Friday, November 21, 2008

The Monster and the Model

Today’s post comes from the Sept-Oct 1951 issue of Weird Thrillers #1 and features a cool ‘n creepy, and rare, photo cover of Rondo Hatton (so says Overstreet but it sure doesn’t look like Rondo to me.) If you like stories where a dill weed cop says stuff like “holy mackerel!” in the face of evil, then you’ll find this one to be a fun and mildly spooky cracker jack of a tale, playing out more like a Lance Storm or Dr. 13 horror / crime adventure. Enjoy!

PS: Has today's cover mystery "monster" indentity been solved? Read the comment from Habakkuk Zylbyrbutz in the Saturday Nov 22 comments and tell us what you think.

TOMORROW: Speaking of Lance Storm, Brian Hirsch takes the horror reins this weekend and brings you 2 days of terrorific posts, including Lance Storm in Séance of Horror! Plus, a creepy severed hand tale from an early issue of Horrific. And just cuz Karswell’s taking a mini-vacation doesn’t mean you should miss ‘em!


And head over to Chuck’s Comic Book Catacombs sometime today for Sandflower of Venus, a THOIA submitted tale featuring some gorgeous artwork and tons o'swashbuckling action and chills! It’s also from the Sept-Oct 1951 issue of Weird Thrillers #1!


Anonymous said...

Somewhat predictable, but a lot of fun. I agree this feels like a series story. As for MONSTER A-GO-GO, no thanks i'll pass on that one, but i haven't seen GIANT SPIDER INVASION in years, kinda fun to watch with a slew of sarcastic friends.

Pierre Fournier said...

Great cover, but I agree, that's not Hatton (who died 5 years prior to that cove date).

Anonymous said...

So, was the heroine of “The Menace of R-Day” yet another red-head? ('Twould be a fine thing indeed! Maybe I should start my own line, in which all the heroines are red-heads.)

Mr. Cavin said...

"Don't hand me that baloney!"

Awesome. I love these stories where the obvious, unbelievable paranormal hokum is revealed to be something far less believable. Ghost pollution can't exist! So this must be receiver-free personally-interacting holographic fifties TV signals! That's why all of the so-called ghosts are in black and white!

I was buying it all until they managed to triangulate the fixed point with just one roving signal indicator. That's just illogical.

My favorite part of the writing here plays over a sequence of three panels, beginning at the third on page five:

Bewildered Mayor: "We can't afford to lose a minute!"
Breathless Narrator: "And so minutes later..."
Detective Carlton: "I guess this all can wait a few minutes!"

And I loved the no-nonsense art. Or at least the inking. This guy, whoever he is, has a real solid and vibrant brush stroke, making this entry sort of straight forward and premeditatedly clean shaven where many similar workaday pieces come off feeling slapdash and inert. No bells and whistles, not much imagination, just pure and demonstrable craftsmanship. I'd like to see the art without the color sometime.

Unknown said...

Donna could have been a beautiful model, with a dead snake around her neck.

Mr. Cavin said...

PS, I respectfully disagree about the cover. It looks like Rondo to me. I mean, it's an obviously manipulated image, over-colored and further flattened by a loss of contrast, probably due to generation loss. But that's Hatton's lips and nose, squinty eyes and deep facial features for sure. I think he's just a little older here than we are used to seeing him. This was the best comparison image I could quickly find (not that I have any doubt that everyone here knows what Rondo looks like already).

Anonymous said...

And I will have to respectfully disagree with Mr. Cavin. That is definitely NOT Rondo Hatton. Not only did he die in 1946 (the same year "Brute Man" was released and therefore never afforded the opportunity to get much older than the man we're used to seeing) but as a victim of acromegaly, he shares some of the same basic facial features with others so stricken, muddying accurate identification somewhat. This model's nose and lips are distorted in the characteristic fashion of the disease, much like Hatton's, however his brow is far more pronounced than Hatton's ever was. Also, Hatton's longer nose had a notch in its bridge. Most significant of all, Hatton's skull was far more gracile than this gentleman's. This poor fellow bears a closer resemblance to the Swedish Angel, but I wouldn't say that this was the that famous wrestler either. I worked extensively with photo-reference on Hatton (and other acromegaly sufferers) for a few years, so I may be a bit more anal about this than the average bear.

Anonymous said...

I dunno, couldn't it just be a retouched photo of Mr. Hatton? The editors might have wanted to use his distinctive face, but wanted to avoid paying fees to Universal (or whoever)... so, out came the retouching brushes!

Mr. Karswell said...

I've heard collectors (and price guides) say for years that this is Rondo on the cover and I've never for a second agreed. I even think the pic link that Mr C provided is actually further proof of how much this doesn't look like Rondo (sorry Mr C!). So unless the person on the cover is him under a bunch of make-up (or in re-touched phot) and taken before he even died and then finally used 5 years later I say we have a more interesting mystery on our hands than the model vs the transmission monsters. Holy Mackeral!

Mr. Cavin said...

(sorry Mr C!)

Oh no, don't be. I was just as gullible today as I was yesterday, and I have to respectfully say that Anonymous up there completely convinced me. Anon, you didn't need to go any further than "Hatton's nose had a notch..." but I'm glad you did. Now I've spent a good little bit of time reading up on acromegaly, which I had no idea so predictably affected the face.

In my initial post, I assumed that the lighting we are used to seeing on Mr. Hatton was so extreme that a photo lit another way would certainly make him look a little different. But your suggestion of the Swedish Angel (here) made me start thinking about how I don't think I've ever seen a publicity photo of Rondo shirtless.

So while I could easily be convinced that the photo is the wrestler or isn't, I now for certain know that there were several people on Earth who looked confusingly similar (and several wrestlers referred to as "the Swedish Angel, confusingly enough), and that the photo on the cover here is certainly one of the other ones, not notchy old Rondo.

Anonymous said...



Patrick said...

Black Magic blackmail?? Sounds like a good place to send fan mail to bands like Venom!

This story would have worked well as an episode of Scooby Doo!

The Vicar of VHS said...

Well, I don't want to get into the identity of the cover model--though suffice to say I think the Duke may have been spreading his seed in the area a few decades prior. However, I do like the wild story we've got today!

* I don't know about you, but I always call detectives when I have a bad dream. That's why the PD loves me so much.

* "Go back to sleep like a good little girl! Good night, sweetheart!" Condescend much?

* Guest appearance by Fin Fang Foom on p.4!

* Those guys running from the dragon are really BOOKING.

* LOVE Dr. Diablo. I wish I could get my beard to fork like that.

* There are some really unnatural body positions in this, like Carlton on p. 5--I've left plenty of rooms in a hurry, but I don't know that I ever struck quite THAT pose.

* On p. 9: Carlton really shouldn't be licking toads. That's a myth, anyway.

* "The Case of the Monster and the Model!" Shouldn't it be "The Case of the Monster and EVERYBODY IN THE CITY"? Well, I guess if you catch the villain, you get to name the case.

Cool story, Karswell!

Mr. Karswell said...

Monster A Go Go is a terrible film.