May 25, 2006

Where Creatures Roam #4 [1971]

This issue has another of the many 5-pagers, this one "Beware Of The Ghastly Glass" from TALES TO ASTONISH #17 [1961]. I love the symbolic full page splash pages on a lot of these stories, this one with a man trapped by a giant crystal, with a great smoke effect.

A very tightly told story about an old man who, with his strongman servant, goes around the world, from curio shop to curio shop, searching for a mysterious crystal which he knows will grant him four wishes. Like most people in these stories, he's well aware of the traps involved in wishes, but thinks he's got it figured out and has his wishes worded perfectly. He finally finds the crystal and asks for youth, long life, freedom from "arrest, jail, prisons and institutions" and finally the to be the richest man in the world. Of course that last one is the trap, and when all the special effects clear the man is young and healthy, but on another world.

I hope at some point we get a massive collection of these 5-page stories (there are over 200 of them, so they could easily fill two big "Essential" format collections, or three "Visionaries" books).

"Beware Of The Ghastly Glass" V-54

May 18, 2006

Journey Into Mystery #7 [1973]

This issue reprints "Take A Chair" from JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #82 [1962], one of the most interesting of the many 5-pagers Ditko did from that era. The art is the usual fine stuff, but what I find most fascinating is how similar the structure and theme of the first half of the story is to a lot of Ditko's own work of later years, setting up the contrast of the nobility of hard work against the lazy man stealing the work of others. Even a lot of the names (Gorgi Gruff, Mr. Vort) sound like the kind of things you get in Ditko's writing.

Unfortunately, after the interesting set-up the story kind of veers off into a less interesting sci-fi twist ending, where it turns out the creative chair-builder is in fact an alien in disguise investigating humanity, and his chairs are spy robots. Cute, I guess, but doesn't quite live up to the set-up of the first few pages.

May 6, 2006

New Ditko - Ditko Reader CD-ROM

Via NeilAlien, apparently the DITKO READER CD-ROM from Pure Imagination was listed to ship to comic shops this past week. Can anyone verify? Reviews?


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