track down.

Essential Power Man and Iron Fist Vol. 2

Essential Power Man and Iron Fist Vol. 2

First Published: April 2009

Contents: Power Man and Iron Fist #76 (December 1981) to #100 (December 1983); and Daredevil #178 (January 1982)

Key Creator Credits: Jo Duffy, Kerry Gammill, Dennis Cowan, Denny O’Neil, Kurt Busiek, Ernie Chan, and others

Key First Appearances: Eel, Chemistro

Story Continues From: Essential Power Man & Iron Fist Vol. 1

Overview: With apologies to Tony Kornheiser, the Heroes for Hire are back for more cash. The bills don’t pay themselves, so Luke Cage and Danny Rand make their services available to clients of all types. Unfortunately, a lot of the times, they end up doing pro bono work, as is the nature of most superheroes.

One client that can afford to pay the Heroes for Hire is the law firm of Nelson & Murdock. This collection kicks off with a crossover with Daredevil during the Frank Miller era. Matt Murdock has a client with papers connecting a mayoral candidate with the Kingpin. So Murdock arranges to have Daredevil protect the client. But Matt’s partner, Foggy Nelson, is worried about Matt’s safety. So Foggy retains the Heroes for Hire to protect his law partner. You can probably imagine what happens next? A lot of confusion, the heroes fight, and the Kingpin gets away.

The rest of the book remains a self-contained storyline. The issues are generally one-and-done tales, but there is an underlying story that slowly builds up to a climax with issue #100. While some references are made to other events in the Marvel Universe, the world of Luke Cage and Danny Rand does not cross over with a lot of other heroes. Fortunately, the cast of supporting characters help round out the stories, so you don’t need a lot of other heroes to keep the story moving.

What makes this Essential?: Is this truly essential? Probably not. But it is a solid read focusing on a core group of characters. With the exception of the Daredevil crossover at the start of the book, this collection does not cross over with other titles in the Marvel Universe. You don’t need to read a dozen other titles to understand what is going on with the characters.

One highlight to take away from this book is that it features the Marvel debut of Kurt Busiek as a writer. Busiek has become one of the best comic book storytellers of our generation. With titles like Marvels, Kingdom Come, and Astro City on his resume, he is a master of the superhero story. And it all started in the pages of Power Man & Iron Fist. Let’s be honest, it’s not his best work. But to his credit, Busiek did his research and knew these heroes. He brought back characters from Power Man and Iron Fist’s past when they were solo features in their own books.

Footnotes: Sadly, Marvel canceled the Essential line before a third volume could be released for this line. Power Man and Iron Fist finished with issue #125, which means that volume 3 could have contained the final 25 issues, plus any crossovers.

If you like this volume, try: the Thunderbolts from Marvel Comics. Launched following the events of Onslaught, which saw the Fantastic Four and the Avengers disappear from Earth, there was a need for a new superhero team to protect the people. Enter the Thunderbolts, a new team of heroes led by Citizen V. But the Thunderbolts have a secret – they are actually the Masters of Evil posing as heroes: Citizen V is Baron Zemo, Meteorite is Moonstone, Atlas is Goliath, Mach-1 is Beetle, Techno is Fixer, and Songbird is Screaming Mimi. Their secret was revealed at the end of issue #1, and it came as a complete shock to everyone at the time. The series was created by Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley, and the two worked on the title for the first three years of its run. The early issues have been collected in three Thunderbolts Classic trade paperbacks, which were released in 2011 and 2012.

Showcase Presents SHAZAM! Vol. 1

Showcase Presents SHAZAM! Vol. 1

Showcase Presents SHAZAM! Vol. 1

First Published: December 2006

Contents: SHAZAM! #1 (February 1973) to #33 (February 1978)

Key Creator Credits: C.C. Beck, Denny O’Neil, Elliot Maggin, Kurt Schaffenberger, E. Nelson Bridwell, and Bob Oksner

Overview: Newsboy Billy Batson is led down an abandoned subway tunnel, where he encounters the ancient Egyptian wizard known as Shazam. Shazam is looking for a new successor to protect the earth, and has chosen Billy Batson for this role. When Billy speaks the name “Shazam”, a bolt of lightning strikes down and he is transformed into Captain Marvel, the world’s mightiest mortal. 

As shown in nearly every Captain Marvel story, the hero gets his powers and abilities from six mighty heroes:
Solomon gives him Wisdom
Hercules gives him Strength
Atlas gives him Stamina
Zeus gives him Power
Achilles gives him Courage, and
Mercury gives him Speed

As our story begins, Captain Marvel, as well as his friends, family, and even foes, have been caught in a time bubble for twenty years. Returning to Earth in 1973, they all quickly integrate themselves into the new world, albeit in slightly different roles. For example, we see teenage Billy Batson give up hawking newspapers on the street corner to become a TV news anchor. All of the familiar faces from the Fawcett Comics run make a return in this volume. The full Marvel Family re-assembles: Mary Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr, Uncle Marvel and even Mr. Tawky Tawny. Captain Marvel’s rogues gallery, which rivals that of Batman or the Flash, returns in full wickedness: Dr. Sivana, Black Adam, Mr. Mind, and the dreaded Monster Society of Evil!

Towards the end of the book, the storyline changes to match the events of the Saturday morning TV show and to bring the characters more into the DC Universe proper. Dudley H. Dudley gives up his Uncle Marvel identity to drive Billy Batson across the U.S.A. in a motor home, so that Billy can file news stories from around the country, and Captain Marvel can be in new locations to stop evil.

Superman v. Captain Marvel: Captain Marvel was originally created in the early 1940s by Fawcett Comics, and quickly became one of the most popular characters on the newsstands. National Periodicals (DC Comics) felt that there were too many similarities between their character Superman and Fawcett’s character, so the two companies went to court to decide the matter. This was a prolonged fight across many courts, but the final ruling in the early 1950s was that Fawcett was violating the copyrights of the printed material. A final settlement was made out of court, and Fawcett agreed to pay National $400,000 and would cease publication of the Captain Marvel comics. (At this time, in the early 1950s, super-hero comics were in a sales decline, so it made financial sense to agree to that decision.) These characters would not be seen or used for two decades.

In a strange turn of events, in the early 1970s, DC Comics licensed the rights for Captain Marvel and friends from Fawcett Comics to produce these comics collected in this Showcase. Finally, DC Comics bought the rights to all of the Marvel family of characters outright from Fawcett in 1980.

Captain Marvel v. Captain Marvel: So while the Fawcett Captain Marvel was in settlement hibernation, Marvel Comics took off in the early 1960s. As their universe expanded, one of the new characters introduced was the Kree soldier known as Captain Mar-Vell. He quickly got his own title under the banner “Captain Marvel” (See my review for Essential Captain Marvel Vol. 1). Fawcett Comics had led their trademarks slip on their characters, and Marvel Comics was able to get the rights, and have held onto those rights ever since. As a result, any Fawcett/DC comic cannot use the title “Captain Marvel” on the comic, which has led DC to begin using the magical word of “SHAZAM” as the title of the books featuring their Captain Marvel.

Why should these stories be Showcased?: Well, I really want to give this book two thumbs up and advise anyone and everyone to get a copy, but I can’t. These are so-so stories, done in a way to mimic the Captain Marvel stories of the 1940s. If that is what you like, then go track down the DC Archive editions that reprint those 1940s books.

Footnotes:  Issues #8, and #21 to #24 contained reprint material from older stories. The only new material in those issues were the covers, which are included in this Showcase volume.

This collection ends with issue #33, but the series ran for two more issues. Beginning with #34, the stories took a more realistic approach to the stories, to integrate it more into the DC Universe proper. The art went away from the animated style of C.C. Beck. After this title ended, the Captain Marvel storyline continued as a feature in World’s Finest Comics and in Adventure Comics.

If you like this volume, try: Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil from 2007. This is available as both a hardcover and as a trade paperback. Written and drawn by Jeff Smith (BONE), this was a fresh take on the classic storyline. Captain Marvel and Mary Marvel unite to stop the powerful Dr. Sivana and his evil allies from taking over the world. This book is a much better homage to the 1940s work of Otto Binder and C.C. Beck than the 1970s series collected in this Showcase.

Essential Doctor Strange Vol. 1

Essential Doctor Strange Vol. 1

First Published: January 2002

Contents: Doctor Strange stories from Strange Tales #110 (July 1963) to #111 (August 1963) and #114 (November 1963) to #168 (May 1968)

Key Creator Credits: Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, Roy Thomas, Denny O’Neil, Bill Everett, Marie Severin, Dan Adkins, Herb Trimpe, and Jim Lawrence

Key First Appearances: Dr. Stephen Strange, Ancient One, Wong, Nightmare, Baron Mordo, Victoria Bentley, Clea, Dormammu, G’uranthic Guardian, Mindless Ones, Eternity, Kaluu, Umar, Living Tribunal, Yandroth

Story Continues In: Essential Doctor Strange Vol. 2

Overview: Doctor Stephen Strange was a brilliant surgeon, whose skills in the operating room were only surpassed by his greed and ego. After a horrendous car accident, Strange finds that the nerve damage he suffered no longer give him the motor skills to perform surgeries. Strange burns through his fortune, traveling the world looking for a cure. One name keeps coming up in his search – that of the Ancient One. Tracking him down, the Ancient One is unable to heal Strange’s body, but does offer to train him in the ways of the mystic arts. Strange stops the Ancient One’s assistant, Baron Mordo, from stealing the power from his master, and he realizes that maybe he has a new calling in life. So begins the adventures of Doctor Strange, master of the mystic arts.

Stan Lee and Steve Ditko place the building blocks that will dominate Marvel’s mystical world. Besides Baron Mordo, Doctor Strange battles a cadre of mystical beings intent on defeating Strange so that they could take over the earth, such as Nightmare and Dormammu. With his faithful servant Wong, and the romantic interests of Victoria Bentley, a normal human with passing skills in magic, and Clea, a sorceress from another dimension, Doctor Strange is prepared to defend Earth from any threat, magical or otherwise.

What makes this Essential?: Doctor Strange has been one of the mainstays of Marvel Comics from the earliest days. Lee and Ditko were more than creators; they were architects, building the framework that would become the Marvel Universe. Any work by Ditko in this era is worthy of being collected as an Essential. Like many stories from this era, the plot points may not stand up, but they are still worth a read.

Footnotes: Doctor Strange  was just one of the tenants in Strange Tales during the 1960s. Initially, Doctor Strange shared the book with the Human Torch from the Fantastic Four. In 1965, the Human Torch feature was replaced by Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

If you like this volume, try: Marvel Visionaries: Steve Ditko. Nearly any comic book fan could tell you that Steve Ditko was the co-creator of Spider-Man and Doctor Strange. A comic aficionado could tell you that Ditko left Marvel Comics in 1966, and split time between Charlton and DC Comics, with memorable creations like The Question, the Creeper, and Shade the Changing Man. It would take a die-hard Ditko fan, or a reading of this Visionaries volume, to know that Ditko returned to Marvel in the 1980s, with runs on The Incredible Hulk and ROM, and co-creating modern characters like Speedball and Squirrel Girl. For years, Ditko has declined interview requests, preferring to let his work speak for itself. Consider this a brilliant interview reviewing the many highlights of Ditko’s many years at Marvel Comics.