Monday, January 23, 2017

The Case of the Curses / From the Ocean Bottom

We've spent most of the month looking at scary 70's Skywald classics, and yes, I promised we'd finally make our way back to the fright-filled 50's-- and we are! But first, a quick stop into the early 60's. And note: this is merely a temporary detour because I was recently discussing post-code ACG "horror" with Nequam and thought, what the heck, how about an example of how a really good series like Forbidden Worlds seriously got the business from the contemptible comics code, i.e.: water it way down, remove all traces of swords (!!!) etc., --yet still manage to be "too gay" (???), --though ya know what-- also, actually strive (or struggle) to preserve OK art and remain entertaining in a doofy Ripley's Believe it or Screw It kind of way. The second two-page quickie tale feels a bit more at home here, so enjoy 'em or hate 'em, we'll be back in a few with more of the good stuff! From the August 1961 issue of a Forbidden Worlds #97.























10 comments:

Nequam said...

Hm... perhaps I should create a "bowderlized" tag for clumsy censorship like the blanked-out swords in "The Case of the Curses"? There's a few others in the archive that have odd little censor moments in them (like "Colorama" or the altered reprint of "The Ghost Still Walks")...

Mr. Karswell said...

Probably not necessary, for obvious reasons, I don't plan on posting too many of these :)

Mestiere said...

"You were so busy forcing me into a boner, you forgot you were committing one yourself!"
—Batman addressing the Joker in Batman #66.

People were stabbed with empty fists in comics—I guess swords were too controversial— but, on the other hand, they could be "too gay". How many of these accidental jokes were really accidental? The word gay had already started to have its modern meaning by 1961, The Flintstones "you'll have a gay old time" lyrics notwithstanding. Stan Lee famously said of Gil Kane's art "Isn't [it] kind of gay?" And in case there is any doubt what he meant Gil Kane said: "I had a little trouble with Stan, who thought that all my characters looked homosexual". And boner started to have its modern meaning around the time of the publication of that comic. Perhaps people were taking advantage of the relative ambiguity of meaning to get away with stuff that is today not so ambiguous.

But pink kryptonite was no accident.

Brad S. said...

Am I the only one who always thought Forte's art was very stilted?

Mr. Cavin said...

I thought the art looked a little like Ogden Whitney, which was probably just wishful thinking after noticing that Whitney had done the excellent cover to this issue. Man, that thing with the swords is so strange. Wonder why they didn't feel the need to erase the arrows, too? What do you think, reader?

Ah the sixties. It's no wonder Fantastic Four started selling like hotcakes in this environment.

glowworm2 said...

I'll admit that I actually enjoy the post-code ACG "horror" stories as much as the precode ones because even after the censors hit, they were able to come up with creative science fiction stories and some rather inventive ghost and witch tales later on when horror was allowed again.
However, with that said, this tale is a clunker. It's the old superstition versus science angle with no real winner in sight--asking for your own answer instead.
Yet you gotta love that the occult expert's last name was Warlock. Also, those invisible swords were hilarious--it's like the victims were smacked by their opponents' fists and we know that clearly wasn't the case...
As for the unintentionally inappropriate dialogue, I recall a precode story from Adventures Into the Unknown #22 called "Fangs of Horror" which ended with the male protagonist remarking "That you, me and that teddy bear would make a perfect threesome!" to the girl he helped rescue. "Oh, Jim, I'm sure of it!" I swear it makes more sense in context--sort of...

Also, that second tale you included from that issue is actually a reprint of a story used in "Adventures Into the Unknown" issue 38 from December 1952 originally entitled "Can Such Things Be?" Later issues of ACG comics tended to borrow stories from earlier issues of their other comics (Forbidden Worlds would do so from AITU and vice versa and Unknown Worlds would often borrow from both of them) However, the coloration would often be different, and the stories would get new titles and sometimes lack their introductions. Most of the time, I prefer the original titles to the stories, but in this case, I think the title given to this reprint was more on the nose.

JMR777 said...

"From the Ocean's Bottom" some of Namor's distant relatives?

In "The Case of the Curses" featuring invisible swords, it just might well be the Ed Wood of comic stories, not Plan 9 bad, but pretty bad as it is.

Guy Callaway said...

"He was killed instantly! You can read about in books, man!". That's how Warlock rolls.
Sorry, a little distracted - waiting on my bike windshield.

Grant said...

Even in very escapist stories I can find curses a disturbing subject, and "From The Ocean's Bottom" is a good example of why I do - they find the egg BY ACCIDENT, give the infant back ALMOST immediately, and STILL get punished!

Brian Barnes said...

The erased swords (and spears, when the king rides out) were funny, but nothing was more hilarious than our doomed explorer mentioning his gun -- at least twice -- and never "using" it (use it he did, but it was replaced with mysterious instant heart-attacks.)

I don't believe in anything supernatural but I have to give it to Warlock, here, our skeptic didn't prove anything. The curse's end result can be natural -- it's that the person put themselves in the position or the right things happened to put them in position for the curse to pay off. Neither proves, nor disproves, the curse. Other than logic and reason, obviously! :)