Steve Ditko and Stan Lee’s brief back-of-the-book Marvel tales-with-a-twist were fun. But sometimes, like Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone TV series, they also carried a quietly effective theme about human nature. This one concerns the power and danger of propaganda, a message even more relevant in 2016 than in 1960.
In Tales of Suspense 8 (March 1960), a shape-shifting alien (a direct ancestor of the Skrulls) wreaks havoc until he’s captured because he made the mistake of assuming the form of a beloved astronaut dog who’s in space.
A silly surprise ending, yes, but the real message was slipped in earlier — that beguiling media propaganda can be used not only to dangerously misinform citizens, but even more insidiously to discredit the truth-tellers by spreading suspicion about all news sources.