Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Date with Death! / Man Who Was Afraid!

The final two stories from the April 1952 issue of Astonishing #12 that I could've sworn I'd already posted here at THOIA (my records say I did, but neither are to be found in the archive?!) Sorry for the confusion. Anyway, this completes this issue, check the archive for Gene Colan's Torture Chamber, Horror Show, and Bill Everett's "A Playmate for Susan." Paul Cooper pencils with a question mark are credited to Man Who Was Afraid --I think that's a goddamn good guess, certainly looks like it to me. Anyone have any thoughts about the art on Date with Death?











10 comments:

Mestiere said...

Thanks for publishing the last two stories of Astonishing #12. With comments sometimes taking their time to appear published, others spontaneously migrating to your spam folders, and now stories disappearing despite your records naming them as posted, perhaps we are developing our own little mystery. Who knows, some of us could be werewolves, vampires, demons or aliens!

The first story reminds me of paranormal experiences people claim to have had in which they meet strangers who strike peculiar conversations with them and when the person raises his eyes he realizes the stranger haven't been moving his lips at all. Or the stranger's face seems to be made of wax or plastic. It's like in the story The Mask in the collection The King in Yellow (paraphrasing):

Cassilda : Take off your mask.

The King in Yellow : It's not a mask.

In the second story I correctly predicted the ending. Fortunately for our hypochondriac, leprosy is one of the least infectious diseases. And it's curable, in case a ship does pass by despite what he has been told.

Brad S. said...

Love these stories! Has Marvel ever reprinted any of its pre-Code horror? Any collected editions?

Brian Barnes said...

Brad S, yes, Marvel reprinted a number of the Atlas stories, is beautiful Marvel Masterworks editions. They can be pricey, but you can find used versions of Amazon for $20-$30. Well worth it, get the single edition of Menace if you can.

First story was about as prototypical an Atlas story as I've seen, well drawn, well paced, but not exactly a surprising ending. The skulls in the captions is something I don't remember ever seeing in pre-code Atlas, though!

The second story a great take on the jerk gets his deserved fate. More great art, and the leprosy island is pretty old-hat in these tales, but I kind of though (as it was a Caribbean island, that everybody would die on the boat but become a zombie.) So I was fooled!

Now to see if this actually makes it into the comments!

JMR777 said...

The first story is a very good retelling of an old tale with a new twist. As I recall the old tale, a man living in the middle east meets death in the marketplace and it beckons to him. Terrified, the man flees to the home of his master (the doomed man was either a servant or a slave) and begs to flee the city and go to Damascus thinking he will be safe. The master agrees and lets the man go and the man's master goes to the market place to plead for the life of his servant/slave. When he meets death, death tells him "I was surprised to see him in the marketplace, you see, I have an appointment with him on the road to Damascus."

I guess we can't escape our fate no matter how hard we try.

The second story had the typical twist ending, though a better twist would have been that the natives were cannibals and told the hypochondriac that eating the flesh of a healthy man would keep them healthy.
(Can't win for losin')

I love all these great old tales, even if I don't post all the time, I want you to know how much I really appreciate these comics, Karswell.


Mr. Cavin said...

Man, I really love a good plague ship story. I especially like the woodcut-looking illustrations--those deep and curvy blacks really make the mood for darkness and despair and fear. The four-part lightning bolt panel in the middle of page three is mighty!

Back in February, Pappy posted a good version of the classic "meeting Death" joke, this time from Ghost Rider #8 (1952). I'm not usually much of a Ghost Rider fan, but this three-pager is great. Check it out here.

Karswell said...

We'll be flash forwarding to the 70's in the next post and taking a look at a couple ghostly moments from Wayne Howard-- stay tombed and keep those comments coming! THANKS!!

Grant said...

Like JMR777, I've heard that story at least one other place (the Boris Karloff movie TARGETS, which of course is a famous NON-supernatural horror film), but that's about the only reason I guessed the end.

Since the word balloon is coming from him, is that elongated face at the bottom of Page 2 the face of Joe Ryan himself? Because for some reason it makes HIM look as spooky as the character he's running from.

Karswell said...

My eternal pleasure :)

JMR777 said...

Here is an earlier version of the tale

http://www.k-state.edu/english/baker/english320/Maugham-AS.htm

Much like the vanishing hitchhiker tale, its true origin is lost to the sands of time.

FrankFay said...

The first story is usually knows as "Appointment in Samarra"