Friday, August 26, 2016

"Your viciousness blackened me!" Tales of the Mysterious Traveler #19 review

Steve Ditko's publisher Robin Snyder recently released another new Ditko comic, Tales of the Mysterious Traveler #19. They are currently preparing another one via Kickstarter, so check it out if you're any kind of Ditko fan.

The new book is (like all Ditko-Snyder titles) a black & white book. As the Mysterious Traveler property seems to be in the public domain now and because of Ditko's history drawing for that title at Charlton in the 1950s, he and Snyder have revived it as a series of part-new part-old stories. This issue contains seven Ditko stories, with the leading one the only new tale.

Said new tale, "Both Ways," concerns a scientist who takes out his rivals by planting a bomb in their room then confronting them while wearing bomb-proof armor so he can gloat before they die. However, one of the victims' sister vows revenge. Another recent tale is "Your Shadow Knows," in which a killer is tormented by his own shadow, which refuses to serve as a collaborator to an evil man; Ditko has a great history with living shadows, such as this fellow from his Marvel days.

Only two of the tales actually include the Mysterious Traveler, but at least there's enough to validate the book's title. One tale, "Test of a Man" features have shadows and thick lines quite unlike what Ditko is known for - different, but I like it. I wouldn't be surprised to learn he had an inker on that story

I should also note after my disappointment with Jim Salicrup's introduction in yesterday's post that Snyder's introduction opens with a proper reference to the Mysterious Traveler intro and closes by referencing the outro. See how easy it is when you put in more than a token effort?

My Kickstarter rewards included a copy of 2009's Ditko Once More. It's a collection of some of Ditko's more didatic writings about objectivism, the sort of arch straw man tales he's frequently told on his own. However, one of these is actually quite good! In it, one man (his usual straw man type) argues there are no truths; the other makes the above argument, to which the first must concede. This gentler, funnier side of Ditko should come out more often - it makes his editorials much more entertaining.

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