The first issue of this series, taking over the numbering from CHAMBER OF DARKNESS, features two Kirby reprints, both 7-pagers inked by Steve Ditko. Up first is “I Discovered Gorgilla”, from TALES TO ASTONISH #12 (1960).
Giant apes battling dinosaurs, gee, where else have we seen that?
Anyway, this story involves a group of scientists tracking down rumours of the missing link between apes and men in the mountains of Borneo. The succeed beyond all expectations when they find a living example in Gorgilla, but decide to leave him there when he saves them from a dinosaur also on the island, seemingly sensing his distant kinship with the humans. Y’know, the dinosaur would seem to be an even greater find than the missing link, and is just lying there dead for the taking, but I guess these guys specialize and have trouble seeing beyond their field (and I just realized that’s a bit of a flaw in KING KONG. You find an island with a large ape and with dinosaurs, and you make a big fuss about the ape?).
Also this issue, “Kraggoom”, from JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #78 (1962). It seems there’s a sort of shapeless creature waiting out in space, where he was exiled centuries ago by his people after trying to conquer the Earth. He waits for the day that mankind goes out in space and he can possess and control the first astronaut and continue his interrupted conquest. Fortunately for the Earth, the first astronaut turns out to be a spoiled rich guy who buys his way into the astronaut program, faking his test scores, so at the same time he’s possessed by Kraggoom he panics and loses all memory, repressing Kraggoom in the process.
Two pretty decent examples of some of the shorter monster stories that Kirby did, one big and loud and the other a quiet, moodier, more psychological story a clever twist ending. Ditko’s inks look good on both, although they suit the second one more (I always prefer Ayers on the rampaging monster type stories).
The cover is a slightly modified version of the Kirby/Ayers cover to TtA #12.