This story features the art of Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko. Herein I believe is contained his only drawing of Spider-Man after 1966, when he left AMAZING SPIDER-MAN after co-creating, as artist, the first three years of its run, and its origin.
Sultry summer day...Virginia beach...lively, swimsuit clad crowd...but one girl notes the sudden dark and chill...the sky fills with “a black wing mass, until they seem to swallow the very light of the sun,” scattering the panicked people in double-page tableau.
“The Beginning of the End of the World”
Air craft controllers try to get a positive i.d. The Air Force sends a fighter squadron! The Wraiths, disguised now as saurian Death Wings, things of the Black Nebula that live on swallowed suns. To the tip of the thin atmosphere the “screaming column of evil” twists, whirling, turning, coalescing as a vortex.
All life on Earth’s day side draws to a halt. All sighted eyes stare skyward at the strange sinister shape, observed hanging now, a disk of heat-stealing darkness. The jet black supernatural star disk shoots waves into the void, to traverse space and stab a black hole in the heart of the sun!
“Each individual feels a shadow fall across his or her soul. At the edge of space the wraith sorceresses scream their triumph to the distant stars!”
“But triumph quickly turns to terror, for suddenly into the very midst of the shrieking saurians soars...ROM, THE SILVER SPACEKNIGHT!”
Mantlo’s captions and Ditko’s art set a fearsome tableau. Truly, the rhythm enrapts the reader, in this under-rated and un-reprinted rhapsody. We will continue ROM 61 ...from the memory of ROM.
With the R.E.M. of ROM thread, I'll present the story as though from the found cyborg memories of the Greatest of Spaceknights. I'll also feature a good deal of Ditko's best work during my own childhood, two decades after his groundbreaking runs on SPIDER-MAN and DOCTOR STRANGE, personal favorites of mine, as well as much else for many other publishers.
It's been a special summer for my love of comic books past and life then, and comics we make and love now, and life now. For lovers of prose, I am hard at work on other contributions, those this and the Nova thread have kept me writing at a rate of 1000-4000 words daily, along with notes and plans of things to come---six things to come!---over the next two weeks.
Have a Happy Summer, your friend C lue