Monday, October 6, 2008

The Wolpire

As mentioned yesterday, we’ll be looking at the March 1954 issue of Adventures Into the Unknown #53 this week. All 4 stories in this issue are illustrated by Harry Lazarus and feature ACG’s gimmicky, though none the less highly attractive “3D effect” process labeled “TrueVision” which began in issue #51. The tagline “Life & Color – Without Glasses” can be defined simply by the fact that they blackened all the page borders and occasionally had a character’s limb or some random object break out of a panel. This is 3D. And this my friends is the day of--- The Wolpire!








TOMORROW: The Head Man!

20 comments:

todd said...

Yes Todd, the Wolpire is coming for YOU, tomorrow in fact!

I feel like I ought to have dressed up or at least baked a cake.

Awesome of you to post this, but the wolpire stands out in my memory as the most laughably lame monster ever. Was this still pre-code?

Come to think of it, the wolpire is a lot more frightening when faced with the threat of becoming one!

silvano said...

Great artwork , unintentional humour , silly dialogue ; this story has it all and even more , everything that makes pre-code comics LOTS of FUN !
Thanks for sharing !

prof. grewbeard said...

the look of this, what a great gimmick! in it's own way i think it's quite effective, but it is 3:00 AM and i am on drugs!

AndyDecker said...

Great splashpage! Terrific artwork. There is more background in one panel than in a whole issue of many of todays comics.

Doesn´t even matter that the wolpire looks like an Igor on steroids lol. With an frightening overbite.

Thanks for posting.

Mr. Cavin said...

What the h--?!? Okay, it doesn't matter: good job Pat, using your wake-up and teleport powers in the nick of time! "How did you get here!" "Uh, nevermind, honey!"

This TrueVision gimmick is really interesting. First of all, with the borders all so perfectly edged and rounded like that, it looks very much like TV. Compare with the first page of this. It's an effect bolstered by the pretend photographic depth of collaging sharp foregrounds over indistinct color-and-shading-only backgrounds. Noting the name, this was certainly the point, right? TrueVision equals television?

In the long run, I think it backfires as a gimmick: in a move to make things look more "lifelike" (and in this case, that means "more like television"--chills upon chills, man) they've clamped the images into much more brutal spaces--uniform, boldly constrained--which just serves to make the resulting work far more, instead of less, rigid. No amount of tiny protruding details can make this feel like freedom. Looks nice with that black THOIA background though.

Also, it's interesting that while the process is making it's play for "true" visual realism, the art is twice as Silver Age comic booky as I'm used to from pre-code stuff--Pow! Crak! Pow!--with a bad guy so red-yellow-blue he might as well be an X-Man.

Anyway, I loved it. All except for the second panel on page four. I always find it uncomfortable when the women on TV look at me like that.

Tim Tylor said...

"Different from ordinary vampires and werewolves... a supernatural freak..." All the regular vampires and werewolves laughed at it and kicked sand in its face at the beach until it took a Charles Atlast(tm) body-building course. Now it goes around in speedos to show off its big pecs.

I agree with Mr. Cavin - the "3D" art's impressive, but the gimmicky frames pretty much imprison it.

Anonymous said...

WOW I LOVE THIS. I THINK THE BLACK BORDER IS VERY EFFECTIVE AND GIVES EVERYTHING A CLAUSTROPHIC SURREAL FEEL AND LIKE MR CAVIN SAYS THE PAGES LOOK NICE ON YOUR BLACK BLOG BACKGROUND. COOL STORY TOO, REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO THE OTHERS.

Frederick said...

This is more what the vampire-werewolf hybrid in "Underworld" should have been like, instead of simply a less-wolflike creature. I mean, both have fangs, so how can you show a hybrid? They took the "less of a wolf" road, but they should have taken the "more of a vampire" path with a winged wolf like here.

Altho claiming to be 3D was a cheat, the effect of black borders and protruding elements was cool.

Emby Quinn said...

Awesome of you to post this, but the wolpire stands out in my memory as the most laughably lame monster ever. Was this still pre-code?

Barely, Todd, but yes. The infamous "Comic Book Hearings" (which brought about the formation of the Comics Code Authority) took place in April 1954. The CCA went into effect shortly thereafter.

As for the faux 3-D effect...I think it actually looked cool. Certainly better than a lot of the "real" glasses-wearing 3-D comics of the time.

goblin said...

I like how Barbara looks directly at the reader on page 4 and says 'Which means… there isn't a chance!' I can almost hear the music playing in the background… Dun-dun-dun-DUN!

Anyway, the art was great, but the story not so much. Don't know about you, but I doubt I'd be the least bit intimidated by a flying, hairy-chested bodybuilder in a speedo who calls himself 'The Wolpire'.

todd said...

I doubt I'd be the least bit intimidated by a flying, hairy-chested bodybuilder in a speedo who calls himself 'The Wolpire'.

Now we know where Slim Goodbody came from.

Horror pariah said...

What an 'Orabal'Orabal story!.

Dane said...

I like the effect of the black frames around the panels too. It may not be 3D, but it's a shame it wasn't a standard thing - it really makes the colors pop.

Fun story, too.

Karswell said...

I have to laugh at anyone making fun of the story, I mean come on, it's about a WOLPIRE! Good heavens people... let go and have some damn fun.

More TrueVision coming atcha tomorrow!

todd said...

Barely, Todd, but yes. The infamous "Comic Book Hearings" (which brought about the formation of the Comics Code Authority) took place in April 1954. The CCA went into effect shortly thereafter.

Thanks, E.Q. I thought so, but "wolpire" fits so well with new monsters they made up after 1954 to get around the ban on the words "vampire" and "werewolf." What I would really enjoy is a battle royal between the wolpire and Strawberry Shortcake where Strawberry Shortcake defeats him with sickly-sweet rhymes or something.

Karswell said...

>"wolpire" fits so well with new monsters they made up after 1954 to get around the ban on the words "vampire" and "werewolf."

That's an interesting assumption Todd, I never thought about that. And believe it or not, two other words banned were "terror" and "horror." Good thing no one came up with "Herror" or "Torror" though.

For anyone interested, here are some 1954 Comics Code highlights:

Crimes shall never be presented in such a way as to create sympathy for the criminal, to promote distrust of the forces of law and justice, or to inspire others with a desire to imitate criminals.

If crime is depicted it shall be as a sordid and unpleasant activity.

Criminals shall not be presented so as to be rendered glamorous or to occupy a position which creates a desire for emulation.

In every instance good shall triumph over evil and the criminal punished for his misdeeds.

Scenes of excessive violence shall be prohibited.

Scenes of brutal torture, excessive and unnecessary knife and gunplay, physical agony, gory and gruesome crime shall be eliminated.

No comic magazine shall use the word horror or terror in its title.

All scenes of horror, excessive bloodshed, gory or gruesome crimes, depravity, lust, sadism, masochism shall not be permitted.

All lurid, unsavory, gruesome illustrations shall be eliminated.

Inclusion of stories dealing with evil shall be used or shall be published only where the intent is to illustrate a moral issue and in no case shall evil be presented alluringly, nor so as to injure the sensibilities of the reader.

Scenes dealing with, or instruments associated with walking dead, torture, vampires and vampirism, ghouls, cannibalism, and werewolfism are prohibited.

Profanity, obscenity, smut, vulgarity, or words or symbols which have acquired undesirable meanings are forbidden.

Nudity in any form is prohibited, as is indecent or undue exposure.

Suggestive and salacious illustration or suggestive posture is unacceptable.

Females shall be drawn realistically without exaggeration of any physical qualities.

Illicit sex relations are neither to be hinted at nor portrayed.

Violent love scenes as well as sexual abnormalities are unacceptable.

Seduction and rape shall never be shown or suggested.

Sex perversion or any inference to same is strictly forbidden.

Nudity with meretricious purpose and salacious postures shall not be permitted in the advertising of any product; clothed figures shall never be presented in such a way as to be offensive or contrary to good taste or morals.

And yes, this all happened right here in America.

Pierre Fournier said...

"And yes, this all happened right here in America."

And how have things changed? I was watching "Imaging America", a documentary on contemporary art on PBS this weekend. It's 11:30 PM and, still, they bleeped someone who says "goddamn".

Kusunoki said...

Man, those zipatone backgrounds remind anyone else of the early Mad comics?

Laser Potato said...

Apparently, "werewolf/vampire"="yellow guy in a speedo".

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