April 14, 2007

Many Ghosts of Doctor Graves #24 [1971]

"The $5.99 Special" is the 8-page Ditko illustrated story in this issue. The basic story doesn't actually make too much sense. A cop arrests a woman for trying to sell him a fake love amulet, only to have the case thrown out by the booking officer since he didn't actually wait until money had changed hands. The two then go on a date, and I guess we wind up finding out that she really is a witch, but didn't know it up until now, and gets comfortable with her powers quickly. And then they live happily ever after. It's all very strange.

The art is much more interesting, if equally strange. This is one of those Charlton stories where the host (Doctor Graves in this case) does more than just narrate the story, but less than actively participate in it, with odd little panels floating between the panels of the main story, showing Graves observing what's going on. I'm not exactly sure what visual effect Ditko was going for, sometimes it seems to be a floating smoke effect, other times a jigsaw puzzle, or a lavalamp. The odd panel shapes get even odder later in the story, with heart-shaped panels when the characters kiss. Whatever the intended effect is, it's an interesting way to liven up a fairly bland story.

Ditko also draws the cover to this issue, also for this story, which has a pretty cool visual of a skull in a crystal ball.

1 comment:

  1. I love the design work that Ditko produced around this time period. Very inventive and experimental, although it does not get discussed half as much as the work of others who played with the form, such as Neal Adams.

    Nick Caputo



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