Friday, January 16, 2015

The Fangs of the Fiend

Here's a weirdly illustrated ACG tale from the August 1952 issue of Forbidden Worlds #8. I say "weirdly" because sometimes Art's art here is awesome, and sometimes it's unusually less than so... but it's at least always fun and generates an interesting atmosphere of shadows and swirling mists and leering faces everywhere on the walls and vases. I guess I'm just all "WTF Panel 4, Page 2??!!"









14 comments:

Brian Barnes said...

There's certainly some art that's a bit goofy here and there, but one thing I like about it is the artist never skimped on the backgrounds. A lot of artists in this period would have a lot of solid backgrounds, and this guy (or gal) is pretty much always filling the panels.

Coloring isn't that bad, it's off centered, but it's lush.

The story's got a lot of unnecessary "as it turns out" stuff, but is still a fun, breezy read.

I especially like the ghost and the drooling native zombies, they are as good an image as the werewolf is silly.

Dr. Theda said...

a good read Sir Karswell... and an enjoyable tale..

Brad S. said...

I really like Nora's almost complete lack of facial expressions...like she's seriously Botoxed! Gugh!

~~louise~~ said...

How ironic is this, my son owns a comic book store in State College. I'll have to tell him about your site. And yes, I do have a few comic book character cookbooks, lol...

Thanks for sharing, J.D.

Morbid said...

When I read: "Nothing to worry about, honey! I had the necklace in my shirt pocket – and the fangs gashed my chest when I fell!" I almost fell of my chair laughing. It's so on-the-nose that it's hysterically funny.

I looked at "WTF Panel 4, Page 2??!!" and wasn't sure what you meant, but what struck me is how inept Page 4, Panel 2 is. Especially how there's some good creative stuff in here -- he can obviously draw better than that in quite a number of panels. How did that happen? Was this a jam with the ACG office boy given a chance?

However, a very entertaining tale with a bizarre ape/werewolf monster. Thanks for posting!

Karswell said...

That's exactly what I meant-- that panel is atrocious! haha

I think Louise has me confused with JD somehow?!

Grant said...

This is yet another story that clashes with that image that earlier suspense stories have, the image that they have "helpless female" characters and nothing BUT helpless ones. Maybe Nora is pretty resourceful, and of course there's the part where she refuses to leave Jim's side, and they solve the whole thing together. (Maybe Jim sound a little chauvinistic when he says "I'm seeing to it that you get rid of this place," but that's only after Nora makes it clear that she feels the same way.)

I'm just glad this one doesn't have a grim ending. Everything about it seems to lead up to a nice one for the two of them, and that's what you get.

Mr. Cavin said...

Dang, that has to be the most words I've ever seen in a final panel. Holy cow! Keep 'splaining, Lucy! I really loved this headlong werewolf lunacy--even with the occasionally stiff art and intermittently boring coloring. I loved all the flamboyant forced perspective panels, with huge, unnecessary foreground objects (that last page two image is particularly wonderful: the candle seems to be slouching down the hallway just the same as the couple). The car crash panel at the bottom of page three is particularly magnificent. I also really liked the werewolf. It kind of reminded me of a Kurtzman monster.

TIGER MOODY. said...

Youse guys is nuts. Dis art is da beez neez!

J_D_La_Rue_67 said...

My two cents: writer says to Art: "Be sure kids can see the ghost has one finger missing while he grabs the necklace, and I also want a very close look at his ghastly face"...
Not the smartest of helpful ghosts, anyway. Once he took the damned thing, he should have gobbled it, or destroyed it in some way (matter of fact, he should have done this before his death). But who knows? Ghosts have strange ways...
If I was a native spirit, I'd be very angry for being stuck in a cellar thousands of miles from Homeland, without the comfort of at least some bottles of Amontillado...
The Ghost, the Natives and the Furry monster are the best things to see anyway. The latter reminds me of "the curse of the Mandibles", a great Dr. Drew story reprinted in the Eighties in an issue of Mr. Monster (Morbid you already realized I love the character and one reason is the many great 50's comics reprinted and analyzed in the Eclipse run).

There's only one Karswell but, you know, accidents happen...
I was about to write: "My two cunts: writer says to ..." etc.

Mestiere said...

The year this comic came out was the peak year of comic book circulation in the US, with perhaps a billion individual comics sold. They were produced in assembly line fashion (an American invention). Somebody wrote the story, another one did the penciling, this one the inking, that one the coloring, and this other one the lettering. And just like you don't know the names of the Chinese workers who built your TV set, the people behind comics creation were often anonymous (EC Comics was an exception). Quantity would trump quality almost every time. Do you think it shows?

Some writers really wanted to write. Notice how the characters of Jim and Nora are chatterboxes, forever explaining to each other things both of them already know. Exposition starts heavy, drops a little toward the middle and, just when you expect an emphasis on action and suspense, exposition picks up again with a vengeance, culminating in that final panel where our heroes use two giant word balloons to recapitulate what the reader has just seen.

Notice also a tendency toward redundancy. Uncle Fred is a ghost and he had ghosts inside those burial urns he presumably stole from the tribesmen. Getting scratched by the fangs would turn you into a werewolf and resurrect the original owner of the fangs, teleporting him from whatever jungle he came from (I assume India, since it's the only country with both a jungle and wolves) to the US. And it would teleport the tribesman werewolf wearing trousers.

Questions:

• If the werewolf was afraid of ghosts, why didn't uncle Fred's ghost scare it away?

• Why did uncle Fred's ghost look almost like the personification of Death (minus the scythe) but the tribesmen's ghosts sort of look like tribesmen?

• If uncle Fred's ghost could touch the necklace, why couldn't he also open his own safe before his niece came to his house and get rid of the necklace?

If the (I assume long dead) creators of this story could get a mulligan I would suggest...

(1) Less exposition, please.

(2) Keep it simple. Either the tribesman werewolf or a transformed Jim would have been enough.

(3) Make the villain really threatening. Notice that the werewolf never killed anybody!

(4) More consistency in the artwork would help!

Karswell said...

Don't get me wrong, I still really like the art here, wonky or slick, this early ACG effort by Art Gates (as credited by GCD) is still pretty wild, weird and wonderful. Check the THOIA archive for more examples by him.

Thanks for all the great comments!

Diablo666 said...

.....My Feelers of Horror loved the sometimes "Caligari"-like dimensions, & jam-packed panels, but my favorite one here is definitely on page 4, 3rd panel....I mean, Lookit that guy! yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!....That's some scary shit right there, bro!

Karswell said...

Indeed! That is a beasty not to be messed with!

New post coming right up...