"#17" (I can't find any other title) is the latest from the amazingly prolific pen of Steve Ditko, who at age 85 continues to write, draw and semi-self-publish (with publisher Robin Snyder) his own on-going comic book series.
This ish opens with a written editorial from the man himself. He tells of the time he met a couple of fans in the DC Comics office. The (apparently very considerate) fans apologized to Ditko for intruding on him, because they had heard that he doesn't like to talk to fans. Apparently this irritated Mr. Ditko, because the rumor he doesn't like talking to fans was something these folks had uncritically picked up from the fan press, hence "...they turned their minds, their integrity, over to some outsider, a non-factual, non-objective source." The fans were also "pre-programmed like parrots." Reading this editorial, I have to agree with Ditko -- how could these fans have ever have gotten the idea that he was not open and generous with his admirers?
Stand out stories: Another adventure of Ditko's female crimefighter "Miss Eerie" in a story set in the 1930's. A sad Grandma believes she's being robbed by her grandchildren Fred and Sally. Miss Eerie goes into action, employing her power, which appears to be contorting her face into a weird Mr. Hyde snarl while jamming a big gun in the face of whoever she's interrogating. No spoilers here... you'll have to read the book to learn if Fred or Sally were responsible.
One of the quirkier stories stars "The Distorter." We begin with three industrialist types engaged in a seemingly innocent conversation. "Hash out our differences." "Come to a consensus." "We all agreed on one industry." "Agreed so far." "A good choice!" But after a night's sleep, fissures erupt between the three over who should run the non-specific enterprise. The Distorter (I think) shows up and punches all three to bring them to their senses, but it doesn't work. The end!
I will say there seems to be a running theme against the idea that "might makes right", but stories frequently end with a guy (or distorted-face lady) socking everybody. But so what? As I've said every time I've reviewed Mr. Ditko's latest, these feverish story explosions are fascinating, quirky, unexpected and totally individual. Chances are you won't find these are your local comic shop, but you can mail-order them from the website below. And good news! #18 is right around the corner!