August 9, 2010

Unusual Tales - What Wilbur Saw...

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

"What Wilbur Saw..." is a 6-page story leading off Charlton's TALES OF THE MYSTERIOUS TRAVELER #2 [1957], Ditko's first story for the anthology title of the 1950s most associated with the Ditko name.  In ten issues over the next two years Ditko would draw 28 stories in this series, as well as several of great covers, and would even return to do one more original story for the title when it was briefly revived in the 1980s.  That revival also included a reprint of this story, in TALES OF THE MYSTERIOUS TRAVELER #14 [1985], and the story was also reprinted in black and white by Eclipse to lead off  the collection TALES OF THE MYSTERIOUS TRAVELER [1990].

This tale of a poor man who regrets the path his life has taken, and how his destiny becomes intertwined with the apparently quite rampant phenomenon in the 1950s of foundling babies being left on the doorsteps of childless couples, has always been one of my favourite of mine among Ditko's 1950s stories, back when only a handful were readily available, and remains so even now that almost all of them are available. Some really good work on Wilbur's body language and imaginative realization of the concepts in the script, which has a nice twist (especially the unusual direct intervention of the Traveler).

Some links to check out:
Buy Ditko's creator-owned work
ACT 5 out next
Find out about the fanzine DITKOMANIA
Bi-monthly and packed with rare art, fan art and articles, delivered to your door
Check out new and upcoming Ditko publications
THE CREEPER complete Ditko hardcover now available
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 to see "What Wilbur Saw..." even bigger

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