November 17, 2015

The Unexpected #221 [1982]

"Em The Energy Monster", a 9-page story from THE UNEXPECTED #221 [1982], is an unusual story in Ditko's work at DC.  Of the three dozen non-series stories he drew in the various anthology books, this is the only one Ditko wrote as well, and is in fact one of the few stories he did for the DC/Marvel where he was the sole credited writer.

This story features an alien who crashes on Earth and has the ability to animate any type of matter, and causes great destruction while trying to find a suitable body. Meanwhile, Dr. Bazom is in charge of efforts to stop the creature he's dubbed EM.

The concept of this story provides for some interesting visual ideas. You actually see a hint of the concept in a cover from over two decades earlier and would see it again in a story Ditko wrote almost a decade later.

The story is well-inked by Gary Martin, although the opening splash page (which looks like it was designed to be a cover, with a large space for the title logo) looks like Ditko might have inked it himself. Overall it's one of the most wholly satisfying of the short stories Ditko did for DC. Unfortunately this would be the last Ditko drawn story published by DC for several years (and going by story codes might actually have been drawn several years earlier) and the last Ditko written story ever at DC.

This was reprinted in THE STEVE DITKO OMNIBUS #1 [2011].

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