Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Wanted TPB: Mr. A

Writer: Steve Ditko
Artist: Steve Ditko
Publisher: Various (1967-2009)
Includes: Listed Below Under - Publication History

Dork Note: I have never read any of these, but I am interested in seeing Ditko's conviction in Objectivism (the philosophy developed by Ayn Rand) expressed in comic form.

Clipped from Wikipedia:
Typical stories will have one character convince him or herself that doing just a few illegal acts to get ahead in life will not make him or her a bad person. This character's crimes escalate when they must either take action to cover their previous misdeeds or are now too closely tied to more dangerous criminals to simply walk away. The stories invariably end with Mr. A confronting the criminals and telling them that they are all guilty, including the character who had wished to remain good. A staple for most stories involves this character trying to justify his or her immoral actions to both others and him or herself, blaming things such as environment and society rather than taking responsibility for their own decisions and behaviors.

In some of the stories characters speak about the reasoning behind their actions in every panel, thus showing that the adventure story is not meant to be just entertainment, but is to show a deeper, philosophical dialogue.

Not all of Mr. A's stories are crime adventures. Some are allegorical representations of the guilty trying to explain why they compromised their values. Mr. A, on a white platform, denounces their explanations. These stories typically end with the guilty falling into an abyss off of their black platform. This representation often occurs at the end of the adventure stories as well. Mr. A says that he feels only for the innocent and victimized. People who commit "just one crime", such as accepting dirty money, are turned over to authorities to stand trial for what they have done. Mr. A refuses to overlook their transgressions, even if they profess they will be good from then on. Killers and would-be-killers generally find themselves in situations where they need Mr. A's assistance to save them, but since they had no respect for innocent lives then he offers no aid for their guilty ones. It is only when an innocent life is directly threatened that Mr. A will kill, and when he does so it is without remorse.
Publication History:
  • "Mr. A." (5 pages) (witzend #3, 1967)
  • "Mr. A." (10 pages) (witzend #4, 1968)
  • Eon #3 zine by Gustaveson (1968/9) back cover Mr. A by Steve Ditko
  • "Middle of the Road?" (5 pages) (Graphic Illusions #1, 1971) (Considered Eon #4)
  • "When Is A Man To Be Judged Evil?" (6 pages) (THE COLLECTOR #26, Sum/72)
  • wrap-around cover to THE COLLECTOR #26, Sum/72
  • "What Happens To A Man When He Refuses To Uphold The Good" (8 pages) (COMIC CRUSADER #6, Sum/69 and #7, Fal/69)
  • "Mr. A. : Chapterplay" (8 pages) (COMIC CRUSADER #13, 1972)
  • "Right to Kill" (9 pages)
  • "Count Rogue" (16 pages)
  • "Brotherhood Of The Collective" (16 pages)
  • "Death vs. Love-Song" (10 pages) (COMIC CRUSADER STORYBOOK, 1978)
  • "Mr. A. Faces The Knifer" (30 pages). (Steve Ditko's 176-Page, Heroes Package, Robin Snyder & Steve Ditko, 2000)
  • "Mr. A." (8 pages) (DITKO CONTINUED, Robin Snyder & Steve Ditko, 2009 and OH, NO! NOT AGAIN, DITKO!, Robin Snyder & Steve Ditko, 2009)

A new edition of the 1973 Mr. A. #1 comic was published by Snyder and Ditko in late 2009 (dated January 2010). This edition has all the story contents of the original, though with a different story order, the covers and centerfold printed in black and white and the splash page to "Right to Kill!" restored to Ditko's original intent.
Special BBC - Jonathan Ross - In Search of Steve Ditko: Part 1 of 7
Dork Note: I highly recommend watching the whole thing.

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