Two Kirby reprints from 1960 in this issue. “The Return of Taboo” is from STRANGE TALES #77, a sequel to the original Taboo story of two issue earlier. This 7-pager is inked by Dick Ayers. In the previous story, the would-be world conqueror from the Amazon swamp was fooled into going out into space with an H-bomb and blown up. Now his pieces return to earth, and eventually piles of mud from all over the world begin to merge in Central Park, where Taboo finally reconstitutes himself. Following a short reign of terror, Taboo issues an ultimatum to a defiant humanity.
Suddenly, a giant ship descends with more of Taboo’s race. The future looks bleak for humanity when suddenly… well, I won’t spoil it, but it’s probably the most common stock ending for the giant monster stories.
Despite the cliche ending, it’s a fun story. I rather like the defiant humans and brave cop panels on the page above.
The cover is also reprinted from STRANGE TALES #77, which is mostly the splash page to the story, with numerous small modifications. Further modifications were made for the reprint.
Following a Ditko solo story there’s a 5-page Kirby/Ditko collaboration, “We Met in the Swamp” from TALES TO ASTONISH #7. A reporter goes out to see if there’s a story in the old hermit out in a swamp who keeps staring at the sky. Slow news day, I guess. Anyway, the hermit tells his story of his youth, when he stumbled across an alien ship trapped in the swamp. He helped them out, in return for a promise of treasure, only to find out when they were leaving they were the advance scouts for an invasion force that will someday return. He vows not to open their treasure, and to wait for their return to warn humanity. The reporter opens the treasure and sees it is empty, and assumes the hermit was making everything up, but the hermit realizes that to beings travelling between galaxies, air would be a valuable treasure. Yeah, I don’t buy it either. But presumably he’s still out there in the swamp, waiting for the aliens to return.
The Kirby/Ditko art is always nice to see, especially with the swamp setting that they both did so well, plus the rather cute looking aliens.