Sunday, January 19, 2014

It Came from the Bottom of the World! / Too Much Steam!

Two weird quickies from the February 1954 issue of Tales of Horror #9, both illustrated by Jack Sparling. I just realized that with this pair-- as well as our last Son of Satan post-- this makes another complete issue posted here at THOIA (see my archive for the other two perplexing Purple Claw tales, both posted way back in 2008 HERE and HERE!)







7 comments:

Mestiere said...

"Nobody's believed in Neptune since the days of Columbus!" Go back to school, Ted! Oh, wait, one page later and it doesn't matter anymore.

Funny that the writer felt the need to spell out the obvious in a two page story. "You didn't survive, this is Hell!"

Thanks for publishing the whole issue.

Cheswick Stoddard said...

Don't try to cloak yourself in theological indignation, Ted - just admit you're a sour-puss killjoy who can't bring himself to have a little fun. I mean, I'm not one for cruises either, but I'll still boogie on dry land.

Are they using an old-fashioned interpretation of "arcade" here to mean "health spa" or "gym"? I can't find any sort of building that would include both pinball machines and a sauna, of all things. (Also, not naming the story "Red as a Lobster!" shows incredible restraint.)

Mr. Cavin said...

While I completely agree with Cheswick's comment above (and el-oh-elled more than once reading it, bee-tee-doubleyou), I do somewhat sympathize with Ted's aversion to public hazing. I too am guilty of sometimes letting my inner fragility manifest itself as pompously iconoclastic squareness.

This is the first time I recall running across Jack Sparling's name. I was surprised to discover how utterly self-assured and excellent his work here is (reminded me more of someone honed on daily strip work than most do). Page three of the first story is quite marvelous, especially that middle row. Reading over his list of accomplishments, neither reaction is too surprising. Looks like he had a long, famous career of drawing stuff I never read at all. I'd love to see some of his Welcome Back Kotter issues for DC, though.

Karswell said...


You've already been beat to the red title punch, Cheswick:

http://thehorrorsofitall.blogspot.com/2008/04/red-as-lobster-jim-mooney-rip.html


I've posted many Jack Sparling tales over the years here, Mr. C, here's a refresher for ya:

http://thehorrorsofitall.blogspot.com/search?q=jack+sparling

Mr. Cavin said...

Ha ha, "recall" being the operative word. I also ran that search shortly after posting, and have been rereading, off and on, all night since. I remember most of these, but apparently I wasn't ripe to notice the great lines back when I fist encountered them (except I must be stone blind because that comicization of The Mummy is the bees knees). Thanks for the Sparling class, Karswell!

Brian Barnes said...

The art's very interesting here. GCD claims Sparling was covering his own inks here, but even within a story (the Neptune one) there seems to be a real chance in quality. The opening pages are advertising clean, they look almost romance-comic style, but the ending page (granted, at night) are very darkly inked. It's a cool stylistic choice.

The steam room story really needed an extra page, you can get completely lost between page 1 and 2. Also, Satan: Not the prince of lies, but the prince of the obvious.

First story, page 1, panel 3, somebody has been corset training, I see!

Grant said...

I wonder whether TOO MUCH STEAM, in spite of how short it is, was meant to draw in female readers. Red is not only very athletic-looking in that steam room scene, but nearly nude in that one panel!
(I wonder whether hell would be such an awful place if you're allowed to be that "sculpted.")