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 appearanceWitzend #3 (1967)
Created bySteve Ditko
In-story information
Alter egoRex Graine
AbilitiesWears armored gloves and full-head armored mask for protection
 
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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 appearanceWitzend #3 (1967)
Created bySteve Ditko
In-story information
Alter egoRex Graine
AbilitiesWears 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. This is not entirely unsurprising as the character, like the rest of the main characters of Watchmen, was based on a Charlton Comics character as a "starting point",[3] specifically basing Rorschach on the Question.[4] In fact, Alan Moore has related a story about an unspecified acquaintance 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]

[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]

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.
  3. ^ Kavanagh, Barry (October 17, 2000). "The Alan Moore Interview: Watchmen characters". Blather.net. Retrieved March 8, 2013.
  4. ^ Knutson, Jon B. (June 16, 2000). "Toasting Absent Heroes". TwoMorrows Publishing. Retrieved March 8, 2013.

Bibliography[edit]