Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Finally the second installment of YOe Books Ditko Monsters series has arrived at my door. The Gorgo volume showed up last spring, but the Konga volume has been delayed a few times and finally showed up in stores a few weeks back. My order from Amazon only arrived at my doorstep a few days ago, but I'm happy to have it and eager to give the stories, some of them familiar, good going over.
It has long been established that some of the most invigorating work of Steve Ditko's career was done for the sometimes hapless Charlton Publications. Infamous for low-quality, the publisher allowed Ditko near complete creative freedom, since for the most part they regarded comics as so limited an endeavor that the powers couldn't be bothered to really care too much about the content. Much of it was rotten, but surprisingly often it was really really good.
Steve Ditko's runs on both Gorgo and Konga with scripts by the indefatigable Joe Gill are among the most entertaining. I first stumbled across these epics in the classic 1966 mostly reprint one-shot Fantastic Giants.
Many years later I was able to finally get a copy of The Lonely One published by Ditko and Robin Snyder. Now at long last, I have a collection of all of Ditko's ferociously idiosyncratic Konga tales.
For those who might not know, Konga was an adaptation of an American-International Pictures schlock sci-fi flick which tried to re-fry the classic King Kong scenario by adding in bizarre plants with growth-inducing properties, mad lascivious scientists, and exceedingly perky teenagers. It's an entertaining brew, but hardly one would think the stuff for an ongoing comic series.
Konga at Charlton was a peripatetic protagonist who finds humans often a bother, sometimes a threat, but always it seems fascinating. He battles monsters, aliens, robots, and whatever could clank, carom, or slither his way. He was drawn by many in the Charlton talent pool, but it's always been Steve Ditko's rendition which captured the imagination best.
Here's a cover gallery of Ditko's best.