October 26, 2010

Unusual Tales - The Forbidden Room


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

"The Forbidden Room" is the lead story from Charlton's MYSTERIES OF UNEXPLORED WORLDS #4 [1957], a 9-page story that the cover is also loosely based on.

At 9 pages, this is the longest story Ditko drew in the 1950s, tied with one other.  That gives the plot a bit more room to breathe and add a few twists than is standard for the period.  The story has some overtones of "The Picture of Dorian Gray", with some strange turns.  Ditko does some really good detailed artwork throughout. I especially like the cobweb covered chair on page 5, and the framing of the candle and sinister face on the top of page 8. The musical note motif at several points in the story are also nicely done, and something that appears several times in Ditko's 1950s stories.

Before the story, some links:
Buy Ditko's creator-owned work
New material and classic reprints
Find out about the fanzine DITKOMANIA
Halloween issue #82 now available
Check out new and upcoming Ditko publications
CREEPER 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

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