October 16, 2009

Unusual Tales - Valley Of Eternity

Welcome to "Unusual Tales", a series presenting Steve Ditko's comics from 1957 to 1959 that are in the public domain, primarily from Charlton.  Earlier Ditko stories from 1953 to 1955 were almost all presented in the "It Stalks the Public Domain" series. 1956 was all Marvel, so badger them to reprint that stuff.

I'm starting off with as many of the never-reprinted stories as I can.  There are just over 80 in that category by my records.  And note that I mean never-reprinted in an American publication, whether from Charlton or another publisher.  I know many of the comics of that era were reprinted, in English or otherwise, by various foreign publishers.

The 7-page "Valley Of Eternity" was published in Charlton's TALES OF THE MYSTERIOUS TRAVELER #11 [1959]. This is probably the Charlton series of the era most associated with Ditko, thanks to his iconic renditions of the host in his trenchcoat and fedora, often floating as a giant in the background.  He sticks to human size in this one, as he presents the story of four very different men whose paths cross in a hidden valley in India, where they find the promise of a secret that could change them and the world.

A clever little story, with a nice little bit in the end, Ditko does a good job of establishing the characters and settings.  I especially like that sequence on the top of page 5 as an example of Ditko's rendering abilities at this time.

Comments always welcome, and feel free to send a link to anyone you think might be interested.

Some links to check out:
Buy Ditko's creator-owned work
Find out about the fanzine DITKOMANIA
Check out new and upcoming Ditko publications
Download public domain comics, likely including the one this story is from
(scans in this series generally adapted to my personal tastes from those copies)

Click images to big-up.

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