February 27, 2007
February 24, 2007
Yeah, there are a couple of plot holes in this pretty standard 1950s sci-fi short. But Ditko does manage at least one noteworthy visual on almost every page. Robot security guards, the futuristic cityscape, the explosion on this page, the alien doctor and medical equipment and the final sequence of the ship trailing off the edge of the universe into nothingness.
"The Last Journey" J-6183
February 21, 2007
Pretty neat little story from towards the end of the era of the short fantasy stories, and an interesting earthier view of vikings than the slicker Kirby designs that had started a few months earlier. I especially like how he captures the weariness in the faces of the long trapped vikings, and there's a neat storytelling bit, where Gundar's departure echoes on the first three panels the arrival of what he later find out is Gundar the junior two pages earlier.
"Gundar" - X-53
February 18, 2007
Anyway, following a nicely designed splash page with a man and several rats racing from a simple ghost in a haunted house we get the story of criminal Big Monk McGak, who escapes from his prison bound train and digs up some money and a disguise he had hidden. To find a place to hide until the heat is off he goes to real estate agent and asks for a haunted house to rent, supposedly to get in the mood to write a TV series. The agent has something in mind, but is reluctant to show it, but McGak strong-arms him. Of course it turns out that the agent is a ghost himself, who scares McGak into running to the police.
Pretty simple story, but there are quite a few Ditko design bits to recommend it, in particular the bits of the haunted house that we see, and the rats are always a nice touch.
February 15, 2007
February 10, 2007
"An Alien Nation" is a 10-page story by Steve Perry with art by Ditko and Greg Theakston, the second part of a NoMan story that began the previous issue. NoMan is of course the robotic member of the Agents who can transfer his identity between various bodies. In this story he's sent, with about 100 spare bodies, to attack a would-be world conqueror with the unlikely name Cyrano de Klopps, who has stolen some Thunder technology, which he's combined in a Thundersuit that one of his hapless minions wears. Fun little story in the vein of the original Agents stories, more than a little intentionally goofy, with some clever stuff involving NoMan switching bodies, and really great inking by Theakston. Well worth it for a Ditko fan to seek these issues out.
February 4, 2007
February 1, 2007
In this story, we get the origin of the Leader, a janitor who got caught in a Gamma Ray explosion much like Bruce Banner, but instead of seeing his strength expanded he saw his intellect expand, along with his head. And he also got green skin. Anyway, he decided that world conquest was his destiny, and was behind the plans of the Chameleon in the previous issue. He decides to get more directly involved this time, having created a mentally controlled "Humanoid" that he sends to steal an experimental atomic device designed by Bruce Banner from a transport train. Of course Banner turns into the Hulk and has a great little battle aboard the train with the Humanoid. Eventually the Hulk wins, but ends up imprisoned as Bruce Banner, while the Leader's curiosity about his Gamma Ray mutated brother has been raised for the next year of stories.
Neat little story, building on the background of the Hulk nicely and with one of the great fight scenes of Ditko's comics of the era.