December 26, 2010

Mad Monsters #1 [1961]

In the early 1960s Charlton ran a pair of magazines devoted to movie monsters, MAD MONSTERS and HORROR MONSTERS, presumably spurred on by the success of magazines like FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND. On a tangentially Ditko related note, the first issue of MAD MONSTERS featured an 8-page photo preview summarizing the story in KONGA. Ditko had, of course, done the comic book adaptation of the movie, and he'd go on to draw some 14 more issues of the series for Charlton in the next few years.

But much more interesting is the actual Ditko content in MAD MONSTERS #1, starting with a great lurid colour cover of a drooling wolfman. I'm not sure if Ditko did the colouring on this, but it's definitely a notch above Charlton standard.

Ditko also provides the only comics content of the issue, the 3-page story "K".  Done in black-and-white tone, it's a bizarre story about a monster who creates man.  Or something like that.  Anyway, the art is very intricate, even with the fairly shoddy printing, making this a real highlight of Ditko's work from the period.  The skeleton dog that "K" rides in the first page is just amazing, and middle panel of page 2, shown below, is just full of great stuff, from the scary tree to the walking eyeballs to the sexy four-armed woman to the house on the top of the impossible winding path. 

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