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Sunday 10 June 2012

Giant from the Unknown

The Steve Ditko Comics Weblog has recently finished reprinting all the Ditko stories that are in the public domain. Looking through these, I found one with a distinctly Fortean theme, called “Giant from the Unknown”. This is a seven-page story that originally appeared in 1958, and begins with a farmer unearthing an apparently petrified giant while digging in a field. He calls in the archaeological experts, but as can be seen in the excerpt below, they assume it’s a hoax along the lines of the Cardiff Giant: “Back in the 1800s a farmer was digging a well near Cardiff, New York... claimed he found a giant petrified. It was no giant nor an ancient statue either. It was a fake. A fake that fooled a lot of scientists but made a lot of money for the farmer who let people see it for a price!”

[If you want to read Ditko’s story in full, you might want to read it now because I’m going to give away the ending on the other side of the picture...]
Needless to say, the giant in the story isn’t a hoax but a real creature, in a state of suspended animation, “from a wonderful civilization in the distant past”. While this ending might seem perfectly logical and satisfying to those of us who were raised on a diet of Ditko weirdness, it has to be admitted that it’s a rather bizarre idea in the context of 1950s science fiction. When people think of digging up proto-humans from the distant past they think in terms of ape-like hominid skeletons, not smooth-skinned giants with “intricate electronic material like transistors or something”. However, the idea does have a precedent in the esoteric writings of people like Madame Blavatsky and William Scott-Elliot in the late 19th century -- who imagined that the lost continent of Atlantis was populated by a highly advanced race of giants much like the one in Ditko’s story.

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