March 27, 2009

It Stalks the Public Domain - Botticelli of the Bangtails

The award-winning* series of early Ditko stories continues. See for the full list.

(*not really)

From Charlton's RACKET SQUAD IN ACTION #11 [May-June 1954] comes "Botticelli of the Bangtails", an 8-page police/crime story by Ditko. The detectives in this story are J. J. O'Malley and Steve Pryor, who were on-going characters in the book, though this would be the only time Ditko drew them (his only other contribution to the title would be the cover to the following issue. The focus on this story is on the outlaws, though, and the horses, as Manny Sherman, after losing big on the horses, comes across an artist painting portraits of horses and comes up with a ridiculously elaborate scheme to counterfeit race-horses and clean up on the bets, first disguising an everyday nag to look like the favourite, then the favourite as an unknown underdog. It all blows up in the end, though, and O'Malley is there to pick up the pieces.

Some nice work by Ditko on this one, with good distinctive designs for the various villains of the piece, great square-jawed heroic police detectives and some good work on the horses. The flying art supplies in the last page are a nice touch to bring back the art theme of the story.

Ditko also draws the cover to this issue, which in a rare occurrence for his early covers, actually goes with the story he drew for the issue.

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 his available creator owned material (including his latest comic, OH, NO! NOT AGAIN, DITKO!) and over here for info on recent and upcoming publications from all publishers, and check out Rob Imes' revival of DITKOMANIA, the Ditko fanzine, now accepting PayPal.

Click images to enbiggen.

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