Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Fantastic (Ditko) Giants

Today I picked up a copy of one book that should have been a part of my collection a long time ago: FANTASTIC GIANTS. Illustrated by Steve Ditko and scripted by Joe Gill, it's a Charlton Comics publication. You can see on the cover where they announce Ditko's name that the company was trying to capitalize on the artist's burgeoning reputation as a fan favorite in those days (mid-60s).

The book is mostly reprints. It features the reprinting of KONGA #1 and GORGO #1, both books based on monster movies from some years earlier which had been adapted for comics form by Ditko and Gill. I already own both of those books, but not this reprint volume joining the two yarns. In addition, you get two new monster stories from Ditko (and, I presume, Joe Gill) that are probably much harder to locate.

The two non-film stories are "With the Help of Hogar" and "The Mountain Monster". The Hogar yarn is a classic Ditko-esque story featuring a twisted leader out to exploit his position with the addition of a monster which he controls. The other one is also a moral fable with a kind of Frankenstein's monster as the sympathetic protagonist. The art in both of these stories is more modern and refined than in either the Konga or Gorgo tales, showing off the evolution of Ditko's style since he'd first illustrated the film adaptations.

One reason I think that I never got a copy before now is that my dad just had so many of them in his back issue stocks. There seemed to have always been twenty to thirty of them floating around the store or warehouse when I was a kid. So I never really looked upon it as something rare or hard to find. Thus, my disdain of having a copy for so long.

The cover of my copy of FANTASTIC GIANTS.
The splash page for the Konga story.
Splash page for the Gorgo part of the book.
Classic Ditko monster. The same kind of story that he had done for so long at Goodman's outfit before he created Spider-Man and Doctor Strange.
Ditko's maturation as an artist is on display.

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