Friday, July 26, 2013

The Happy Dead / The Terrible Trident!

Continuing with our look at Red Circle Comic Group's very short lived 70's MADHOUSE horror series, here are two from the Sept '74 issue of Madhouse #95. Starting off with "The Happy Dead" (no nods to The Grateful Dead necessary), this is a hilarious story that Doug Wildey may or may not have used Barbara Steele photos for as reference in a few panels-- but it's most certain that German "El Vampiro" Robles pops in for whatever reason in the middle of page 5! And then, "The Terrible Trident!" picks up where we left off in our last post with yet another devil story, and one very familiar, almost monotonous punchline ending! I was saving this one for Halloween, but here ya go anyway, typically cool art from Vicente Alcazar-- and how about that creepy Gray Morrow cover!

German Robles 


Anonymous said...

"The Terrible Trident" looks like another plot lift from Robert Bloch's "The Cloak", though with devils instead of vampires.

Also, lead singer Tony in "The Happy Dead" looks a bit like Frankie Avalon's "Potato Bug" send-up of British Invasion rockers.

Karswell said...

>Frankie Avalon's Potato Bug

Haha, you're right, Brandi-- he does!

Desdinova said...

German Robels turned up in either and Creepy or Erie story too. i wish I knew which one.

Karswell said...

If you figure it out, let us know! And welcome, my fellow Missourian!

Mestiere said...

Potato Bug, eh? I see the similarity.

That first story used a lot of reference photos. Once again, wonderful artwork goes together with writing that is... not.

"It's strange. Robbery doesn't seem to be the motive. He still has his wallet." Officer, the victim had his throat ripped out! The killer presumably would have been covered in blood. Not the best moment to go spend some money.

I kind of liked the ending of the second story. The surprise was going to be for the rapist, it's just that she was "saved" by a guy using the Devil's Trident!

Karswell said...

While the top notch art is certainly there, I think you're barking up the wrong tree in looking for top of the line EC horror style writing with this series... if you look where these 3 issues of Mad House fit in the scheme of things, it was originally the ever lighthearted Archie's Mad House Glads series until issue 94, where for 3 issues (95, 96, and 97) they switched to this more mature horror theme, seen in these posts. Obviously it didn't work, so with issue 98 it was back to the Archie's, but now with more monsters and funny horror elements which I'm sure the publisher was much more comfortable with (see also Sabrina hosting the equally short lived Chilling Adventures in Sorcery series.)

Speaking of Sorcery, got some of that up next!

Mestiere said...

The Archie people! Now I have to take it back. For them it's a pretty decent attempt!

Tim Whitcher said...

Glorious Bronze Age art! I looked on ebay, and many of these three books are getting $18.00 +.

Thanks for posting.

Brian Barnes said...

I really like the zip-tone or wash on that first story, and I think the heavy photo referencing works well, especially for a story that's about "fame." That said, it's a predictable "guess the vampire" story.

On the second story, the paneling bugs me (I'm not sure why) but there's some good art here, especially the last panel. The minor demon's plan was ludicrous and unexplained, and the ending was silly.

The coloring -- something I usually whine about -- is great in both of these. Muted, full of grays and single color panels, it works really great. It might have been a failed experiment for Archie, but the artists were certainly giving it their all.

Karswell said...

>It might have been a failed experiment for Archie, but the artists were certainly giving it their all.

Indeed! An upcoming example: Gray Morrow gives so much in our next post, in fact, that he pretty much writes and illustrates EVERYTHING in the entire issue. Another diabolical Double Feature (and lots more Barbara Steele photo references too) from Red Circle Comics up NEXT!