Monday, September 22, 2008

The Undertaker

We kick off our Journey into Unknown Worlds Week today with a ghostly Fred Kida and Hank Chapman collaboration. I love creepy stories about mean undertakers, and this guy is one of the meanest ‘n creepiest. You most certainly know he’s gonna get what’s coming to him.

From the April 1952 issue of Journey into Unknown Worlds #10








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18 comments:

silvano said...

as you say , the ending is quite predictable ; nonetheless a good story with flawless artwork Kida is another underrated master ...
Thanks for sharing !

Mysterio said...

With a name like "Cyrus Scroggins", one would pretty much have to be an undertaker, hmmm?
I do have to hand it to old Cyrus, though-he was an ambitious fellow. Most "corrupt undertaker" stories involve the villain soaking the families for funeral fees, stealing valuables off the corpses, etc. Cyrus, however, goes the world domination route. Way to go Mr. Scroggins-if people put that sort of ambition to positive use, the world would be a better place for all of us.
(I'm also embarrased to admit I didn't see the twist coming. I knew it would involve the bum, but not in that specific manner.)

AndyDecker said...

Okay, I also didn´t see this coming - shame on me.

But this was quite an inventive story. Nice art too.

Mr. Cavin said...

Oh yeah, cousin Bert!

I love the old "loot corporeality" motif. It's just natural that anyone who can walk through walls and "leave ...no fingerprints" can also lug around pearls and cash. These poor things can't even carry bags, apparently. But coins and gold? No problem! I think the villagers should wrap sawbucks around their fists and start swingin'. But I'm hardboiled like that.

Absinthe said...

I didn't see the twist coming either!

But I did love that when he got his world domination plan going he started wearing the "I'm an evil genius" cape. Whenever your planning a spot of evil, don't forget your cape.

Karswell said...

Well, I don't remember saying the end was "predictable" but you just know how things will turn out for someone like Cyrus from page one... I for one never saw that end coming either.

Now tomorrow's story...

Kitty LeClaw said...

You don't suppose the "Reviving Serum" was perhaps an early incarnation of the Chemical Boner Pill?

And, "Cyrus Scroggins?" How could a guy not follow the dark path, with a name like that? Back in my day, "scroggin'" was a euphemism for Gettin' it On.

DrSpecter said...

Cool story! Very solid, creepy artwork. A little bit of Lovecraft's Charles Dexter Ward, but Scroggins set the bar lower.

I don't know if it's your thing, but if you like creepy undertakers, you should check out the first two Coffin Joe movies. It doesn't show him goofing around with cadavers too much, but there's lots of inspired Macumba stuff. And the DVDs come with reprints of 60s/70s CJ comic books illustrated in wonderful washes by an Italian named Nico Rosso.

Anonymous said...

GREAT TALE TO KICK OFF THIS WEEKS THEME. I THINK I LIKE THE STORIES THAT CHAPMAN PENNED MORE THAN THE STAN LEE ONES, THEY HAVE A FAMILIAR FEEL TO THEM BUT THEY SEEM TO ADD A LITTLE SOMETHING EXTRA AND NON PREDICTABLE THAN WHAT THE MAN USUALLY CAME UP WITH. I COULD BE WRONG THOUGH.

Karswell said...

>wrap sawbucks around their fists and start swingin'. But I'm hardboiled like that.

Nobody harder Mr C.

>Whenever your planning a spot of evil, don't forget your cape.

I have my own cape on right now in fact, not sure what the day has in store for me, or the world, as of yet... muh-ha-ha-ha-haaa

>perhaps an early incarnation of the Chemical Boner Pill?

Shari, I think you were thinking of the other undertaker, Cyrus Scrottums. He was on a totally different, though no less exciting domination agenda.

>the DVDs come with reprints of 60s/70s CJ comic books

Way ahead of you Dr Spectre:
http://thehorrorsofitall.blogspot.com/2008/03/coffin-joe-comics.html

Fangs for thinking of us though. Anyone else got any interesting tidbits of horror related anythings be sure to send 'em our way. It's always most appreciated.

The Fortress Keeper said...

I didn't find the ending predictable - other than, you know, justice would somehow be served. Actually, that last bit with the ghosts dropping money and valuables on the grave was genuinely spooky.

The Vicar of VHS said...

I love that on pg. 3, Cyrus has shut down all the other undertakers in town IN A MATTER OF MINUTES! Man, those guys must operate on a really tight profit margin...

The crowd of bereaved bargain-hunters on pg. 2 is great also.

I can buy the "souls as chemical reactions that can be jump-started by spiked embalming fluid" pseudo-science, but I too am having trouble with the "stealin' ghosts" idea. Seems like once they got to the door and phased through, the gold and jewels and stuff would get caught on the wood and drop to the floor. But I'm probably over-thinking it.

Patrick said...

What a great story today- I am glad I was able to sneak in some time to visit THOIA this afternoon! Always inspiring!!!

joe bloke said...

as always, a proper joy. is joy the right word?

Horror pariah said...

The science in this story is making my brains leak out my nose...seriously though,i love how it has so many random elements that come together at the end,it may be crazy,but it's certainly not routine.I also love the colorist's choices of blue and purple,really gives the whole story a gloomy atmosphere.

Zen Wizard said...

"Here's a bum we just fished out of the river. No need for an autopsy; we'll just carry him into your parlor without a stretcher or even latex gloves...so, should we just leave him anywhere or plop him on the couch, or what??"

Police procedure sure has advanced from that at "CSI-Miami."

Karswell said...

Your Journey into Unknown Worlds continues tomorrow with a bizarre tale of time travel terror from issue #9. See ya in the mourn!

Dane said...

Ok, so I'm late. But the first panel of page three; the "Peaceful Funeral Home" sign. If that were real, I'd be right there, man.