Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Classics - Ditko Monsters: Gorgo!

   One of my (not so) guilty pleasures is movies that feature giant monsters, thanks in no small part to the movies I watched on late night TV on Saturday nights when I was a kid in the '60s.

   One of my all-time favorites was Gorgo, the tale of a giant lizard who emerges from the ocean, comes ashore and causes widespread destruction. He (it?) is captured and put on display, just like King Kong.

   The twist is when we discover that Gorgo is just a child - his mother comes to his rescue, and she takes the destruction of London to a new level!

   I loved it just as much as the wonderful and wacky Godzilla movies, but there was something about the mother/child storyline that made Gorgo memorable (and I loved the iconic image of Gorgo's head rising up out of the ocean).

   Gorgo was popular enough to warrant his own comic, although it was published by Charlton Comics (sort of the low-rent district for comics).

   Astonishingly, the art for 10 issues was provided by Steve Ditko - at the same time that he was making history at Marvel Comics working on Spider-Man and Dr. Strange!

    The scripts by Joe Gill were a bit silly, but there's no doubting that Ditko was really hitting his stride - there are some amazing sequences here, as Gorgo (and mom) fight for their lives against attacking armies, aliens and other odd menaces.

   These issues can be tough to track down, but thankfully we live in the Golden Age for comic reprints, and the lovely and talented Craig Yoe has collected Ditko's Gorgo issues in this hardback, Ditko Monsters: Gorgo!

   (And don't miss the companion volume dedicated to the adventures of Konga, who owes a dinner to King Kong.)

   What a treat! For sheer, light-hearted carnage, these issues stand head and shoulder above most titles.  And thanks to Ditko's amazing art, these stories tower above the usual comic book monster mash-ups.

 Grade: A



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