Friday, November 16, 2007

Steve Ditko Cover of the Week: House of Mystery #277

DC pulled the old Charlton bait and switch with this one. One of the strongest Ditko covers in a decade, but not a single pencil mark from the Sturdy One inside. Oh well, this one is worth tracking down for the cover alone, although it does have a nice little Pasko/Chaykin tale from which I learned my first Shakespeare lines. That's all obiter dicta, as the cover's the thing here. Wow, just wow. It was very powerful stuff, showing that Ditko was a master of design and atmosphere (a mixture of oppression and claustrophobia).

For some reason, DC never had Ditko do many covers for non-Ditko driven titles. That was a grave mistake, as this covers is stronger than 50 Ernie Chan covers. Those cackling faces are enough to give anyone anxiety. This cover has nothing to do with any of the interior stories (personally, I think it's a real stretch to link it to the 'Limited Engagement' story) , and I've often wondered if it was simply part of the DC inventory. This Ditko beauty grabbed my attention as a kid, and it still does a quarter century later.


Anonymous said...

Very nice pick Scott. The pose of the man in the centre is 100% vintage Ditko. And its exactly the pose I would assume if entirely hemmed in by a horde of maniacal and ever wide-mouthed Dikto visages!(I just love the head behind the man's right arm... how many times have we seen crazed distorted look from a Ditko character?). It reminds me a bit of Ghostly Haunts 25, only this DC cover trumps that Charlton book by sheer power of design.

Craig (benday-dot of CBR)

Scott M said...

You are right about that character's look. That's interesting you noted Ghostly Haunts 25, as I always thought that this one borrowed from Creeper #2. Hmmm... I wonder if there are more.