December 11, 2005

Ghostly Tales #97 [1972]

Ditko did original work published by Charlton horror comics all through the 1970s, several hundred stories in all. Unfortunately almost none of them have seen modern day reprints, except in one good collection from 1999, and they'd all look much better in black and white than the increasingly hideous printing that Charlton supplied.

Ghostly Tales #97 [1972] featured the 8-page "Journal of a Hanged Witch", art by Ditko, writer unknown. Mr. Dedd, who always had the some of the funkiest hair among the horror hosts, tells us the story of Kenneth Gadsby, a young man in a small New England town who searches through the house of a woman who was hanged on charges of witchcraft three hundred years earlier and reads her own account of the events, eventually clearing her name to lift her curse from the town. Which I guess means she was a witch.

This is a good story for sampling a lot of common Ditko visual themes that crop up in both his commercial work and his personal stuff. Panels of hands raised in anger and in peace, the proud, defiant heroic characters contrasting with the snide, cowardly villains, never very hard to tell the good from the evil in a Ditko story. Plus things like that weird profile view of an eyeball that no-one else does quite the same.

Ditko also drew the cover to this issue, oddly enough based on one of the other stories, "The Eye of the Cat" drawn by Don Perlin (who seemed to have a slightly ditkoesque inkline at the time). It's a very nice cover with minimal detail and very good use of shadows and contrast.

"Journal of a Hanged Witch" D-2983
Cover 00658

1 comment:

  1. I really love this period of Ditko's work (so much so that I wrote about it in Comic Book Marketplace a few years back). Ditko line work around this time was sharp and he really appeared to be enjoying experimenting with panel designs and composition.

    BTW, I love your heading design!

    Nick Caputo



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