January 9, 2006

Monsters on the Prowl #9 [1971]

Ditko very rarely inked the work of other pencillers. The major exception to this is Jack Kirby (I know of under a half-dozen non-Kirby examples), whose work he inked on a few dozen stories and covers at Marvel between 1959 and 1963, including several monster stories and a few scattered super-hero stories. It's a pretty pleasing combination, not how I'd want to see all Kirby stuff inked, but usually enjoyable, and very well suited to Kirby's style at the time.

Two of the stories, both 7-pagers, are reprinted in this 1971 comic. "I Discovered Gorgilla", from TALES TO ASTONISH #12 (1960) is a classic of the giant monster genre, taking more than a few cues from KING KONG as a group of scientists travel to Borneo to find the remains of a "missing link" between man and ape, only to discover native traditions of a living intelligent ape-man in a fenced off area. They find Gorgilla, who rescues them from a dinosaur, and decide to leave him be in gratitude, rather than cart him off to New York (but there's still a sequel to come, although without Ditko).

"Kraggoom", from JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #78 (1962) is more suited to Ditko's inks, being a moody science-fiction drama about a creature lurking in space, waiting for mankind to venture beyond the Earth so it can possess and control someone and conquer the world. Unfortunately for Kraggoom, the man chosen for the mission is an unqualified spoiled rich jerk, who bought and cheated his way to the mission. He panics just as Kraggoom possesses him, effectively forgetting everything and trapping Kraggoom. A close call for mankind. A lot to like in this one, Ditko's inks bring out the menace of the shapeless lurking creature nicely, as well as the arrogance of the astronaut.

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