Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Death Statue

The last story from the October 1953 issue of Mysterious Adventures #16… hope everyone enjoys it, or that you are at least as equally revolted by it as I am (maybe you’ll identify the panel in question too when you get to it.)








TOMORROW: We jump on the Time Machine again and head 20 years into the future with some scary 70’s fun from Jerry Grandenetti and Don Perlin... plus more ads too!

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27 comments:

Dane said...

Am I just jaded? I might have overlooked a small (or large!) but crucial detail. Which was the revolting panel?

oeconomist.com said...

Af— after reading that story, I just can't hold it in any more! I have to tell people! I have to tell! I know the horrible secret of the Precious Moments statuettes!

Horror pariah said...

I'm pretty sure the revolting panel was of John covering up her naked body. But it doesn't matter;
John Weatherby is born!.

Karswell said...

Well, some of you may laugh or call me sensitive maybe, but evil Karswell actually prefers his entertaining horror stories with less child murder. Especially when depicted as it is on page 5 with Weatherby holding the terrified child's head back by his hair and thrusting a knife towards his neck. Maybe being a father myself I just found it in bad taste (even for a pre-code comic.)

Of course I have no problem with the old guy getting his brain's bashed out with a hatchet on the other side of the panel though.

Lily Strange said...

Yeah, I'd have to agree, that is in bad taste.
I'm glad that the sculpture class I posed for about 15 years ago didn't think I'd croaked during one of the many points while I dozed off and decided to take a shortcut by covering me in plaster.

Tim Tylor said...

Agreed, that makes me wince a little. :P

Supernatural vengeance aside, I can't recommend the "passing off a coated corpse as a statue" approach to art. It requires nifty embalming, and careful placement of concealed weights to stop the item feeling suspiciously light or unbalanced when moved. One of those "short cuts" that turns out to be the scenic route, so to speak.

AndyDecker said...

This is the pressure of an commercial artist. You have to produce and produce and ...

Speaking of pressure, shouldn´t the statues burst at some time when the corpses decompose? Oh, never mind :-)

Emby Quinn said...

Karswell actually prefers his entertaining horror stories with less child murder. Especially when depicted as it is on page 5 with Weatherby holding the terrified child's head back by his hair and thrusting a knife towards his neck.

Yeah, even mondo-jaded Emby cringed at that panel. I saw where this story was headed from the first splash page, but that one image still jarred me something fierce.

Anonymous said...

Murder is murder, but if you ask me, that terrible lettering on the newspaper banner on Page four is truly revolting!!!

sfdoomed said...

I had to go back and look closer after Karswell mentioned the child. Pretty twisted and disturbing, but I suppose it makes this true horror.

The House of Wax came out the same year as this comic. I wonder who was first with the idea.

Anonymous said...

THIS WAS AN INCREDIBLE ISSUE, BUT GOING THROUGH YOUR ARCHIVES IT SEEMS LIKE ALL THE MYSTERIOUS ADVENTURES STORIES YOU'VE POSTED OVER THE YEARS HAVE BEEN TOP NOTCH AND ON PAR WITH EC. I THINK MY FAVORITE STORY FROM THIS ISSUE WAS DEATHS REVENGE BUT TODAYS HAD THE MOST JAW DROPPING MOMENT. IS THAT THE CHILD IN THE 2ND PANEL ON PAGE 6 THEN AS JUST A BUST? UH...........

blackwalnut2001 said...

This is the sort of thing that often separates parents from non-parents. Even those of us who are not especially child-friendly in general will in some sense come to regard ALL children as "our children" after we have one of our own. The thought of harm coming to any child becomes much more personal. (Even a thought engendered by something as depersonalized as a cartoon.) My first encounter with this, shortly after my own sprout assumed human form, was in watching the Mel Gibson movie "Ransom." Before, I would have thought it nothing but a fair thriller, but all of a sudden I couldn't stand it. You project yourself in there, and it just about makes you nauseous.

The Hays Code stipulated that "cruelty to children" should be "treated within the careful limits of good taste" in film.

I cannot find any specific reference to children in the Comics Code. Which I think rather odd.

Very fine issue of Mysterious Adventures all around. A strange amalgam of brutal subject matter and a strange aversion to RED BLOOD. (This was obviously a choice.) "Pound of Flesh" is a true classic of nastiness.

Chuck Wells said...

Totally missed that panel the first time, Karswell, but the story was pretty good and I enjoyed it.

Anonymous said...

yeah that was in bad tast but just the way i like it

Patrick said...

Killing in the name of art! Very gruesome indeed! Although it certainly could have been much worse if the corpses had indeed exploded during decomposition. Now that would have made for a true "Splash Panel"!! Thanks again for the lunchtime horror fix Karswell!!

prof. grewbeard said...

wow, i get to be the only person so far to bring up "Bucket Of Blood"! the film, i mean...

"be a nose, BE A NOSE!"

Bucket Of Pink Blood?

the child-killing panel was indeed shocking...

Dane said...

Hm, I guess I am completely jaded. I registered it but glanced over it.

Of course, I'm not a parent. I do remember something about a particularly nasty dog-killing in a story recently - the one about the defrosted cavewoman - and was sickened by that. Maybe it depends on what species your kids are.

buzz said...

The good Prof beat me to it: I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if either Corman or scriptwriter Charles Griffith had read this tale years before BUCKET OF BLOOD was made.

The Vicar of VHS said...

I couldn't register the child-killing that sickened Karswell, since I was still in shock from the large panel on pg. 4:

OMG HE KILLED WONDER WOMAN!!! D-8

As others have pointed out, this premise gets used again and again, in House of Wax and Bucket of Blood just to name a couple. Still, I kind of like the cluelessness of this guy, trying to buy a sandwich with a statue, and then later ASSUMING the cops will think he croaked his wife rather than letting the coroner determine it was a heart attack. I guess it's that artistic temperament.

For me, the think that makes the whole story is that ending narrative "HMNNNN?" I just think of some creepy smarmy guy who looks like John Waters with his eyebrowns raised in a manic manner.

Great, disturbing stories as usual, daddy K!

Dane said...

OMG HE KILLED WONDER WOMAN!!! D-8
Ha! I noticed that myself, but was so wrapped up in finding the really grisly thing I missed that I forgot to say anything.

Horror pariah said...

Prof. Grewbeard; didn't "John Weatherby is born!" set off a bell?. Or as Maxwell the poet would say; a cotton gong?. Just kidding.

Keith said...

Great stuff! MYSTERIOUS ADVENTURES had to be one of the best "other guys" out there.

Karswell said...

Wow, I love when we finish up an entire issue with a 20+ comment bang. Thanks everyone, and what an interesting array of comments too I might add! I just hope I can find something else to top this issue, and promise I will give it an enthusiastic shot on Thursday when we kick off another full issue from the occasionally cool 50's Beware series from Trojan.

Tomorrow: Time Machine time again! Don't forget your elephant flares.

todd said...

"Still, I kind of like the cluelessness of this guy, trying to buy a sandwich with a statue, and then later ASSUMING the cops will think he croaked his wife rather than letting the coroner determine it was a heart attack. I guess it's that artistic temperament."

Isn't it standard practice to cover loved ones who die of natural causes with plaster and not report it? Maybe not where you're from.

Ardsgaine said...

To get the genealogy of this style of murder, you would have to go back at least as far as 1928's "The Abominable History of the Man with Copper Fingers" by Dorothy L. Sayers.

Anonymous said...

"Still, I kind of like the cluelessness of this guy, trying to buy a sandwich with a statue, and then later ASSUMING the cops will think he croaked his wife rather than letting the coroner determine it was a heart attack. I guess it's that artistic temperament."

Wife? I thought it was his sister.

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