November 16, 2009

Unusual Tales - The Little Things

"Unusual Tales", a series presenting Steve Ditko's comics from 1957 to 1959 that are in the public domain.

OUT OF THIS WORLD #16 [1959] is the source for the 5-page science fiction story "The Little Things", a clever little tale that explores the ramifications of time travel in a way that no prior story ever imagined...

What's that?  One of the most famous science fiction stories of all time?  From 1952?  Even adapted to comics in 1954?  Hm, that would be earlier, right?

Oh, then, never mind...

Despite the unoriginality of the central plot, a lot of Ditko touches to like in this story.  The Wells-style time machine is pretty cool.  The voyage back in time on page three has some good effects, both the middle panel with the multiple heads and that well designed bottom sequence.  And of course, any excuse to get some dinosaurs by Ditko, as we do on page four.

Some links to check out:
Buy Ditko's creator-owned work
Some work from around this era in THE LONELY ONE
Find out about the fanzine DITKOMANIA
Detailed articles on all eras of The Ditko
Check out new and upcoming Ditko publications
All of Ditko's Warren material now in-print, though across five books
Download public domain comics, likely including the one this story is from
(scans in this series usually adapted to my personal tastes from those copies, sometimes some good non-Ditko material in there)

Click images to go back in time, careful not to step on anything...



  1. Actually, this story dredges up a common clique of time travel.

    There was even a cheesy SyFy movie that used this basic plot. And I've seen probably a half dozen or more comic book stories that followed the same basic plot.

  2. Yeah, I know, I sort of implied that. The 1952 story I mentioned was Ray Bradbury's "A Sound of Thunder", which if it didn't explore the idea first at least did it best and most famously. Al Williamson did a gorgeous adaptation of it for EC in 1954, so it was probably well on its way to becoming a cliche in 1959.

  3. look at the power of Ditko's design...that last panel, especially. That's a man facing anguish over what he has done! Fantastic! No one drew those kind of time-travel sequences like Steve Ditko. Amazing stuff.

  4. The real irony is that the past would always have existed in its changed form, so the traveler and the scientists would never notice the difference...



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