Saturday, October 10, 2009

Stick-in-the-Mud

Longtime THOIA reader Stephen Uhler submits to us a bloody good yarn from the May 1954 issue of Fight Against Crime #19. It's a vicious, mean-spirited tale that Stephen spent quite a bit of time attempting to track down over the years after having read it long ago as a kid, and with the help of Ben Samuels was able to get ahold of not only the story name and what issue, but also these great scans--- so thanks to both of you! And whata'ya know, the action this time actually takes place in Karswell's own home state of Misery!









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Vintage AD

17 comments:

Mark B said...

That's great that he could find the story. Nicely paced. Her dowdy degradation due to dishwashing is obvious to all. Do "mad cows" have to be put down like mad dogs? I just hope that kid can stop singing like a maniac.

I was going to suggest "The Ladykiller Returns" from Fight Against Crime #5 but you already have it! And in a much better scan than I could find. Horror art cliches and/or classic themes abound in this one by Lou Cameron.

http://thehorrorsofitall.blogspot.com/2008/04/lady-killer-returns.html

Mark B said...

I noticed how great that first panel is, and how the the small first panel on page 5 shows the murder from a different angle, but we see his fingers in that death twitch, and that brings the impact of the splash panel back to us. Thanks for this one Stephen.

todd said...

Ezra done raised that boy of his mighty fine indeed.

Mykal said...

Karswell: Sure, Hazel may have been a hydrocephalic, masochistic murderer, but who can't sympathize with her just a little bit? Ol' Ez and the farm hands would get on a persons' nerves pretty damn quick. "If that brat doesn't stop calling me 'maw' I'll strangle him!" - LOL.

Also, I love the direct gaze she gives the reader on page 3, last panel. "C'mon, Hazel, we'll need you to hold the flashlight." Jeez, the old guy is just begging for it. -- Mykal

aldiboronti said...

Love that Lionel Trains ad! Harass your old man until he coughs up the dough! I'd love to know what the Pop Persuader was. My guess is compromising photos of what Pa gets up to on his business trips.

prof. grewbeard said...

small detail- i thought it was interesting that the school teacher actually looks like a school teacher, and maybe related Charlie Brown...

Trevor M said...

I thought the last few panels were chilling. A normal kid would 'maybe' turn around and run if he wanted her to die. Instead he sits there and sings his little rhyme as she sinks. Did she turn that kid into a black hearted bastard -- or did he have it in him all the time?

Good story. Thanks, Stephen, and thanks, Karswell. I love reading about people tracking down "lost memory" old comics that had an impact on their youth. I've done that a few times, like probably most readers of THOIA.

Anonymous said...

A super story, easily on par with EC in terms of storytelling. Glancing over the scans it looked like a lot to read with all those yellow boxes, but it moved very fast. The art is pretty good too, and whoever was responsible made good on cramming it all in visually to make way for all that narrative.

Steven said...

Just a mention that the pencils on Stick-In-The-Mud, at least, are by Ross Andru. Not sure about the inking, looks like Mike Roy or Mike Peppe to me but could be Andru's longtime art partner Mike Esposito. Some Mike, anyway.

sfdoomed said...

Wow, that was brutal! That back gash in the splash had me postpone dinner for an hour.

I agree with Anonymous on the EC styling of this tale. And I agree with Trevor about how enjoyable it is to hear of found "lost comics" stories that had an impact on one's childhood.

Permission granted from this reader to have more good crime stories in the future!

Karswell said...

I've posted a few tales from Fight Against Crime over the years, just use the search engine at the top of the page for more... some of those stories are easily as gruesome, if not more so than some of the horror stuff! Special big thanks again to Stephen Uhler (and Ben Samuels) for the scans. And thanks to Steven for the penciller info too (jeez, it's like Invasion of the Steve's around here today, weird...)

Also, Trevor brings up a good topic for discussion, people finding "lost/found stories" from their youth. If you have one that you've recently reaquainted yourself with please tell us about it... or if you have a lost story you're desperately looking for, let us know the details and we'll see if we can figure it out. GCD and Lambiek can't do everything.

Okay, one last thanks to SFDoomed for granting me persmission to post more crime stories (haha) in the future, we'll probably get to that in November, the remainder of October will undoubtably be devoted to The Horrors, and starting this week it'll be WITCHES! So grab yer broom and a bubblin' cauldron and get ready to see some magic fly! It's coming atcha at, when else--- at midnight!

Karswell said...

William Zepf writes in with some great info on this story:

"Really enjoy your site.

Interesting that your story posted on Oct 10, was one featured in the notorious 1954 report to congress. See excerpt below:

Comic Books and Juvenile Deliquency Interim Report of the Committee on the judiciary

III. The Nature of Crime and Horror Comic BooksSPECIFIC EXAMPLES OF MATERIAL DEALT WITH AT NEW YORK HEARING To point out more specifically the type of material being dealt with, a few typical examples of story content and pictures were presented at the New York hearings on April 21, 1954. From the few following examples, it will be clearly seen that the major emphasis of the material then available on America's newsstands from this segment of the comic book industry dealth with depraved violence:

Story No. 7

Stick in the Mud (Story Comics)

An extremely sadistic schoolteacher gives special attention to one of her pupils in order to curry favor with the boy's rich, widowed father. In a year she succeeds in marrying the man, but he turns out to be a miser. She stabs him to death with a butcher knife approximately a foot and a half in length and 3 inches wide. The picture shows the body of the old man, limbs askew, falling to the floor, emitting a gurgle. There is a large hole in this back and blood is squirting in all directions. The wife is behind him clutching the bloody butcher knife. She says: "You stupid old fool! I've stood for your miserly, penny-pinching ways long enough! From now on it'll be my money *** and I'll spend it my way! Die Ezra *** die!" She then covers up her crime by throwing him into a pen with a wild bull that gores his body to pieces. She now has the money, but also the stepson whom she hates. The boy suspects that she killed his father and makes her chase him around the farm by calling her names. He leads her to some quicksand and she falls in. Several pictures show her as she begs the boy to get help. He promises to do so if she confesses to him that she killed his father. She does so, and he then lets her sink to her death. A closeup is shown of the terrified women, sunk into the quicksand which is slowing into her open mouth. The boy is quite satisfied with himself and walks about the farm humming a tune while others search for his "lost" stepmother.

It is appropiate to point out that these were not the only, nor the worst, pictures and stories gathred by the subcommittee during the investigation. In fact, they constitue a small sampling of the total array of crime and horror comic books available to the youth of this Nation.

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Actually, pretty good synopsis, I think."

Thanks again William!
--Karswell

Mykal said...

Karswell: Sounds like one hell of a good James Cain novel. -- Mykal

Lily Strange said...

Hazel's picture appears next to the phrase "self serving sociopathic beeyotch."

Anonymous said...

A REALLY GREAT STORY! SORRY SO SHORT I'M TRYING TO PLAY CATCH UP HERE!

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