Thursday, June 18, 2009

Steve Ditko Cover of the Week: Incredible Hulk Annual #9

Steve Ditko got a lot of very random assignments during Jim Shooter's during as Editor-in-Chief. Many of these assignments were for random covers for series to which Ditko had little or no real connection. These assignments included a handful of annuals, and these can be quite interesting as we get to enjoy 30+ pages of Ditko storytelling. Ditko has some roots with the Hulk, so seeing his artwork on the cover to Annual #9 isn't really all that jarring. It's been Marvelized a bit by the ink job. I've seen it credited to Al Milgrom and I can't really argue with that. It's a pretty typical overly busy Ditko cover from the 80s. Long gone is the spare design he used at Charlton in the 70s, or even the thoughtful concept used for Shade and Captain Universe. This is a pure brawl - but I do actually like the figures. There's a real sense of power - it's just a tad claustrophobic. Not the best - but I like Ditko drawing the Hulk.

5 comments:

Stephen said...

I think the claustrophobic feel works and might be part of Ditko's idea for the cover. If it were a splash page in the comic itself instead of a cover, I could easily see the next panels being the angry guy in the suit in the foreground and more and more robots piling on top of the Hulk (to a point where you can barely see him) in an attempt to weigh him down with their numbers.

Of course the panel after that would be Hulk throwing them all off...

Scott M said...

You could very well be right - I always just go with my guy reaction, and I felt it was all a bit cluttered and I had to really think about what was going on. Not really a great sign for a a cover.

I also think that "This Marvel Comic" banner pushes down the logo and results in a compression of the atwork. Marvel was not known for its quiet covers during this era.

Thanks for the comment

craig/benday-dot said...

While my favourite Hulk is the Trimpe version, I do like Ditko's crude and gruesome visage on the jade giant. For all my love of Marie Severin in the early Hulk incarnations she makes him a little too handsome. Kirby and Ditko captured well Hulks obvious monster roots, even if took Trimpe to come along and actually evoke that sympathy necessary for comic's hero to truly succeed.

Thelonious_Nick said...

Yeah, I was going to mention the multiple logos and advertising banners contributing to the claustrophobia. Man, Marvel in the early 1980s really had little respect for the covers of their books. I think the worst offender was X-Men #137, such a dramatic cover but with that stupid free bike offer marring the top.

Anonymous said...

I like the claustrophobic feel as well since the robots are closing in on the Hulk. Ditko may have designed the cover, or he may have followed a cover rough by someone at Marvel (Marie Severin, Romita, Dave Cockrum)as was usually the case. I also agree that the other elements on the cover did not give the art room to "breathe". Still, the cover is much better than many Marvel covers that were much busier and sloppier in the 1970s and early 1980s.