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"The Payoff" is one of two Ditko stories from Charlton's STRANGE SUSPENSE STORIES #20 [August 1954], a neat little 7-page Cold War spy drama as we follow beautiful Magda Tonescu in her vain attempt to acquire ill-gotten riches by the smuggling of a vial of deadly poison on a train through Europe. lots of knives and gunplay along the way, and with a lot of faces intentionally in the shadows, we get a lot of great closeups of gloved hands which evoke, intentionally or not, some of Will Eisner's work on THE SPIRIT, in particular the Octopus stories. A nice change of pace from the horror/fantasy of most of the 1954 Ditko work.
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