November 7, 2008

It Stalks the Public Domain - Library of Horror

List of early Ditko and links to those posted over here : Link early, link often.

"Library of Horror" is the 7-page lead story from Charlton's THE THING #13 [April 1954].  Ditko actually does three stories for the issue, plus the cover, as it pretty much becomes a Ditko showcase for a few issues.

This is an excellent little horror story about a frustrated writer who can't seem to come up with stories any more. He finds a mysterious bookstore where he's offered access to the ancient books of the dead, but at the cost of bringing in bodies, dead or alive.  He chooses dead, and things spiral out of control from there.

Lots of stuff to like in this one, especially the demons and mystic realms, which might remind you of some later Ditko work.  I especially like the demonic desk on the top of page three, as well as all the mood creating spider-webs and smoke.  Also unusual in this story is the heavy use of mechanical tones, something seen in a handful of early Ditko stories, but not usually used this liberally. The top of page four is especially notable, I'd be curious if that effect was done by Ditko by hand on the original art or is some sort of post-production effect.

Most scans in this series adapted to my personal tastes from those found, and available for free download with registration, at the Golden Age Comics Download site. To buy Ditko comics and things on paper, go over here for ordering info on some wonderful creator owned material and over here for info on recent and upcoming publications from all publishers. And subscribe to Rob Imes' revival of DITKOMANIA, now accepting PayPal.


  1. I must say that I'm enjoying these public domain stories. Golden Age comics has a considerable collection to go through, and, as you've no doubt noticed, they seem to be straight scans with no enhancement done to them.
    This one seems especially scary and atmospheric.

  2. That picture of Death looks like the Green Goblin.



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