Sunday, January 3, 2010

Death and Tommy Norton

We'll be taking a look at Atlas comics all this week, in particular the entire August 1952 issue of Mystic #11. Today's John Romita tale is a predictably fun example of Stan Lee's "Pipsqueak in Peril" brand of shivers and laughs, perfectly balanced with gee-golly willickers innocence and cold blooded brutality. Starring Margaret Hamilton as evil Aunt Elvira, Terry-Thomas as spineless Raymond, and Dean Stockwell (in an early performance) as Terrific Tommy Norton!









COMING UP: Murderous Monsters and more Mad Killers-- it's MYSTIC #11 in its entirety!

14 comments:

Blooming Psycho said...

Seeing Stan Lee's name reminds me of a recent real life horror. Disney bought Marvel. AAAIIIEEEE!!!!!

Blooming Psycho said...

Either the old biddy's skull was pretty soft, or that was one high-velocity cork!

Karswell said...

>Disney bought Marvel

I'm actually interested in seeing what Disney can do with Marvel... maybe get the heroes animated like they should be and knock off all this lousy live action bullshit that doesn't translate. Hell, I thought Princess and the Frog was a thousand times better than all the Raimi Spiderman turds combined.

Mr. Cavin said...

You didn't like any of the Raimi Spiderman movies? I'm pretty impressed. That's a very unique position among moviegoers. I liked them all, by the way. Opposite from you, I guess, yet still plenty unique, since most goers totally reviled that last one.

I don't like the X-Man movies though.

Oh yeah, the topic at hand. It's interesting the devaluation of modern money apparent in comparison with this tale. Fifty thousand dollars? Even in this recession, I don't think I'd buy a lottery ticket for the chance to win fifty thousand dollars. What am I going to blow it on, a tricked-out Acura? The Criterion Collection on Blu-ray and my sophomore year? One kitchen and one half-bath?

Yet this woman would kill everybody in her whole two-story corner-lot brownstone for it. Madness. That would be a four million dollar house today (assuming this is Manhattan).

I liked the art here, and even though the story was silly and telegraphed I enjoyed the writing, too. But I thought I'd point this out because it's the sort of thing that can slip by unnoticed, masquerading, as it does, as a completely logical statement:

"It took only eight minutes for the medical examiner to reach the scene of the crime... but his verdict would never be forgotten..."

But, really, the construction of the paragraph above makes absolutely no logical sense: gee whiz-- [interval] occurred however [unrelated statement] is remembered [regardless]! Stan Lee was scribbling in such a headlong manner that he frequently boggled himself in this kind of way.

Thanks Karswell!

Anonymous said...

this one's a gud un'.

prof. grewbeard said...

Sam Raimi's a freak and over-rated. how's that for unique?...

once again, love the pretty colors. it's a Carnival of Color at Atlas Comics!

Tamfos said...

I'm about to take my own unique position (among these posts, anyway) and say that this story was awful. It's so clumsily paced that Stan must have written it in about 8 minutes, and whether we should blame him or his letterer for the spelling errors, they're still there.

Which isn't to say I'm unappreciative of your efforts in showing it to us, Kars. I'm very grateful to get this chance to compare the mediocrity with the finer stuff. You can't get an accurate sense of the history of comics looking at only the very best material of past eras.

goblin said...

I don't know, I really enjoyed this story. Usually, I'm on the fence when it comes to Stan Lee's horror stuff, but this was one of his better efforts, IMHO. I thought the matter-of-fact tone of the introduction was hilarious for a story with such a grim topic (it's about attempted child murder, after all):

"Tommy Norton was a very lucky boy! He was rich and healthy and happy…
There was just one thing wrong…
His guardians wanted to kill him…"



PS: I know I'm a bit late, but still: Happy New Year, folks!

Anonymous said...

I LIKED THIS ONE ALOT TOO, GREAT ART AND YOU CANT BEAT AN EARLY BIT OF TASTELESS ATTEMPTED CHILD MURDER FROM OLD STAN LEE. I SOMETIMES WONDER WHAT STAN THINKS OF SOME OF THESE TALES HE WROTE OVER HALF A CENTURY AGO.

LOOKING FORWARD TO THE REST OF THIS ISSUE!

Mykal said...

Karswell: Loved the art in this one. The green and yellow faces – the red and white faces - done in dramatic close-up, were easily worth the price of admission; as was Aunt Elvira! Man, she can enter the contest for meanest female character of THOIA! Raymond was cool, too, although you would think at some point he would learn not to ask Elvira how she could do such despicable things. Every time he did, she whooped the beans out of him.

I'm with you on the Disney takeover - what's the fear? Marvel might go commercial? Please. Go Disney! They still have Walt's potent ghost to keep them honest and high quality. -- Mykal

8thRay said...

I was flabbergasted by the unexpected shock surprise ending! And what continuity??? I guess Stan couldn't make up his mind whether the soldier was wooden or tin.

To echo Tamfos' post above, don't think I don't appreciate the hell out of this site even if I excoriate one of the stories. I actually love them all!

Karswell said...

Yeah, I never said they'd all be winners. "You take the good, you take the bad, you take them all and then you have-- The Horrors of it All!" (sung to the tune of The Facts of Life, of course!)

NEXT: Horror in the City!

Anonymous said...

Great stuff
When reading I was remindedabout same issues in
[url=http://www.avg-free.us]avg free[/url]

Rosiebinns said...

I'm about to take my own unique position (among these posts, anyway) and say that this story was awful. public records It's so clumsily paced that Stan must have written it in about 8 minutes, and whether we should blame him or his letterer for the spelling errors, they're still there.