Comic Legends: The Ditko DC Comic That Got an Accidental Extra Issue

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

Click here for the first part of this week's All-Steve Ditko legends. Click here for Part 2 of this week's All-Steve Ditko legends.

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A DC Comics series drawn by Ditko was accidentally given an extra issue after it was canceled.



In a slight break from tradition, all three of the legends this week are true. I think I did two false legends in one edition recently, so let's say that that balances this out.

In any event, as I discussed in an earlier article, Steve Ditko had pretty much three distinct periods where he worked at DC Comics. His initial time at the company in 1968, which ended disastrously, albeit with him having created a couple of awesome characters (Creeper and Hawk and Dove), then a short stint in the mid-1970s and then a steadier stint in the late 1970s into the very early 1980s.

During that middle stint, in 1975, young Paul Levitz (an assistant editor despite not even into his 20s) came up with a sword and sorcery title called Stalker (DC was looking to try to match Marvel's success with Conan the Barbarian by launching some sword and sorcery comics of their own) created Stalker with Steve Ditko.

The book was about a young man who sold his soul to become a great warrior...

But now he was going to do whatever it took to get his soul back before he is fully transformed into a demon...

I like the series, but I guess it didn't catch on, so it was canceled after just three issues...

However, it managed to live on to a hilarious mistake. Paul Levitz explained it on his very enlightening blog:

Carmine, however, wasn’t impressed by the material as it crossed his desk in cover design sessions, and cancelled the title as of the third issue. When Carmine’s secretary, Shelley Abramson, typed up the December 1975 production schedule though, she accidentally included STALKER #4. In those dinosaur days, correcting it would have meant retyping the entire page, and Carmine decided to simply let us have a fourth issue. Random enough for you?

And so we got Stalker #4...

Pretty darn funny.

Thanks a lot for the info, Paul!

Check out my latest TV Legends Revealed - Was Dawn originally going to die in Buffy's Season 5 finale instead of Buffy?

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!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is cronb01@aol.com. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well!

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Here's my book of Comic Book Legends (130 legends. -- half of them are re-worked classic legends I've featured on the blog and half of them are legends never published on the blog!).

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See you all next week!

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