February 23, 2006

Murder #1 [1986]

In the last days of Charlton, there was a revival of the TALES OF THE MYSTERIOUS TRAVELER book for which Ditko did some new stories. Only one was published, in #15, but a few more showed up the next year in books Robin Snyder packaged for Renegade Press. "The Big Man" is one of those, an 8-page story both written and drawn by Ditko, which has the Mysterious Traveler in the background on the first and last page, but without any dialogue.

The story is one of those goofy Ditko things, about a strange giant who appears and kills a few businessmen with his bare hands, appearing to vanish into thin air before the police show up. An investigator finds a connection between the men in an old failed toy business venture, with various allusions to big ambitions, tiny minds, big hate and all that. Eventually it's revealed how the toymaker who felt he as cheated in the business by the others is the killer, designing an inflatable suit with expanding legs and arms, and he meets his end thanks to his own devices.

Ditko could be pretty funny on these little stories when he wasn't trying to make odd philosophical points that bogged down the scripts. A lot of neat visuals in the Big Man design as well.

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