Mr. A

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Mr. A
Witzend MrA ByDitko.jpg
Mr. A, in a panel from Witzend #4, 1968. Art by Steve Ditko.
Publication information
First appearance Witzend #3 (1967)
Created by Steve Ditko
In-story information
Alter ego Rex Graine
Abilities Wears armored gloves and full-head armored mask for protection

Mr. A is a fictional comic book hero created by Steve Ditko. Unlike most of his work, the character of Mr. A and the Mr. A stories remain the property of Ditko, all of which were written and illustrated by himself. The character first appeared in Witzend #3, 1967. Ditko has been quoted as saying another creation, The Question, is a comics-code acceptable version of Mr. A.[1]

Fictional character biography[edit]

Rex Graine is a newspaper reporter for the Daily Crusader. He is known for his uncompromising principles and incorruptibility. In order to fight crime, Graine wears metal gloves and a steel mask that resembles a placid face, thus becoming Mr. A. In keeping with the hardboiled detective theme, both personae typically wear suits and fedora hats; Mr. A's outfit is completely white. There is no origin story for the character, thus the only discernible reason why Graine sometimes disguises himself (both his identities are equally threatened by criminals and sometimes hated by the general public) is due to his choice to become a vigilante. Mr. A uses half white-half black calling cards to signify his arrival, as well as to represent his belief that there can only be good and evil, and no moral grey area.

Influence[edit]

Comics creator Alan Moore was once a member of a band called "The Emperors of Ice Cream" which performed a Moore-penned song entitled "Mr. A.", attacking Steve Ditko's political ideology.[2] He later created the character Rorschach for the series Watchmen who has been compared to Mr. A. Alan Moore has related a story about an acquaintance (not specified who) who said he asked Ditko about whether he was familiar with Rorschach. Reportedly, Ditko acknowledged, describing Rorschach as being "like Mr. A except insane".[2]

In Troy Hickman's Twilight Guardian mini-series (Top Cow 2011), the title character's father appears to be an homage to Steve Ditko, and a two-page strip appears in issue #4 entitled "The Gulch" that seems to be a parody/tribute to Mr. A.

Publication history[edit]

  • "Mr. A." (5 pages) (witzend #3, 1967)
  • "Mr. A." (10 pages) (witzend #4, 1968)
  • Eon #3 zine by Gustaveson (1968/9) back cover Mr. A by Steve Ditko
  • "Middle of the Road?" (5 pages) (Graphic Illusions #1, 1971) (Considered Eon #4)
    • Also 2 color back cover of Graphic Illusions #1 Mr. A. by Steve Ditko (Summer 1971)
      See also Guts, the Magazine with Intestinal Fortitude.
    • Above reprinted in The Ditko Collection #1, by Fantagraphics without permission 2/85
  • "When Is A Man To Be Judged Evil?" (6 pages) (THE COLLECTOR #26, Sum/72)
  • wrap-around cover to THE COLLECTOR #26, Sum/72
  • "What Happens To A Man When He Refuses To Uphold The Good" (8 pages) (COMIC CRUSADER #6, Sum/69 and #7, Fal/69)
  • "Mr. A. : Chapterplay" (8 pages) (COMIC CRUSADER #13, 1972)
  • "Right to Kill" (9 pages)
    • Above published as Mr. A. #1 by Comic Art Publishers, 1973
    • Above reprinted in The Ditko Collection #1, by Fantagraphics 2/85
  • "Count Rogue" (16 pages)
  • "Brotherhood Of The Collective" (16 pages)
    • Above published in Mr. A. #2 by Bruce Hershenson, 1975 (labelled "D.4" on the cover, other 2 were the Ditko comics Avenging World and Wha!?! published by Hershenson)
  • "Death vs. Love-Song" (10 pages) (COMIC CRUSADER STORYBOOK, 1978)
    • Above reprinted in The Ditko Collection #2, by Fantagraphics 8/86

[Bruce Hershenson promoted "Mr. A. vs. the Polluters" on the backcover of #2, but it never appeared. A new series was advertised by Mort Todd's AAA around 1991 but never published and only a few images have been seen publicly, in addition to a sticker set and a t-shirt]

  • "Mr. A. Faces The Knifer" (30 pages). (Steve Ditko's 176-Page, Heroes Package, Robin Snyder & Steve Ditko, 2000)
  • "Mr. A." (8 pages) (DITKO CONTINUED, Robin Snyder & Steve Ditko, 2009 and OH, NO! NOT AGAIN, DITKO!, Robin Snyder & Steve Ditko, 2009)

A new edition of the 1973 Mr. A. #1 comic was published by Snyder and Ditko in late 2009 (dated January 2010). This edition has all the story contents of the original, though with a different story order, the covers and centerfold printed in black and white and the splash page to "Right to Kill!" restored to Ditko's original intent.

In addition, Ditko drew numerous single-page Mr. A images for fanzines in the 1960s and 1970s.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.vicsage.com/misc/mistera.php
  2. ^ a b In Search of Steve Ditko. BBC. 2007.

Bibliography[edit]