Where to Read Steve Ditko's "Mr. A"?
February 26, 2011 10:07 AM   Subscribe

Without necessarily agreeing with the beliefs the character espouses, Steve Ditko's Mr. A seems like a very interesting read. Are there ways by which I could read the stories, either online or in print?
posted by WCityMike to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
There are collections on Amazon, of course, but if you have any good local comics shops you might ask there. It seems like Mr. A gets reprinted every 10 years or so, and they might be able to point you in the right direction.

The art in the collections I've read is gorgeous (I have a weakness for black&white comix) if you can get past the ranty parts.
posted by lekvar at 11:35 AM on February 26, 2011

Levkar, especially based on the page count, that appears to only be one issue (cf. the 35 pages). I'd be looking for a collection.

I also admit, although I'm entirely not averse to buying anything, in an ideal world I'd find something I could request via intralibrary loan ...
posted by WCityMike at 11:52 AM on February 26, 2011

There was never a ton of Mr. A in the first place (I think maybe 140 pages total spread over a dozen or so individual stories. I do not believe there has ever been anything like an omnibus collection. That 30-ish pager linked before is I believe the only Mr. A-only collection, and it has several stories in it.

Mr. A has turned up in various Ditko collections (Fantagraphics published one which is I believe out of print, fairly cheap used in not great condition, pretty expensive in great condition), Ditko himself is still self-publishing new work and the works he owns the copyrights to with his long time publishing partner Robin Snyder, including a reprint of the collection, again, that Levkar linked to above, at less than half the price. I think all the collected stuff is under Ditko's name so a library search should be pretty straightforward, though Ditko's self-owned stuff is far enough out of the mainstream that it might be kind of a long shot for the public library, though maybe not in a big enough city.

Here's Ditko's for sale page. That Mr. A collection is the only Mr. A only book, there are Mr. A stories in a lot of his other collections. There are details on the collections' contents here. I think the Wiki page you linked pretty much covers the publication history anyway, but a careful review of those contents might reveal some more recent works or reprints.

I would personally buy anything of Ditkos (and I've bought some, and enjoyed it as B&W comic art, though he is definitely marching to his own drummer) from him direct or from an independent comic store (but you know, that's a personal ideology). His direct stuff is cheap though so check that out first. If you haven't read Dial B for Blog's 3 part series on Mr. A. it's worth a read and some decent page examples online there too.
posted by nanojath at 12:21 PM on February 26, 2011

I'll go ahead and leave this here because I'm thinking I might follow this up myself later...

On the currently in print list with Mr. A stories included:

- Mr. A (Second Edition - reprint of 1973 collection - contents here)
- ...Ditko Continued... (4-page MR. A. story "white... grey... black")
- Oh No! Not Again, Ditko (4-page conclusion of MR. A. story "white... grey... black")

No longer in print, and fairly expensive, on cursory search, used -
Steve Ditko's 176 Page Package (30-page MR. A. story "mr. a. faces the knifer")

One other thing, you might want to check out Ditko's The Mocker. Although most of it is in a grueling 16 panel-per-page format where the compression of art and dialog sometimes challenges readability, it's a great sample of Ditko illustration and storytelling with the benefit of containing the whole character's story arc in a single, relatively inexpensive volume.
posted by nanojath at 1:57 PM on February 26, 2011

I warn you, Mr. A is a gateway drug. When you're ready for the hard stuff, the 200 proof Steve Ditko is right here:

posted by Mr. Justice at 3:31 PM on February 26, 2011

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