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Hello, Mr. A. – Mr. A.: Right to Kill!

April 22, 2010

Sometimes you buy a book just for its import to comics geneology.  Such was the case this past weekend when I picked up this little number:

I was aware of this creation of Steve Ditko mainly from the great Jonathan Ross documentary, In Search of Steve Ditko.  The comics geneology comes into play with Alan Moore’s use of Mr. A.’s stark morality in the creation of Rorschach from Watchmen, when he sort of glommed that stark ethos onto Charlton’s The Question.  Rather than plagiarize what smarter men than I have to say about Mr. A., why not let you listen to them?  Here’s where the Ross ducumentary starts talking about Mr. A.  – the relevant discussion comes about halfway through the video:

And the rest comes here, including a funny little story from Alan Moore about Ditko’s take on Rorschach:

As for my take on Mr. A., I kind of agree with Gaiman – as “stories” they don’t work very well since there isn’t much of an arc to them.  They simply act as vehicles for the presentation of Ditko’s Objectivist views.  The art itself is, like all of Ditko’s work, quite attractive, and I liked how Mr. A.’s unmasked alter-ego, journalist Rex Graine, looked a lot like what I’d imagine a Ditko-rendered grown up version of Peter Parker to be.  But you feel like you’re listening to a sandwich board carrying loony the entire time you’re reading Mr. A.’s ramblings.  I guess my indifference makes me a weak-kneed moral relativist, destined to succumb to the darkness of overwhelming evil.  So be it.  When I’m bored, I’m bored.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 22, 2010 10:27 pm

    I have the same book–ah, poor Ditko. You have to admire the implacability of his stance, but he gave up being an artistic force. Most of that book is screed and propaganda, not even comics, never mind story-telling.

    • April 23, 2010 11:15 am

      I think Gaiman’s take – that it’s “outsider art” – is harshest, but I’m in agreement. And it’s one thing to be an outsider artist, but to go from the heights of his Marvel creations to an outsider? That’s an unusual career path.

  2. July 2, 2010 3:07 am

    Well, it’s words and pictures put together in sequence; so it’s comics… no one ever said propaganda can’t be comics. But yeah, it isn’t storytelling.

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