Monday, July 19, 2010

The Fangs of Fate!

Here's another bonkers Mastroserio tale (see our previous post The Plant of Doom), also from the January 1953 issue of Out of the Shadows #7. For anthology style pre-code horror comics it's like a xmas bonus when a killer artist has two stories featured in one issue... and as you'll see next week in the following THOIA double header post from this same issue, this one has two stories from Jack Katz too!






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9 comments:

todd said...

His life's work is running a snake farm, and the third word out of his mouth is "slimy." Gold star to Jack Katz for research!

Karswell said...

Gold Star to you too Todd, the Jack Katz stories are coming up in the NEXT post... haha

todd said...

Better reading comprehension is why I ought to fix dinner before 3AM.

Ignorance of ophiology or not, though, Rocco Mastroserio is a damn cool name.

prof. grewbeard said...

re: Fangs- jeez, "bonkers" is the word! i don't know if i've ever seen a tale go to the next level of insanity with every single freakin' panel, right up the end! nice ghost soldier story too, a great twofer!

Anonymous said...

KICK ASS ONE ABOUT THE GHOST SERGEANT, I LOVE WEIRD WAR TALES LIKE THAT. THE FANGS STORY WAS COOL BUT FELT LIKE IT NEEDED ANOTHER PAGE FOR THE STORY TO MAKE MORE SENSE, I DONT KNOW........ GREAT ART ON BOTH TOO

Mr. Cavin said...

I'm not all that head-over-heels about the narrative storytelling in the snake story, though it is probably not the artist's fault. There seems to be an awful lot of large heads in these frames shouting the sequence of action at me. I'd rather, you know, someone draw a picture of an escaping snake than draw one of someone telling me about it.

The other thing about Fangs is that pythons, well, don't have them. Certainly not the fold-out venomous adder teeth depicted here. I was poised to credit this blooper to the writer as well, only first I followed Mykal's Black Fury story link from the last post--and lo and behold, this guy's wolves don't really look like Earth animals either. I mean, has he never even seen a dog? In all fairness, he certainly draws a horse very well, though.

Turok1952 said...

Yes, the artwork lacked some obvious beneficial factors, but I loved the simplicity of the story. After all, it's the morality tale of first sin begetting worse until the situation, spiralling out of control, exacts the inevitable from the one committing the first error, in this case, not the killing of Lowry but the illegal status of Kissack. How quickly something can go from minor peccado to absolutely deadly in a hurry.
Did anyone catch the Freudian appeal of the bookend on page four, panel five? Talk about subliminal placement...
There were several points of absolute hilarity in this tale for me. The first was how cowardly the bully, Lowry, is... was. Good riddance to him.
The second is how Dr. Kissack just finds victims wandering around in the woods. Then, one hard whack! of the cane and no more John Doe. Egad! The third victim looks like my Uncle Bill!
The kids in the last panel were funny, also, especially that kid who noticed that the big-headed little snake looked just like the correspondingly big-headed Dr. Kissack.
The funniest thing, though, was the panel in which the gargantuan python (agreed... impossible dentition!) was staring out of the barn's top window. I could just hear it growling, not hissing.
Gadzooks, how gruesome was the speculation by Kissack that he might buy a corpse from the undertaker.
Pure '50s pre-Code delight! Thank you!

Karswell said...

I love the mixed reaction from everyone about this story, makes it fun to post both the winners and losers, especially when people still have something interesting to say on a tale they find clunky. I find my tastes somewhat run in league with Turok's comment, I'm not really looking for rocket science writing or spot-on art research, I'm just looking for something fun and entertaining.

We're still rolling along on a look at Standard Comics' great pre-code Out of the Shadows horror series, two Jack Katz tales up next!

Mr. Cavin said...

Hm. I agree too, actually. I would much rather see someone make up what scary animals look like (those "wolves" are a good example) than gloss the story up with photo-realistic tracings. I like the purely fantastic impression of an subject based on the artist's untutored ideal.

That said, my negative reaction stems from the fact that several of the snake panels were obviously referenced from research photos--only photos of the wrong kind of snake. Can't blame a guy for trying! But can you imagine the unintended humor element of a plague story where all of the virulent rat-type rodents were replaced with photo-realistic drawings of bushy-tailed squirrel-type rodents?

But far from limiting my enjoyment of this story, it sort of makes it for me--as does the discussion. So I'm hardly complaining. Zounds.