Caleb Orecchio here with thoughts on “Dream World!” by Steve Ditko, and other news!


Okay so Frank was selling this comic, Chamber of Chills no. 19 on Instagram (a 1975 Marvel reprint comic mostly re-presenting comics from Tales to Astonish), and I had to steal it for the time being until it was sold. It contains the Ditko strip, “Dream World” which is really striking. In glorious 9-panel grid, Ditko (and Lee) very tactfully build upon layers of dreams that wake the protagonist only to find he is still dreaming. Think Inception. 

Ditko uses the 9-panel grid expertly and waltzes us through this man’s dream layers. 1-2-3, 1-2-3-, 1-2-3. Something I find interesting is that the action takes place in the middle tiers whereas the top and bottom tiers are close-ups which show the protagonist’s expressions and emotions (or realizations and reactions). He expertly zooms in and out for emphasis in a way that isn’t tedious, but useful (and natural somehow).

Look! you can “read” the strip across the spread without having to follow the rigid comics zigzag reading format and it still makes sense visually. You could also scan the spreads randomly and easily decipher the idea of the pictures. It’s so simple. Really this is a comic where “nothing happens,” which is its strength. It actually reminds me of David Hockney’s Gregory Swimming, Los Angeles, March 31st 1982 (below). Hockney is thinking about and showing how we see and look. An argument could be made that Ditko is showing how we think, and in such a simple way that it resembles how we look or see.


if you don’t know, now you know


Thee Santoro Correspondence Course for Comic Book Makers Summer Session starts NOW! Floating start date! Apply anytime between now and July 12th 2018 to join the summer course. Email santoroschoolATgmail for more details. Ask about the Fall Course if now is too busy for you! The course is 8 weeks – 500 bux for 8 weeks plus access to Frank’s coaching for as long as you need. Payment plans are available. Put your summer to good use!


Suzy and Cecil – 7-2-18 – by Caleb Orecchio

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