Sunday, April 26, 2009

Monsters on the Prowl

More and more I find myself enjoying the bargain bins more than the new comics stands. I don't know if I'm just turned off by the endless crossovers and hack writing, or that the price of new comics has just become too high for my blood. Probably a little of both. Or maybe I'm just getting old, but these days I'd much rather spend my time sifting through long boxes or on eBay for hidden treasures at rock bottom prices than trying to keep up with the endless glut of new titles every Wednesday.

With that in mind, I found this obscure early 70s Marvel monster comic for 50 cents at the NYCC. The issue features three stories, one featuring King Kull, illustrated by the legendary John Severin which is apparently a part of a larger, ongoing story arc serialized within the title. It's not bad, and Severin's artwork is exceptional genre fare, but the two backup stories are the real gems.

The first, "Where Walks the Ghost" is illustrated by Steve Ditko and while the story is as basic a haunted house tale as you can get - an ex-con rents a house to hideout in, only to be scared into turning himself in by a resident ghost - the artwork is vintage Ditko. Check out that awesome splash page. Nobody used negative space better!

But the issue's highlight is "Mister Morgan's Monster," written and drawn by Jack Kirby with inks by Dick Ayers.  The story is just a frenzy of comic book energy.  In just six pages, Kirby crams in robots, aliens, spaceships and a whole lot of bizarre melodrama, all with an odd, but clever twist ending that suits the story perfectly.  It's probably not going to make any best-of Kirby lists, but it's fun, and certainly worth the 50 cents I paid for it.  

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