January 15, 2011

Unusual Tales - The Juggernauts Of Jupiter


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

"The Juggernauts Of Jupiter" is a 5-page story from Charlton's UNUSUAL TALES #15 [1959].  It's been reprinted a few times, but not in colour in quite a while.

An atypical space story, as humans aren't involved at all, except for one passing, and slightly insulting, reference.  No, this time it's war between Neptune, led by the belligerent leader The Highest, and the newly discovered peace-loving people of Jupiter.  A scientist from Neptune tries to warn the Jovians of the threat, but finds out that peace-loving doesn't always mean unprepared.

A nice little story, with the visual highlight being, as you can see to the right, the long panel on page four showing the glory of the Jovian city.

But before the story, some links:
Buy Ditko's creator-owned work
Reprint of 1975 ..WHA..!? DITKO'S H SERIES coming next
Find out about the fanzine DITKOMANIA
New issue out soon
Check out new and upcoming Ditko publications
Softcover Doctor Strange Masterworks available
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 on images to enlarge

January 12, 2011

Upcoming Ditko - ..WHA..!? reprint

Robin Snyder informs me that the next book he and Ditko will publish will be a reprint of the 1975 comic ..WHA..!?, which features five short stories.  Most of these haven't been reprinted since THE DITKO COLLECTION #2 [1986].

Some really good stuff, I'll post a bit about it soon.  This new edition will be $4, ordering details here.  Retailers interested in carrying this and the other Snyder/Ditko publications should contact Snyder for details.

(cover shown from original edition, I'll post the new edition when I have it)

January 5, 2011

Many Ghosts of Doctor Graves #34 [1972]

"Ghostmaster" is the 8-page story cover-featured in Charlton's MANY GHOSTS OF DOCTOR GRAVES #34 [1972]. Doctor Graves narrates the story of Leland Menn, a showman who convinces the owners of Funland to finance an elaborate effects-laden haunted house attraction.

The story seems a bit fragmented and ends abruptly, but it serves the purpose of giving Ditko some nice stuff to draw.  Especially nice is that contrast in shading levels that Ditko uses when drawing spectral forms alongside the real world.  The gag in the middle of page six (seen below) is pretty good, and well rendered by Ditko.

Ditko also draws the cover for the issue, which is a nice representation of the haunted house with its wacky layout and all the usual tropes of such an attraction that show up in the story.

January 3, 2011

Curse of the Weird #1 [1993]

This is one of the reprint anthologies of Marvel science-fiction/fantasy/horror stories edited by Mort Todd in the early 1990s. Among other things, Todd hired Ditko to do some new illustrations for the books, including the cover to this issue, which is a nice image of people on the street in a story fleeing a man being struck by lightning. The image reminds me of the story "The Most Dangerous Man In The World" from WORLD OF MYSTERY #6 [1957], but that might be a coincidence.

The Ditko story reprinted in the issue is the 4-page "Do Not Panic" from STRANGE TALES #95 [1962]. A typical science-fiction parable of the era with the reaction of a city to the first landing of an alien craft. I do really like the space-suit that Ditko draws, though the colouring is a bit too modern for me.

ROM #69 [1985]


ROM #69 [1985] is one of five issues of Ditko's run on the series inked by P. Craig Russell, with the 22-page story "This World Alive". The story is, as always, by Bill Mantlo.

This story features ROM, in the aftermath of the defeat of the Dire Wraiths, searching for others of his kind, humans from Galador who had been converted to robotic forms to fight the Wraiths. His search takes him to an odd world which... well, it's Ego the Living Planet. The cover gives that away, so does the story title to a lesser degree. A shame, as that's the kind of reveal that would have made a nice surprise. Anyway, Ego was a great concept introduced by Jack Kirby in the pages of THOR back in the 1960s, and by this point had returned a few times to encounter the Fantastic Four.  ROM's quest for his comrades takes him deep into Ego's ecosystem, where he first encounters the Kirby-designed antibodies that are always on the attack against intruders, and then some half-digested Wraiths on his way to the brain of Ego.

Enjoyable stand-alone story mixing in one of the great cosmic concepts of the Marvel Universe.  Ditko's art works well on the almost abstract enlarged organic designs needed for Ego, and Russell's inking is really sharp, and the printing shows it off better than some other issues in this run.

January 1, 2011

Scary Tales #12 [1978]

SCARY TALES #12 [1978] from Charlton included the 10-page Ditko illustrated story "The Drowned Girl". This is one of the last Ditko stories from this run at Charlton, just a few more before the company would go all-reprint for several years. As you can probably tell by the scans, their printing presses were ready to give up long before the rest of the company was.

This story begins with Bently Cranford informing his summer fling Maryann that their relationship was finished, as he was returning home to marry his rich girlfriend.  When Maryann doesn't take that well, Cranford strangles her and throws her overboard.  That's never a good idea in a horror comic, and soon he finds himself haunted by Maryann's ghost when he returns home, straining his relationship with his fiancĂ©e until he's compelled to return to the scene of the crime.

If you can get past the printing, it's a pretty decent effort by Ditko, especially some of the slightly off-beat angles in the underwater scenes.  I also really liked some of the effects of the boat in stormy seas towards the end of the story.

This story was reprinted a few years later in Charlton's HAUNTED #65 [1983].


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