January 11, 2006

Detective Comics #487 [1979]

The Odd Man was intended to be a back-up feature for Ditko's SHADE series starting with #9. When that was cancelled, the issue was semi-published as part of the photocopied CANCELLED COMIC CAVALCADE #2 in 1978, along with many other cancelled books. Unlike the majority of the contents of those photocopies, the Odd Man story did eventually run for real, in slightly modified form, the following year. Among the changes, the original title, "The Pharoah And The Mummies" is removed, adding a brief blurb about the character, and numerous changes are made in the script.

As you can see, the name of the character is apt, very odd. We don't find out too much about the character in this initial and only story, even with the added blurb, except that he's really Clay Stoner, private investigator in River City, and he's handy with the gadgets. At the beginning of the story he's questioning a fence in a topsy-turvy room, with no information given about whether it's that way from trickery or some powers Clay has.

Not a great thing, but could have been with more time to develop, and would have been a nice counterpart to the more serious goings-on in the main SHADE stories. One of the things I wonder while reading it is if Ditko was a fan of the 1960s Batman TV series, since parts of it do seem like a comics homage to the style of that show, especially the villains.

"The Odd Man" J-6354

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