Monday, August 27, 2012

The Serpent Queen

For the next 3 posts we'll be looking at the June 1952 issue of Unknown Worlds #1, because behind the chilling Norman Saunders skeleton cover, lurks 3 weird tales of waterlogged zombies and even more skeletons... and I LOVE skeletons! We'll kick things off with horrific high adventure and the gruesome / awesome boney fate of agony that awaits those in search of-- The Serpent Queen!












17 comments:

Mestiere said...

John Barton's story is completely nightmarish and unbelievable. A two thousand year old white queen who speaks English (and so do all the Indians!). A sixteenth century castle inside a mountain. A window with modern blinds. A veil that apparently conceals nothing, but actually conceals everything. John Barton must be an unreliable narrator. Yet his final condition shows there is a genuine mystery. This story is a winner with me.

Brian Barnes said...

Note that it's not just a skeleton on the cover, it's a ghost of a skeleton!

How did these guys get to be explorers when they can't solve the simplest of problems? OK, so the serpent queen -- inventor of the push-up bra, it seems -- has a hideous face when you remove the clearly see-through veil.

Here's an idea: Put the veil back on before "proceeding!"

It's the same with the stories where the guy finds out his hot wife turns into an ugly hag witch at night ... wait until morning!

Yeesh!

Turok1952 said...

Oh, but this wonderfully Freudian tale has in truth nothing to do with the props of place, people, or pre-set dialogue which were offerred.

The splash panel gave it all away in a most prescient and tantalizing ort of a clue.

This tale is about the eternal desires of regular people who have no solid goals but want immediate fulfilment. Even if they are good folks, well...that old one-eyed snake is always there to overcome.

And as Eric walked to his self-imposed doom, destined to be a head on a bone, er...skeleton... it was obvious we never learn from our own selves.

This is a brilliant gem. Thank you so very much for teaching us through it today!

brandiweed said...

A sexy woman with a giant one-eyed snake on a leash.

That reminds me of *something* but I'm not quite sure what.

Mr. Cavin said...

"All we know, sir, is that the message, with a crude map, was found one day on our town bulletin board!"

I love that! So humdrum. What a refreshing switcheroo from the usual turgid exoticism we saddle the natives with in stories like this. Not “hark white god, grab your boom-stick and follow the spirit jaguar up the mountain” crap in this village. It’s more like “I’ll get the map and there’s a coffee machine in break room if you want something while you’re Xeroxing it.”

And that last page was solid gold from top to bottom.

Karswell said...

>This story is a winner with me.

Did you mean weiner?

>Note that it's not just a skeleton on the cover, it's a ghost of a skeleton!

The ultimate horror of it all!

>destined to be a head on a bone, er...skeleton

>A sexy woman with a giant one-eyed snake on a leash.

Haha, I guess we can all agree this story is loaded with, um, implications. Even precode comics would've had a problem with a story titled The Penis Queen, I'm guessing.

>“I’ll get the map and there’s a coffee machine in break room if you want something while you’re Xeroxing it.”

Also on the Cudado Mountain Bulletin Board: Hut Mate Wanted! Must be clean and cook own food. Clothing optional. No carnivorous pets please, herbivores OK.

Mestiere said...

Right, the one-eyed snake. I guess my innuendo detector was malfunctioning.

JMR777 said...

What a great tale, I really liked this one (innuendos aside).

The native in the villiage doesn't speak in pidgin english (him go up mountian him no come back) that was a nice change of pace in a comic book story.
This tale could have been turned into a memorable B horror film with a change here and there. I wouldn't be suprised to find out this tale was originally a sci/fi story published in a pulp fiction mag in the 20's or 30's, it has that early fantasy story feel to it.
This was a real winner, and the cyclops snake (Cy-nake? Cyke?) Fit this story perfectly.

JMR777 said...

Followup, the only thing that would have made this story better would be if the queen wore a veil to hide her snake like fangs and she bit the guys to drink their blood and/or inject her flesh dissolving venom into them, that would explain the reason for the veil better.

Daniel [oeconomist.com] said...

JMR777— This story can be traced-back to H. Rider Haggard's The Yellow God (1908), perhaps in part by way of Pierre Benoit's plagiarism, L' Atlantide (1919). The latter was made into two Anglophonic films prior to this comic-book story, Mistress of Atlantis (1932) and Siren of Atlantis (1949).

Karswell said...

>Right, the one-eyed snake. I guess my innuendo detector was malfunctioning.

Quite alright, Mestie, happens to even the most dirty minded of us!

>cyclops snake (Cy-nake? Cyke?)

Cyclops + Python = Cython.

>This story can be traced-back to H. Rider Haggard's The Yellow God (1908)

Excellent info, thank you Dan!

Grab a life jacket, friends-- our next tale takes us out to sea!

JMR777 said...

Kudos to you Daniel/oeconomist. I suspected this tale was a reworking of some fictional published story. It seemed a little too well written to be created by a comic book witer (not that it couldn't have been, though most comic book writers back then were more intrested in cranking out quantity not quality)

And of course kudos to Karswell for finding this story, it works on so many levels, Freudian or otherwise.

Daniel [oeconomist.com] said...

A further note:

The title rôle in Siren of Atlantis (1949) was played by Maria Montez. About five years earlier she had played the title rôle in Cobra Woman (1944).

Chuck Wells said...

Kudos to you, Karswell, for inadvertently satisfying an itch (by the way, thanks for that) of mine.

I had seen the original black & white splash of this page before, but only that. Been curious about this comic ever since, so I really enjoyed reading "The Serpent Queen" in full color.

Karswell said...

My pleasure, Chuck, thanks for stopping by!

Lacey said...

You see boys, the moral of the story is, NEVER trust a pretty girl. We get you every time.

Karswell said...

Indeed, Lacey... indeed!