Comic Legends: Did Ditko Almost Reboot Captain Atom at DC Comics?

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and eighty-eighth installment where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

Here's part 1 of this week's all Steve Ditko-related legends! Here is Part 2 of this week's all Steve Ditko-related legends! Here is Part 3 of this week's all Steve Ditko-related legends! Now it is a BONUS edition!

NOTE: The CSBG Twitter page hit 10,050 followers, so I did a bonus edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed earlier this week. We'll keep the bit going, though. Every 1,000 followers of the CSBG Twitter page, I'll do a bonus Comic Book Legends Revealed that week.


Steve Ditko nearly relaunched Captain Atom for DC Comics after DC bought Charlton's characters



Steve Ditko was already working for Marvel Comics in the late 1950s when he also created Captain Atom for Charlton Comics (Ditko worked for both companies simultaneously until Amazing Spider-Man went monthly in 1963. He couldn't do a monthly full comic book series PLUS the monthly Doctor Strange half-issue feature PLUS his Charlton work) in Space Adventures #33 with Joe Gill in 1959...

In 1965, nearly every comic book company around was having a superhero boom and Charlton was no different. They brought Ditko back to relaunch Captain Atom back. He did this while still doing Amazing Spider-Man and the Doctor Strange feature (I guess he managed to find the time in his spare time).

Then, when he left Marvel Comics all together in 1966, he continued to do Captain Atom and a few other superheroes as Charlton launched an "Action Heroes" line of comics (Dick Giordano was Charlton's Editor-in-Chief at the time).

Anyhow, the Action Heroes line closed down after a year or so and then Ditko left Charlton to go to DC Comics. He actually brought Dick Giordano with him to DC, but then he and Giordano clashed with each other at DC and Ditko left DC to go back to Charlton.

Okay, so years later, Charlton slowly went out of business. Before they were totally out of business, they sold their Action Heroes to DC Comics, which seemed to be a sort of personal favor for Dick Giordano, who had risen to become DC's Executive Editor.

Giordano wasn't sure, exactly, how he was going to integrate the new Charlton characters into the DC Universe. It took him over a year before he actually brought them all into the DCU (he used Crisis on Infinite Earths as the way to get them in there).

While he was debating on how to bring them over, Giordano actually thought to have Ditko launch Captain Atom! The same Wizard article I've been citing for most of these legends explains how it all went down...

DC purchased the publishing rights to the majority of the 60s Charlton hero characters in the 1980s, and Giordano wanted Ditko and [Frank] McLaughlin to work on a new Captain Atom comic.

Giordano set up a meeting to discuss the project, a cordial gathering that went south after Ditko stated he didn’t like the planned storyline. His reasoning? “Super heroes should not take the place of the United States military.”

Giordano then tried to team Ditko and McLaughlin on Firestorm. Again, the artist bowed out, at which point Giordano said to Ditko, “I guess we really don’t have anything to discuss.”

“I guess we don’t.”

Ditko walked out, ending the meeting.

Ouch. Like I said, Ditko did not seem to be a big fan of Giordano after their time together at DC in the late 1960s, so I guess he still had some ill feelings in the 1980s, as well.

Check out my latest TV Legends Revealed - How far did the Justice League creators go to hide their big plot twist involving Hawkgirl?

OK, that's it for this week!

Thanks to the Grand Comics Database for this week's covers! And thanks to Brandon Hanvey for the Comic Book Legends Revealed logo, which I don't even actually use on the CBR editions of this column, but I do use them when I collect them all on legendsrevealed.com!

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