Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Girl Who Wasn't There

From the July 1954 issue of The Tormented #1, here's the last of the four stories from this frightening first issue (see our previous post for links to the other three) ...I also included the two-page text story so you pre-code completists don't start complaining. This is a nice sort of Twilight Zonie tale of witchcraft and the supernatural, with some fine work from Mike Sekowsky, in particular his lovely rendered young ladies, both good and evil!


goblin said...

I'm quite impressed with 'The Tormented #1.' All four tales were really enjoyable, both art- and story-wise. It's a shame this series only lasted for two issues. So, with this I'd like to make a humble request: Do you happen to have the second issue too, Karswell? Because I'd really like to see if it's as good as the first one.

Anonymous said...

The bad guy wins again!!!! Love it! Boy, we need more of these!

Gumba said...

Maybe Werthem was right -- the only moral in this story is become a witch and get everything you want! BTW, what a misuse of powers! All that work to start in a low rent play? You think she could have put the "erase from existence" into better use! What next, to get a discount at the donut shop?

Another gorgeous raven haired beauty who becomes not so beautiful at certain periods. Again rises the question: Is she good dating material?

Cons: Turns into a hag.
Pros: Most of the time isn't, and can make your enemies disappear permanently!

Tamfos said...


To be fair, she does seem to be working her way up -- first actress, then producer of a low rent play. Maybe she's just trying the spell out for the first time, you know? B'way is certainly the next step.

And I'm with Anon. Seeing another story so soon where the bad guy wins is refreshing. I mean, really, can it qualify as a "horror" story if the good guy prevails?

Daniel [] said...

As I was going up the stair,
I met a girl who wasn't there.
She wasn't there again to-day,
And yet, somehow, I wished she'd stay.

Odyzeus! said...

So good to see Sekowsky getting the love he deserves. There was a time (and perhaps in some places it continues to this day) that Sekowsky was much maligned in fandom. I never could understand why.

21 years ago I bought the original artwork to a 5 page Standard War story by Mike (inked by Tarzan strip illustrator John Celardo). Really nice stuff. I showed it to Jerry DeFuccio (we were friends) and he practically seethed with hatred for Sekowsky. He seemed to suggest that this was the prevailing feeling among industry professionals (as opposed to fandom, which I already knew), but I found that hard to believe. So I made photocopies and went and mailed them off to Alex Toth. Well, the famously critical Toth had so many nice things to say about the copies i sent him, and about Mike's work at Standard in general. Jerry said that Alex was just too nice to bad mouth Sekowsky, but I came to learn over the next 17 years that Alex doled out unsolicited criticism to anyone and everyone whom he believed deserved it -- including to me!

Of course, Alex also loved Jesse Marsh's work, another artist that was not well appreciated in those days. Alex always cared more for storytelling and clarity over "pretty" pictures and Mike Sekowsky certainly offered the former if not always the latter.

I don't know, that went on for longer than I intended, but any chance to champion Sekowsky, I'll jump on.

Mr. Karswell said...

>Do you happen to have the second issue too, Karswell?

Sorry Goblin, I do not... but I may be able to dig up some scans from one of my faithful submissions chums. Check back later this month.

>The bad guy wins again!!!! Love it! Boy, we need more of these!

Haha, don't I know it!

>Again rises the question: Is she good dating material?

Well, if she's as good at "other things" as she is in magic, then I'd say yes.

> can it qualify as a "horror" story if the good guy prevails?

Excellent question! What's everyone think?

>I met a girl who wasn't there.

Kind of brings a sad tear to me weary 'ol eye...

>good to see Sekowsky getting the love he deserves.

I'm not understanding the hatred either, could you tell us a little more about this? Was it because he aped Toth's style so much? That's a bad thing???

Odyzeus! said...


The reasons for the hatred against Sekowsky are multifarious and too long-winded to go into in a forum of this size -- let's just say one large part of it was that he was not the Neal Adams or Jack Kirby of his day.

As for his work's similarity to Toth's (particularly in the Standard work) that's allegedly an interesting story. I say allegedly because it's not as if it was ever written down, but apparently after seeing Toth's work, other artists at Standard were encouraged to follow his example by an editor (his name escapes me, shame on me). Hence, (supposedly) Andru, Sekowsky and others started to take on a Tothian quality to their work. I heard this a lot for years, and it seemed to make sense, but who knows? After all, look at Mac Pakula over at Atlas. So maybe Alex was just a DIRECT influence on the artists of his day, and not so much the editors. Alex himself, BTW, avowed no knowledge of this alleged directive.

Mr. Karswell said...

Interesting... thanks John!