January 23, 2010

Unusual Tales - The Other Form

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

Charlton's TALES OF THE MYSTERIOUS TRAVELER #11 [1959] is the source for the 7-page story "The Other Form", seen below. Our usual host, the Mysterious Traveler, takes a more personal interest in this story than usual, as it tickles his love of irony, and then the anonymous writer really has to stretch things to arrange an ending that sort of qualifies as ironic, as we follow wealthy businessman Baron de Fiche as he travels the east looking to see if any of the ancient secrets from there can increase his wealth and power.

Quite a bit of neat Ditko touches in this one. The setting, of course, is one that he'd come back to in any number of later fantasy stories and a few Doctor Strange tales. The big panel inside an outline of the Traveler's head on the first page is kind of clever, but doesn't quite work. The stepped up progression of panel heights on the top of page three and the bottom of page four look really good, and the fakir with the snake on page five is a great looking image.

So not the greatest of story, but as usual Ditko goes that extra mile to make it worthwhile. Isn't that ironic? No, wait, I don't think it is...

Some links to check out:
Buy Ditko's creator-owned work
Find out about the fanzine DITKOMANIA
Check out new and upcoming Ditko publications
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)

Click images to learn ancient magical secrets


1 comment:

  1. Well done, and quite Stan Lee-esque is the story.
    Only Ditko could have illustrated this one, though. It is like something one would have seen later in Amazing Fantasy.
    The real lesson here?
    Hear the whole story before you judge.
    This schmuck thought he was impervious to everything and knew it all.
    He prejudged the old salesman before he heard him out.
    Well, the sword of Justice cut true this time.
    Where can I buy one of those rugs?



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