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.PART TWO OF THREE
Meet Mr. A.!


Steve Ditko (self-portrait seen below) began his career drawing monsters for Charlton, then went to Marvel to co-create Spider-Man and Dr. Strange. After four legendary years, he left Marvel and returned again to .Charlton.

There, inspired by the writings of Russian-born author/ philosopher Ayn Rand, Ditko created the heroic personification of Rand's philosophy of Objectivism -- Mr. A.

The character made his debut in witzend #3 (1967, cover shown right), in a five-page morality tale written and drawn by Ditko. The story was not titled, but it has since come to be known as "Angel." Let's kick off part two of this Secret Origins series with the first-ever appearance of Steve Ditko's Mr. A.!


Two pages from "ANGEL" by Steve Ditko (From witzend #3, 1967)
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MR. A. in "MONEY" by Steve Ditko (From witzend #4, 1968)
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Mr. A.'s second adventure appeared in witzend #4 (1968, cover by Wally Wood shown right), in another story by Steve Ditko. This story wasn't titled either, but it has since come to be known as "Money."

This story is twice the length of "Angel" -- it's ten pages long. And where the first Mr. A. story was a straight pen and ink job, in this tale, Ditko makes extensive use of an antiquated technique called "Zip-A-Tones."

In the dark, pre-computer days, black and white art was sometimes shaded by overlaying transparent sheets of plastic printed with different patterns and gray tones. These tones are seen below on Mr. A.'s suit and background. So, although Mr. A.'s first adventure was as black and white as his ideology, his second appearance, ironically, included shades of gray!

In this sequence from "Money," we see reporter Rex Graine opening a secret closet to reveal the uniform of the world's only Objectivist superhero, Mr. A. He dons a metallic mask whose indistinct features bear a trace of contempt for evildoers, then clicks the mask shut over his head. Special gloves and an all-white suit complete the uniform, and Mr. A. is off to give an evil man "a night he will never forget."
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.Seen left is Ditko's back cover of Mr. A. #1, featuring a montage of reporter Rex Graine opening the secret closet that contains the metallic mask, gloves and uniform of Mr. A., and transforming into his Super-Objectivist identity.

The rest of the back cover is made up of symbolic scenes showing evil forces attacking an innocent woman wearing a yellow dress covered with large black dots. Mr. A. .shields the woman from the corrupting forces of evil as they stand on a gigantic version of Mr. A.'s half-white, half-black calling card.

Ditko often drew Mr. A.'s card as a huge, symbolic platform to pose his characters on as they made their fateful choice.
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Sadly, Mr. A.'s own title lasted only two issues. Mr. A. #2 (cover seen left), show Mr. A. confronting Count Rogue, with the Objectivist Superhero's famous calling card seen both above and below the encircled artwork. This issue contained two 16 page Mr. A. stories, written, penciled, inked and even lettered by Steve Ditko -- "Count Rogue" and "Good, Evil, Compromise, Corruption."

Mr. A.'s most recent appearance came in the akwardly titled "All New Steve Ditko's 176 Page Package: Heroes" (2000, cover by Ditko pictured right). This "package" contained a number of Ditko characters, including Kill-Joy, as well as a Mr. A. story titled "Mr. A. Faces The Knifer."

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THE SECRET ORIGINS of
STEVE DITKO'S MR. A. -- PART THREE