Thursday, October 8, 2009

Cave of Doom / Turnabout

We interrupt your cozy fall festivities today and plunge headlong into the Hell that is also known as winter. It's coming you know, and sooner than you think! The first tale finishes out our Harvey Comics theme with an Al Avison doozy from the July 1952 issue of Chamber of Chills #10, followed by another blast of chills with a "Flash Forward" Silver Age submission* from Dell's Tales from the Tomb one-shot from 1962. Bundle up kids, or you'll catch your death!






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Turnabout





(*And thanks again to Trevor for sending me the Dell scans!)

18 comments:

8thRay said...

Wow, Cave of Doom could be the stupidest story I've ever seen. I don't want you to think I didn't enjoy it though, I actually love stuff like that.

Turnabout, however was a minimalist masterpiece. Short, simple, direct and unsettling. I don't think you could actually write a story like that in short-story form and still have the same impact. It has to be seen rather than read.

Trevor M said...

I'm guilty of sending you Turnabout, Karswell. I have the comic, but didn't do the scan. I don't deserve any credit for that. I got the scan years ago via email from a friend and it turned me on to this one shot issue of TALES FROM THE TOMB.

Pretty much the whole comic is like this. I've read it described as "the greatest single horror comic ever" -- I don't know about that, but it really is something else. Actually feeling chills and getting unnerved as an adult reading a comic book -- leery to read the next story, but you want the rush so you have to -- that doesn't happen everyday. It's a hell of a comic book.

Mykal said...

Karswell: Loved both these stories. What a magnificent splash page on Cave of Doom - completely makes the story, and what a mind-bending concept with the “falling” stalactites.

Turnabout is just so beautifully done. What classy work. The Devil is in the details, as they say, and I love the details in the 3rd panel 2nd page. What a complete life is presented here with the sparse collection of books on the shelf over the bed, the pots and things on the mantelpiece, and jacket hung over the chair, etc.

A clean, nearly-spiritual story. Thanks for sharing. -- Mykal

Hex_Enduction_Hour said...

I really hate winter. Fall? Love it, but winter time sucks.

oeconomist.com said...

I saw “Turnabout” redrawn as a black&white during the bronze age. Busy right now, or I'd track it down.

Anonymous said...

TWO COOL STORIES, AND I AGREE THE CAVE OF DOOM SPLASH IS AMAZING! TURNABOUT IS ALMOST THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF THE FIRST STORY IN BEING SUBTLE AND SUGGESTIVE WHILE THE HARVEY STORY TAKES A MORE OBVIOUS APPROACH, BUT BOTH WORK IN THEIR OWN WAYS.

jpmorgan said...

These are a swell pair of stories... the 'cave' one is goofy fun, and the second one is a genuinely great example of storytelling; "show, don't tell"!

goblin said...

Uh… I have to admit, 'Turnabout' confused me a bit. Did the guy in the red jacket pass out in the snow and only dreamt of entering the cabin? And later woke up to find that it was exactly like in his dream?

Mykal said...

Goblin: Good on you for just saying, "I don't get it." Brave lad. My guess is you will get many different answers here with regard to a specific meaning, as part of the beauty is the story's dream-like quality.

My main interpretation is this: the man has had a near-death hallucination in which, upon recovering, his dream so matches his discovered reality that madness results.

Other times, reading the story, I feel that perhaps there is some dimensional, time loop thing happening, which sends the man screaming into the night upon its discovery.

And finally, there might be some sort of soul or body transference in which the dead man reclaims his warm bed.

I love this story, and it is one of my favorites that Karswell has blogged, not only because of its wonderful art, but also for a story that can result in this kind of discussion. -- Mykal

goblin said...

Thanks for the answer, Mykal (and also for calrifying that I don't have to feel stupid for asking)! :) Your third interpretation actually resembles my initial thought on the story, but then I found that explanation a bit far-fetched.

prof. grewbeard said...

"we're in the mouth of a giant john"? well, after all, they were also...men...

Turnabout was creepy- but i'm not sure i get it either. rather David Lynchian in that respect...

Karswell said...

My interpretation of Turnabout is that after the guy in red had moved the body outside he just got so comfortably snoozin' in the warm bed that he didn't even realize that black beard had come back into the cabin and pulled the 'ol body switcheroo on him by putting him back outside! Red Cap only awakens when he realizes he's started to freeze to death again outside. Maybe black beard wasn't really dead afterall too?

Trevor M said...

I always had a literal interpretation that was similar to Karswell's. But I'm sure the old prospector is dead. When the guy lifts him up he's stiff as a board and light -- like he's starved to death. Really creepy. The story reminds me of the classic poem The Cremation of Sam McGee. Something to listen to with the lights out like an old radio play: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZG9kP9kAiY

Mykal said...

Karswell: You've given another possibility! Although, Black Beard looked extremely dead; all stiff and desiccated. Also, Red Hat's horror at the end of the story suggests something more supernatural than a simple (live) body switch.

You picked a good one here, Mr. Karswell. Like Shakespeare, no wrong answers, only personal interpretation. -- Mykal

Chris said...

And the kicker is...Turnabout (and that whole Tales from the Tomb issue) was written by John Stanley of Little Lulu fame. He wrote 2 horror comics for Dell. Ghosts #1 and the above exerpted Tales from the Tomb. Both excellent, if idiosynchratic, horror comics!

Thanks, Karswell!

Karswell said...

For anyone interested in his lighter fare, there's an entire blog devoted to John Stanley here:

http://stanleystories.blogspot.com/

And if you missed it, check out this other Stanley scripted tale of terror from Ghost #1 that I posted back in August:

http://thehorrorsofitall.blogspot.com/2009/08/monster-of-dread-end.html

goblin said...

"Karswell: You've given another possibility! Although, Black Beard looked extremely dead; all stiff and desiccated."

Maybe Black Beard really was dead, but that didn't stop him from reclaiming his cozy, warm bed? It would also explain why Red Jacket fled from the cabin in horror in the last panel. The more I think about this story the more it gives me the creeps…

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