Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Wolf Howls For You / Curse of the Kolukoffs

Dr. Theda wins the Ditko Monsters GORGO book drawing --CONGRATS and please email me your mailing address-- and thanks again to everyone that participated and shared their Ditko memories. I'll be having more horrific give-a-ways in May so stay tuned and don't fret if you didn't win this time! Here are two more 70's Ditko stories from Charlton Comics (remember I said they were gonna be hairy!) Our first howlin' tale from the June 1973 issue of Ghost Manor #12, and the second cursed selection from the November 1975 issue of Ghost Manor #26-- a Ditko Double Header!

















12 comments:

Dr. Theda said...

I have a copy of this story... love the double death at the end...

Brian Barnes said...

There's only one story in horror comics that's harder to pull off than "who's the werewolf", and that's "turns out I'm a vampire hunting werewolf" and vice-versa. The second story is a good example of why you should avoid these stories. The first, though, with it's not-fully explained husband/wolf (leaving it up to the reader) works well.

OK, with all the Ditko, I've gone back and compared this to his Marvel work. At first, I thought these stories were done quicker, but that doesn't seem to be the case. The artwork has evolved or the inking is different, and I can't quite put my finger on it. It seems a bit more simplified in these stories, but I don't know if that's the right word. A bit less kinetic, too.

Charlton must have had a copyright on "ghost"! 4 out of 5 of their books had that in the title!

Daniel [oeconomist.com] said...

Stories such as “The Wolf Howls for You” are structured like dreams about tales told in dance.

Mestiere said...

Ditko seems to have been one of those artists who worked a little less hard for Charlton, perhaps because of the lesser pay.

Wolves used to be far more aggressive to humans in Eurasia than North America. Throughout history they killed tens of thousands of people. The could reproduce far beyond the expected numbers of a large predator since the could feed on people's cattle, sheep, goats, etc., and of course, humans. For a long time farmers did not have effective weapons against them; even after the invention of firearms these were available only for the nobility. During the Little Ice Age the climate became unpredictable with relatively mild periods alternating with harsh winters. During the mild periods wolves would multiply in the wild and during harsh winters wolf packs would occasionally enter cities (even Paris) and even enter houses looking for easy kills.

In North America, where everyone has guns, 98% of wolves had been killed in the 48 contiguous US by 1940. Bold wolves were shot and curious ones fell in traps, leaving as survivors the shy ones.

Here is a curious story from a couple of years ago about a village in Russia besieged by 400 wolves.

Mr. Cavin said...

Hey, congratulations Dr. Theda!

Karswell said...

why is the second story a good example of why we should avoid these stories?

JMR777 said...

If nothing else, these two stories show us how tame horror comics turned into long after the horror comics witch hunt of the fifties was over. Compare Ditko's "Stretching Things" to these two tales and you will see the difference.

Brian Barnes said...

Kars said:

>why is the second story a good example of why
>we should avoid these stories?

Because they too easily become "as it turns out" style of writing. We are introduced to elements just as we need them, and we either get reveals without any clues (like the last bullet being silver or the stick just being in the right place, right time) or we get reveals where the clues are blindingly obvious (like in the case of the super-powered cousin, who stays a whole day/night cycle and should be obvious.)

They are good stories when done right, but a lot of comics are done under heavy deadline and little pay (especially then), and it tends to force writers into the easy writing tricks, and "as it turns out" is the worse.

"I've got you, Frankenstein's monster!"
"Arhh, monster kill you!"
"Ha, you can't, as it turns out, I'm a gorgon!"
Narrator: "And so the gorgon kills the monster, which is weird, because as it turns out, I'm a mummy!"

Karswell said...

And as it turns out, these concerns you speak of bother me not in the least... I mean, if I was looking for top notch written horror comics I suppose I would stick with whatever It is that actually qualifies. But just as I also love crummy ass old B and Z grade horror movies, I simply choose to look at it all as goofy fun entertainment.

Brian Barnes said...

Kars: Oh yeah, I'm in complete agreement. There's entertainment to be had with pretty much anything, and my babble is not meant to be anything other than some interesting analysis.

That's why comics are my favorite medium; there's so much to love and enough distinct elements that one can carry another; good art (in a horror story) can make up for shlocky story, and vice-versa, and then there's the pacing, the layout, all things you don't have in any other medium.

Karswell said...

I do put my foot down on bad music though.

Fran Xavier said...

IMHO the best of Ditko went to Warren Publ., Creepy, Eerie, etc. Two of the finest were the one about a haunted mirror in a hotel room, and the giant maniac chained up in an asylum (who resembled a deranged Burt Lancaster). He was a
great comic artist, and like Crandall, Frazetta, Ghastly & Davis, you could always tell his work.