Ditko Monsters – Gorgo!, stories drawn by Steve Ditko, written by Joe Gill, designed and edited by Craig Yoe. YoeBooks!/IDW Publishing. 224 pages, $34.99 retail hardcover.
I realize I’m jeopardizing my Geekcred here, but when I was a kid I never was much of a monster movie fan. After I got past James Whale and Ishirô Honda, it was pretty much “if you’ve seen one slimy green tail, you’ve seen them all.” Of course, this was prior to the proliferation of porno.
My pathetically mature attitude kept me away from Marvel’s monster comics prior to Fantastic Four #1 (the first one). That changed with Fin Fang Foom and Strange Tales Annual #1, and it changed with Steve Ditko’s Amazing Adult Fantasy. (Memo to self: define “adult.”) It became impossible to pass up any Jack Kirby or Steve Ditko effort, be it superhero or monster. Hell, I even bought Ditko’s Hogan’s Heroes adaptations.
So, like many Baby Boomer Doctor Strange fans, I first encountered Gorgo in the 1966 Charlton reprint Fantastic Giants. The giant lizard shared the cover with a big ol’ ape named Konga, a bizarre caricature of the artist, and the legend “A Steve Ditko Special! 64 pages!”
I’ve waited almost fifty years for Fantastic Giants #2, and thanks to my pal Craig Yoe, it finally arrived in the form of a 224 hardcover, Ditko Monsters – Gorgo! He reprints a ton of Ditko Gorgo stories shot from the source material but painstakingly restored and fronted by a wonderful and highly informative introduction by the editor.
These stories are fantastic fun, which is exactly what they should be. Mystery Science Theater 3000 could riff the Gorgo movies, and they did, but these comics stories co-star such notables as John F. Kennedy, Fidel Castro and Nikita Khrushchev. Communism be damned; evidently, Castro and Khrushchev had licensing agents.
If I have one complaint, and it’s a minor one, the book could have used a table of contents and an index. Bitch, bitch, bitch.
So, you might ask, what happened to Konga? Where’s Ditko Monsters – Konga!? That would be next month. One good turn deserves another.