Friday, May 22, 2015


Image if you will, a Jack (New Gods) Kirby comic book. Then image that comic revived by -- Steve (Mr. A) Ditko. What a treat! That's what we experienced with Machine Man. Originally, Jack Kirby brought us Machine Man from the pages of his 2001 A Space Odyssey #8, first as X-51 which evolved into Mister Machine. Marv (Teen Titans) Wolfman & Ditko took over Jack Kirby's Machine Man series with issue #10.
Jack Kitby's last issue of Machine Man, inked by Bob Layton!

X-51 was originally designed to be a killer as part of a US Army project to build robot soldiers. He had solar powered batteries built into his exoskeleton. All of the other robots in the series went insane after gaining sentience, while X-51, who has been called "the Robot with a soul", survived. He was raised as the human son of his creator, Dr. Abel Stack, who later died in an attempt to protect his "son" from a bomb intended for him.

First we catch up with Machine Man appearing in the Incredible Hulk comic book, with a great surprise!

Incredible Hulk #234  Battleground: Berkeley!
"Battleground: Berkeley"
Hulk is crashing with friends at Berkeley when the Corporation sends a fake Machine Man to make off with one of his chums.
Written by Roger Stern with Sal Buscema & Jack Abel art and Al Milgrom cover.

There is a question whether Ditko worked on this cover!

Incredible Hulk #235  The Monster and the Machine!
"The Monster and the Machine"
Written by Roger Stern with art by Sal Buscema & Mike Esposito with an Al Milgrom & surprise - Steve Ditko cover!

Incredible Hulk #236  Man Monster vs. Machine Man! Kill or Be Killed!
"Kill or Be Killed"
Hulk & Machine Man versus Curtis Jackson.
Written by Roger Stern with art by Sal Buscema & Mike Esposito with an Al Milgrom cover.

Incredible Hulk #237  When a City Dies!
"When a City Dies"
Hulk and Machine Man rescue Starr from Jackson.
Written by Roger Stern with Sal Buscema & Jack Abel art.
Machine Man next app. in Machine Man #11, Hulk next app. in Hulk #13-16 and Incredible Hulk Annual #8.

Machine Man #10   All New! All Different! Birth of a Super-Hero!
Written by Marv (Tomb of Dracula) Wolfman with Steve Ditko art. 
Story continued from The Incredible Hulk #237.
Letters section includes an announcement of Machine Man's revival and Steve Ditko's return to Marvel.

Machine Man #11  Battle with the Binary Bug!
"Byte of the Binary Bug"
Written by Marv Wolfman with Steve Ditko art.  

Machine Man #12 
"Where Walk the Gods"
Written by Marv Wolfman with Steve Ditko art.

Machine Man #13  Xanadu! Kublai Khan Commands "Bring me the Body of Aaron Stack!""
Written by Marv Wolfman with Steve Ditko art.  

Letters section includes letter from a younger Kurt (Avengers, Astro City) Busiek!

Machine Man #14  Strong! Yes...But in a Way You Never Expected--A Way That Could Destroy Machine Man!
"The Man Who Could Walk Through Walls"
Written by Marv Wolfman with Steve Ditko art.
Cover by John Byrne & Steve Ditko (they work so well together)

Machine Man #15  The Thing and The Torch are Whipped! Now There's Only M.M.!
"Kill Me or Cure Me"
Machine Man. The Thing & The Human Torch versus Ion (Voletta Todd.)
Tom DeFalco takes over the writing chores with Steve Ditko art.
Features The Thing & Human Torch, cameos of Mr. Fantastic & Invisible Girl.

Machine Man #16  Introducing Baron Brimstone and His Sinister Squad and Have You Meet "Gears" Garvin" Yet?
"Baron Brimstone and His Sinister Squad"
Written by Tom DeFalco with Steve Ditko art.
"Gears" Garvin introduced in issue #15.

Machine Man #17  Madam Menace...She'll Tear You Apart!
"Arms and the Robot"
Written by Tom DeFalco with Steve Ditko art.
Machine Man versus Madam Menace (Sunset Bain)
Cover by Rich (Galaxia) Buckler & Al (the other half of Jim Starlin Gemini art) Milgrom (great imitation of Ditko)

Machine Man #18  Enter Sasquatch, North Star and Aurora...Alpha Flight!
"Alone Against Alpha Flight"  
Machine Man & Alpha Flight versus Madam Menace. 
Alpha Flight appears between X-Men #140 and Alpha Flight #1.
Features a Rich Buckler & Dave Simons cover.
Iron Man vs. The Bank Robbers Hostess ad. 

Machine Man #19  Complete Your Collection Special!
Features a great Frank Miller cover!
"Jolted by Jack O'Lantern"
First appearance of Jack O'Lantern (Jason Macendale, Hobgoblin II)
Last issue, unfortunately.
Letters section includes letter of comment from Timely-Atlas historian Michael J.Vassallo.
Machine Man's next appearance is in Marvel Team-Up #99.

Marvel Team-Up #99  Baron Brimstone--plus The Sandman--Equal the Worst Possible King of Trouble!
Featured another terrific Frank (Ronin) Miller (positive-negative) cover, still written by Tom DeFalco, but artist Jerry Bingham took over the pencils inked by Mike Esposito. 

"And Machine Man Makes 3"
Mr. Fantastic Hostess ad.
Reprinted in The Complete Frank Miller Spider-Man, a terrific hardcover I must say! The cover reprint in this volume is by Frank Miller & Walt (Star Slammers) Simonson!


There was also a fantastic Machine Man four issue mini-series from Tom DeFalco, Herb (Phantom Eagle) Trimpe & Barry (Conan) Windsor-Smith. Not only was it reprinted in two issues, as Machine Man 2020, it was also collected into a nice trade paperback. 

I trust you enjoyed this trip down memory lane as much as I have. There are few artists in the caliber of Steve Ditko, that's why I enjoy highlighting his awesome work. 

Another full page Ditko masterpiece!

Live Large My Friends!

Thank You!

1 comment:

  1. Machine Man is one of those Klassik Kirby Karakters that no one else seems able to do right, like the Eternals and New Gods and the Demon, etc. his work is so individualistic and weird, generic super hero writers and artists can't seem to handle it. Very much the same with many Ditko creations. Ditko's art on this is good enough, but jarring when you're accustomed to Kirby.