Thursday, April 18, 2013

Dimension IV

Time for another giant monster story as part of our most inconsistent themed month fest ever-- sorry, sometimes other stuff comes up! From the February 1953 issue of Witches Tales #17, a wonderfully weird, and very colorful story from Rudy Palais.


Mestiere said...

"The Aeon is a child at play with colored balls."

-Heraclitus, Fragments

Wow, what a story! What an ending!

A dragon-like dinosaur with a complex inner life. Parallel worlds intersecting. I love it!

Since the dinosaurs have names (Golgoth, Xarbol) they must be able to speak, since that's the only way names would be useful. Unless they are telepathic. That would explain why on page four, panel three Golgoth thought the scream "AAAAEEEEIIIIEEE!" Perhaps he was hoping another dinosaur would "hear" his psychic scream.

Interesting that the artist chose to represent the dinosaur with a dragon's appearance. Dinosaurs heavier than about 700 pounds would have had a body temperature higher than the environment. By about 14 tons the inner temperature would have been about 106 degrees Fahrenheit and it would have been in danger of cooking itself on the inside. How did they manage to survive those temperatures? It turns out that dinosaurs lacked nasal turbinates. That is a type of spongy bone that prevents birds and mammals from dehydrating when they exhale. But if dinosaurs had access to enough water (and a relatively slow metabolism) they might have been able to afford it. The exhaled air would have condensed into a cloud, like a whale's spout. From a distance it would have looked like smoke. If you were on the receiving end of its breath it would have felt hot. Getting rid of that hot water might have helped to cool off the dinosaurs while giving them an even more dragon-like appearance.

Dragons are sometimes represented with feathers and now we know with certainty that some dinosaurs had them. But of course dinosaurs predate humans by a huge amount. How come so many ancient cultures had dragons? Even Eskimos had a dragon-like creature in their myths even though there are no reptiles in the Arctic. It is really an amazing coincidence that so many cultures in so many countries chose to invent a creature so similar to actual species that really existed all over the world, even getting right details like the feathers.

JMR777 said...

A few questions came to me as I read this story,

Did Palais have a sweat fetish? Sweat appears in so many of his comics maybe he had a thrill drawing sweat any chance he got.

Did Palias or the story's writer have access to reefer? How else could anyone come up with such a dreamlike bizzare story like this without a little "special" inspiration.

Would the public accept the idea of an intelligent telepathic dinosaur? It would have been a hard sell back then and probably a hard sell now.

Who knew one comic book story could raise so many questions.

Brian Barnes said...


Note that in 53, this would have been published before the giant monster b-movie craze, and it's probably stories like this that had a heavy influence on them.

Other than that, boy is this wacky! It seems the "dinosaur" manages to keeps himself busy with internal narration. Page 3, final panel, both the artist and the colorist forgot the bikini top, but lovenly rendered all the sweat!

The dinosaur could take down another dinosaur, but not a small human, even though it evidently had the power to walk on water!

The ending. What a treat. Yeah, it's "as it turns out", but it's so absolutely out of left field (and unecessary, portals to other worlds opening and closing is a well know sci-fi cliche), that it just leaves you stunned.

Great, fun read!

Dr. Theda said...

I posted A Thank You good Sir Karswell... as well as the entire movie "Gorgo" ... and a story from the horror Comic ...

sfdoomed said...

I have to admit that I went into this story with some hesitation (not really being a fan of monster comics), but by the time I reached the mind-expanding conclusion with the parallel worlds explanation I was completely sold.
I dig Palais on many levels, but his monsters often have "cute" eyes that diminish any terror aspect the author intends. And with his human characters, sometimes the expressions don't match the mood of the dialogue being presented.

But he's one of the greats! I'm just a lowly armchair critic reading 1950s horror comics on a Friday night!

Thanks as always for the killer blog, Karswell.

And thanks to the many great posters who keep the comments section as exciting as the stories!

Karswell said...

Keep the comments coming-- I have another story from this issue on deck, see ya in a few...

Andy said...

I actually own the original art for p. 3 of this story so it's nice to see it in its entirety here. The dinosaur is indeed very goofy looking and probably did not inspire any fear even for an 8-year-old reading this in 1953. But I've always appreciated Palais' work. I think his "sweat fetish" is especially endearing. His characters are always sweating profusely!

Karswell said...

Go through the archives and check all the previous Palais posts since 2007, we've discussed The Rudy Sweat Factor countless times!

Steph said...

Golgoth is a cute dragon