Friday, February 6, 2015

Destructor!


One of the often overlooked comic book masterpieces of the mid 70's is The Destructor by the all-star team of Archie Goodwin, Steve Ditko, and Wally Wood. All three heavyweights combined their awesome comics might to bring to life a tough-as-nails revision of the superhero, a variation of Spider-Man and The Creeper, but with a serious mad  on for organized crime. A small time criminal becomes imbued with superpowers and sets out to revenge himself on the mobsters who killed his scientist father.

The splash page above is a stunner and one of the reasons many of us who bought it back thought that Atlas-Seaboard might actually be around for the long haul. We were woefully wrong, but we did get two gigantic issues by three of comics all-time great talents. Read the exciting debut origin issue here.



The Destructor returns in the second issue with Goodwin, Ditko, and Wood still doing top-of-the-line work as our hero battles a hired killer called Deathgrip. Read the complete story here.



The second page of that awesome story featured a stunning image of the Destructor in full Diktoesque form with Woodian finishes punching out some assorted thugs. Prime stuff!


That pose evokes Spidey for sure, but admittedly there is a somewhat generic look to The Destructor. But not so much as to make completely forgettable.

At least not to me.

Below are some products offered for sale by the folks at the Hogan's Alley web store.



I especially like the tie, as the silver works well against the pastel blue of the Destructor's costume. But oddly at the website no mention is made of the Destructor's name or his origin. And even more oddly for a site catering to comics fans no mention is made of either Ditko or Wood, two selling points I'd have imagined. I was not aware these characters were in public domain, I suspect they in fact are not, but unless someone is there to complain it doesn't really come to much.

The Destructor lasted another two issues (making it one of Atlas-Seaboard's longest running titles) but the Ditko-Wood connection was broken.

With the third issue Wally Wood left as inker. The inks were still quite successful and the Destructor's costume was given some more potent colors. Read that story here.


With the fourth issue Archie Goodwin left, replaced by Gerry Conway.


Only Ditko remained, but still it was impressive is not quite as epic as what came before.

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6 comments:

  1. I couldn't agree more the Destructor was indeed a really good comic , sadly other Atlas strips were, lets say not quite up to scratch (some were pretty good though Phoenix, Iron Jaw etc and I loved most of their books). I have to say I am a bit surprised that no one has tired to bring back such a strong character (imho) back, he wasn't even in the recent "re launch" by Ardden (along with Wulf, Grim Ghost, Phoenix etc) Mmmmm not to sure about the merchandise but thats maybe just me. Nice post good to re live the strip again and Ditkos cool artwork.

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    1. Loved the early Atlas books when they were an upstart company full of talent and ambition,but in a few short months it all fell apart. Bigger dreams than wallets and bigger egos than reason.

      The Ardden revival was pretty weak. I got a few, but aside from the Grim Ghost it was little about not much.

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  2. Would love to see a best of Atlas/Seaboard Collection: The Destructor, The Tarantula (Pat Boyette!), Wulf The Barbarian, Tiger Man, Iron Jaw, Grim Ghost, The Scorpion, Demon Hunter etc. They even did some decent b&w magazine stories (Thrilling Adventure Stories comes to mind.) I bought most of their output back in the day…sadly, I retained none of it…A couple of best of Atlas Collections would be so sweet…

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    1. Absolutely. Reprints of these stories would do well and I had hopes some years ago we'd get them. Great talent and above average characters.

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  3. I always thought those guys could've (and have) done better. The costume, the origin and the character's very name all seemed second-hand and of lesser impact than (for instance) Ditko's Creeper, Wood's No Man, or Goodwin's Manhunter. It was certainly one of Atlas' handsomest books and maybe it just needed some time to grow. From what I've read, increasingly unstable publishing strategies made for a panic-driven series of early changes that made the line too inconsistent to catch on.

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    1. Admittedly there is a somewhat generic flavor to Destructor, but the craftsmanship is all there.

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