The Great DITKO Doctor Strange Covers That Never Were

If only …

Steve Ditko was born Nov, 2, 1927 — making him 89. Wow.

Now here’s the thing: Normally we do 13 COVERS to celebrate birthdays around here. And usually we pick a theme. Now, this year, it seems like the obvious theme is Doctor Strange, what with the movie coming out this week. Of course, for Ditkophiles, there’s no shortage of frustration there given how the creator lost control of one of his greatest characters. But that’s not what I’m here to argue, one way or the other. I’m simply looking to celebrate the work.

Problem is, Doctor Strange was barely on any of the Strange Tales covers during Ditko’s run. For example, check out Issue #110, the good doctor’s debut:

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Jack Kirby pencils, Dick Ayers inks.

But, hey, at least it’s got Paste-Pot Pete!

Other issues featured cameos, like so:

That's Kirby and Chic Stone, with Ditko squeezed in at the bottom...

That’s Kirby and Chic Stone, with Ditko squeezed in at the bottom…

There is one great Ditko cover I can think of, but only because it used a repurposed interior image. This beauty is penciled by Gene Colan and inked by Tom Palmer, with Ditko’s brilliant Eternity illustration front and center (and a nifty photo of New York City).

colan-palmer-ditko

Otherwise, there’s not much. So I went poking around and found a great gallery on the website of an artist by the name of Howard Hallis. Some years ago, he took it upon himself to re-do the covers of Ditko’s run. Here’s his version of Issue #110, for example:

cover110

And his version of #118:

cover118

Now, in a perfect world. I’d highlight 13 of these here, but I haven’t been able to get in touch with Hallis, so I figured the proper thing would be to direct you to his website here. He’s put together a set of custom covers that comprises the entire Ditko run.

So check it out.

Oh, and if you want more Ditko — and why wouldn’t you? — check out a tribute by Arlen Schumer by clicking here, and read about my own meeting with the artist (true story!) by clicking here.

cover

Author: Dan Greenfield

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