January 31, 2010

Unusual Tales - The Menace Of The Maple Leaves





"Unusual Tales", a series presenting Steve Ditko's comics from 1957 to 1959 that are in the public domain.

Today we have the 8-page story "The Menace Of The Maple Leaves" from Charlton's STRANGE SUSPENSE STORIES #33 [1957].  An unusually long story for Ditko's work of the period, where the average story he drew was 5-pages, and he only got up in the 8/9 page range 4 times in over 250 stories from 1955 to 1959.

Anyway, despite what you might think from the title the story isn't about hockey players, or any kind of Canadians at all.  It's about a stand of trees outside a town that are ripe for harvesting for lumber, but which no one will touch, as explained by a story told by an Eisner-esque old man.  Hard-nosed businessman Mike Stone isn't buying, of course, with predictable but amusing results.

Couple of really good artistic bits by Ditko here, pay close attention to page 7, which is just wonderfully laid-out, one of my favourite pages from this era (and even including a Ditko signature move, the classic double-take head-turn).

Some links to check out:
Buy Ditko's creator-owned work
A DITKO ACT TWO out before you know it
Find out about the fanzine DITKOMANIA
New issue out now, on-going bi-monthly fanzine action
Check out new and upcoming Ditko publications
The Creeper, including the unpublished issue, out soon
Download public domain comics, likely including the one this story is from
scans in this series generally adapted to my personal tastes from those copies, site seems to be down right now, back soon I hope

Click images to rain-forest size.

 
 

2 comments:

  1. waynekappler@bellsouth net2/02/2010 06:39:00 AM

    The resevoir of Ditko's imagination here is such a treat; long before he was indoctrinated by Kirby and the Marvel Way. The stark introduction of the witch being chased on page 2, panel 3 has a simple lyricism animated with just the right tension in the pose. The layout of the leaves chasing the tramp on page four panel two recalls the mechanical arms of Dr. Octopus undulating throughout a panel five years later. Not too sure any other artist would have contemplated an actual panoramic of a storm and forest on page 6 panel 3. Love the fifties stuff you've graced us with.

    ReplyDelete
  2. That was really beautiful. Thanks for posting it.

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