October 29, 2009

Unusual Tales - Gavin's Stupid Mule

"Unusual Tales" is a series presenting Steve Ditko's comics from 1957 to 1959 that are in the public domain, starting with those never reprinted.

One of Ditko's few war stories for Charlton was the 5-page "Gavin's Stupid Mule" from FIGHTIN' ARMY #20 [1957].  Set in the Civil War, it features a young soldier named Gavin (or Garvin...) who gets assigned a mule he names Clarence, which unfortunately is also the name of his Captain.  The mule proves to be quite a bit more intelligent than it appears, or is just plain lucky.

It's an attractive story, Ditko does a good job with the characters (including the mule) and the uniforms. Unfortunately there are a few weaknesses in the storytelling, as there are a few instances where the captions describe what's going on that I think the art could have done a better job of showing.  It might have just been a lack of pages, as a few extra panels scattered throughout could have improved it immensely. Still, always good to see a Ditko entry in a more scarce genre (I should count up sometime if he did fewer pages in romance, western or war comics).

Some links to check out:
Buy Ditko's creator-owned work
Over 1000 pages available, more on the way
Find out about the fanzine DITKOMANIA
A bi-monthly dose of Ditko talk in your mailbox
Check out new and upcoming Ditko publications
Creeper hardcover to include "unpublished" story
Download public domain comics, likely including the one this story is from
See the other stories and the original ads with most scans

Click images to big-up.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Powered By Blogger