Sunday, August 23, 2009

Operation Massacre / The Skull Stretchers

Had a request for something from THE THING a few months back (forget who it was though, sorry!) So, from the July '53 issue of THE THING #9, it's a dreadfully illustrated robo-yarn from John Belfi, but still fun none the less, and seriously saved by some madcap writing and a couple gory SOTI face stompin' panels (plus: look closely at the head at the bottom of the splash page! Ow!)

And congratulations again to Mr. Cavin, he's the big winner of the DRAW BOB HOPE Contest! Special kudos again to all who entered... (Mr. C, Lily, Jamieson and JP, please see the comments from Saturday's post for more!)








Joe Williams of Red Flag Comics writes in: "I've recently been reading more horror comics than usual and thinking about how or even if they work. I wrote a blog post discussing it and I'd like to hear some opinions from people who have read more horror comics than me on whether or not they think comics can actually be scary and perhaps which ones have scared them." Can comics be scary? Click HERE and let Joe know what you think.

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Haven't posted a text story here in awhile, so from the same issue of THE THING #9, comes the quaintly titled--- The Skull Stretchers!


16 comments:

prof. grewbeard said...

didn't Wertham use the foot-in-face panel on the last page of this story as one of his examples of extreme comic violence for Seduction of the Innocent?...

Karswell said...

You are correct Prof! Used in SOTI, page 339 w/illustration, and to quote Wertham, "Stomping on the face is a form of brutality which modern children learn early."

Hurrah!

Anonymous said...

BOY THE ART IS WEAK ON THIS ONE, FOR EXAMPLE WHAT IS THE ROBOT EVEN DOING IN THE FIRST PANEL ON THE LAST PAGE???? AND THE LAST PANEL ON THE FIRST PAGE TOTALLY LEADS YOU TO THINK THE ROBOTS ARE GIANT BECAUSE OF HOW SMALL THE SCIENTIST IS NEXT TO IT. STILL FUN THOUGH AND ITS ALWAYS GOOD TO SEE EXAMPLES OF WERTHAMS OUTRAGEOUS CLAIMS. I ENJOY THE TEXT STORIES TOO, SKULL STRETCHERS WAS ACTUALLY PRETTY GOOD.

AND NICE WORK MR CALVIN!!!!!

BEMaven said...

One of my less productive past-times involves inserting new dialogue into absurd old comic book stories.

But I seriously doubt I could come up anything as hilariously inane as this piece.

John Belfi has quite a few listings in comics.org... was this art typical of his output or was he having a bad day at his drawing table?

Mike H said...

The Skull Stretchers will be my next band's name!

Horror pariah said...

ROBOTS: TEACHING CHILDREN FACE-STOMPING, EARLY.

I'm going to make that into a shirt.

Hugomarink said...

Bad art on this one for sure, but "The Thing" is sure one of the GREAT pre-code horror titles.

Mr. Cavin said...

"AND NICE WORK MR CALVIN!!!!!

Thanks All Calps!

Man, listen to how much everyone dislikes the art today. I thought it was pretty bad, too, but I don't think it's, like, some kind of worst-of. I mean, I didn't have trouble following the plot, for instance. I have definitely seen comics with art so awful that I couldn't tell which panel to read next, which characters were consistently present from frame to frame, etc. Not that anyone ever said this was the worst comic art they'd ever seen or anything. I was just trying to keep positive. At least this was all very clear. (I like the panel where the one guy gives the other guy a wrench! Arghhh!)

Honestly, the writing in the text story was twice as hilarious, I thought.

"'I think you are insane,' came from the lips of the captain."

"And then suddenly came burning objects that hit them."

"Suddenly from in back of him a hand tapped him on the head with a club."

...are just three examples, though I like that scene where the one guy gives the other guy a club. Arghhh! Honestly, high school students should edit crap like this for a grade. And skull stretching! What a risible switcheroo.

I think we need to get this writer and that artist together. And suddenly from in heaven a match came up.

Tamfos said...

The TV antennae that proliferated on roofs across the country in the 1950's definitely made their mark on pop (and sub) culture, huh?

Favorite line: "--OR WE WILL DESTROY YOU FOR THE SAKE OF HUMANITY!" Jeez, if I had a nickel for every time I heard that...

Anonymous said...

cool stuff karswell, thanks!!

Karswell said...

Some fun comments on this one, thanks everyone... hope to dig a little more into the SOTI stuff in the coming months, so if anyone has scans or suggestions please let me know.

Mark said...

In my copy of SOTI, the foot-stomping panel appears on the sixth page of a 16-page gallery that appears between pages 212 and 213 of the text.

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