Strange Tales Annual #2: Flame On 45

Strange Tales Annual #2, page 5, panel 4

Written by: Stan Lee

Drawn by: Jack Kirby

Inking: Steve Ditko

Lettering: Art Simek

I mentioned a few posts ago how rare Steve Ditko inking Jack Kirby was, and this annual is (I think) the final instance of the two working together. With Amazing Spider-Man going monthly, with Ditko slowly taking over plotting the strip, the need to provide inks to maintain a regular paycheck (presumably) lessened to the point where it just wasn't a requirement.

This lovely close-up of Johnny presents a much softer face than Ditko would provide by himself, and with a lighter touch than Ayers would give to the same pencils. I rather like it, and it's an interesting view into another world where circumstances meant that Ditko's inking would be more common than we saw in ours.

Check out our coverage of Strange Tales Annual #2 on our sixteenth episode: The Best Of Annuals, The Worst Of Annuals. It's the one where Steve walks out over the utter ridiculousness of the story, leaving the show in the hands of Andrew and guest-host Jon M. Wilson.