Monday, August 6, 2007

Undertaker

Just a few numbers shy of their last pre-code issue, Harvey Comics proved they still had an ace or two up their spooky sleeves with the April 1954 issue of Witches Tales #24, specifically, Howard Nostrand's subtle yet terrific terror tale quickie Undertaker, and his inventive use of text to enhance the story progression to it’s… final... horrific… conclusion.





11 comments:

Anonymous said...

one of my favorites.....got this one in a 80s reprint in black nd white though that also went so far as to just use the cover of witches tales for their cover as well!!!!!!! definally one of the best....

Anonymous said...

THIS IS A COOL CREEPY STORY, BUT COULDN'T HE JUST SCREAM THOUGH AND THEY LET HIM OUT OF THE COFFIN BEFORE THEY PUT HIM IN THE OVEN? HAHA

Karswell said...

If the coffin had eyeholes then yes, otherwise he'd have no clue where he was going until it was too late.

Anonymous said...

LOOKS A LITTLE JACK DAVIS ART TOO. EEVRYONE WAS COPYING HIS STYLE.

Anonymous said...

love the new skeleton that creeped his way into the banner!!!!!!

Karswell said...

Man you don't miss a thing, I just added that half an hour ago!

Anonymous said...

Weird how they say these comics were upsetting traditional family life and values;when the whole story is basically a "don't disobey your father even if he's an abusive domineeering prick" weird how Doxy has to die at the end even though he hasn't done any real crimes,like say;murder or rape as in the EC.'s,and speaking of EC,the art isn't wholly a Davis rip-off,I see a definite Eisner influence in the layout,however,the ending IS swiped from an EC story("For the love of death")but EC probably swiped it too,knowing them.

Karswell said...

Eisner is definitely a good comparison on this one... when you see how much better a story can / could be with great hand drawn typography you wonder why more artists didn't make the attempt.

And I agree about EC, as much as I love their books I always find it unfair when something gets blasted as "an EC swipe" ...unless of course it's totally blatant in the art dept.

Karswell said...

For example I was just reading my new Tales From the Crypt Vol. 2 hardback and the story The Living Death from issue #24 is clearly an uncredited swipe of Poe's Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar.

Anonymous said...

The TALES FROM THE CRYPT VOL.2 archive was filled with great artwork,but the stories pissed me off,most were predictable and derivative,there was a huge element of fun missing,except for a few stories("Bats in my belfry" was great,so was "the trophy" and 'political pull",and i loved the sexy/disgusting zombie in "Ants in her trance",also a Valdemar swipe.)the ads for the pictures ate into too many stories(I actually have one.)and the stories i liked best were ironically the ones i knew the endings to,which i saw in the movies(a LOT of the VOH movie can be found here.),I liked the first volume more even if the EC. twist was yet to be perfected,but i guess the reason i didn't like the volume as much was just that i bought it because there wasn't anything else to buy,and i was spending money i won from an art contest(ironically featuring the Vault-keeper)while broke,tell me what you thought about it,even if its off subject,I'd love to read someone with the opposite of my opinion.

Karswell said...

I finally finished the TALES VOl. 2 collection and sort of agree with you, alot of good art, but alot of so-so story telling... especially considering that we've both obviously already read the old Cochran reprint versions so we know what to expect in the later collections in this series still to come. Seems I liked the same stories you did, but add Ventriloquist's Dummy which of course has a great twist ending. I didn't remember ever reading this one before and the whole time I was thinking, "Crap, a swipe from the Michael Redgrave segment of Ealing's Dead of Night '45." But nope, very happy with the way that one turned out. If only the rest of the issues had stories as weird and inspired.

Still, I'm very much looking forward to the remaining Gemstone releases... I have a friend who's not too happy about the new color process they're using on them and I sort of agree but still these are better than nothing and totally worth it (when buying them half price online!) They've added Vault of Horror to the release schedule line-up, and here's hoping they get started on the Haunt of Fear soon as well!