Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Thing That Grew!

It's long after midnight, and we are now into the wee hours of the new year. Mom and dad arrive home from a night of hard partying to find that their son Timmy is still awake. "Happy New Year, bud! Hey now, what the heck are you still doing up?" asks dad, followed by a few drunken hiccups like you'd see in an old cartoon. "I can't sleep," whines Timmy, "tell me a story." "Your dad is in no shape to be telling you stories, Timmy!" warns mom, as she stumbles into the coffee table. "What? Nahhh, I'm fine," says dad, wavering a bit while loosening his tie, "You come on upstairs with me, my boy, and I'll tell you the single greatest story you've ever heard in your life!" "Alright!" exclaims Timmy. "Uhhh boy..." groans mom. Upstairs, Timmy hops into his Howdy Doody sheeted bed, dad lowers the light. (Mom passes out halfway up the steps.) "You're gonna love this one, Tommy..." slurs dad, sounding way too much like W.C. Fields. "My name is Timmy..." says Timmy.

"I call this one..."









(Actually from the November 1951 issue of Witches Tales #6)

7 comments:

Guy Callaway said...

Ah, yes...many a strange tale has been inspired by the misty moors of Vermont.
Well, that was short, sweet & insane. The panel with the dino shuffling across the map made my day, as did the caption 'Death held a party!. I think the art shop had a party, and this was written & drawn 5 mins before it ended.

Brian Barnes said...

I love this thing. It's "comic book science" at it's finest. Nothing makes a lick of sense, but it's so bonkers you can accept that and go all in for the ride.

Why the scientist didn't give a couple humans the growth formula, they kill the dinosaur and then throw themselves into outer space and float away, I don't know. I guess he wasn't *that* good of a scientist!

Mestiere said...

"A perfectly preserved baby dinosaur... frozen into the ice a million years ago!" That's three amazing discoveries: the baby dinosaur, the fact that they were still around just a million years ago instead of sixty-six million, and that there was ice in dinosaur times when temperatures were tropical all the way to the poles. Add to that Dr Marvelle's secret of life and this might be the greatest scientist ever. Except...

It's interesting that the secret of life would involve uncontrolled growth. Continuous growth—continuous cell division—is the key to biological immortality. Cells obtain their energy from combining molecules which then are too big to get rid off through the cell membrane. Since the interior of cells is positively charged and the outer surface negatively charged the content is under pressure and a large enough hole—a cellular anus, if you will—would cause the whole cytoplasm to spill out. But when cells divide they can share the waste product. A cell divides into two and each is half as old, they divide again and they are a quarter as old, etc. This is why cancer cells don't age.

But what about the size? You don't want to grow forever! Each animal or plant shape is only useful in a narrow range of sizes. For you to keep a constant size and not age you have to kill as many cells as you create. Perhaps being exposed to just enough radiation would kill the weakest, oldest cells and leave the younger ones intact, a phenomenon called radiation hormesis. There is evidence that the Earth's magnetic field was weaker in the past and presumably allowed more cosmic rays through. And we know how big prehistoric animals could be: beavers as big as black bears, wombats as big as a rhino, although they did stop growing. Coincidence? Who knows!

Guy Callaway said...

"For you to keep a constant size and not age you have to kill as many cells as you create. Perhaps being exposed to just enough radiation would kill the weakest, oldest cells and leave the younger ones intact.."

Well, we all know this from The 'Amazing Colossal Man', though you end up wearing a man-giant diaper. ;)

Mestiere said...

Well, we all know this from The 'Amazing Colossal Man', though you end up wearing a man-giant diaper. ;)

Of course he needed a diaper. Imagine how much money a big enough toilet would cost. Plus each flush would burst some pipes. That's just science!

Mr. Cavin said...

I was also delighted by the map panels. What a great way to convey this lunacy at the breakneck pace they had set for themselves. But I think my favorite panel is that second one on page four (with 2:3 a close runner-up: "what was that noise from the moors?"). Why wrestle with whatever philosophical quandaries one may raise through medical overreach when it's possible to author the heat-death of the whole world in the nuclear furnace of the sun? I have a leettle bit of trouble imagining the protagonist or the dinosaur living for long after the monster became large enough for our atmosphere to begin redistributing, or for the planetary gravity well to double. Seems more likely that we'd have ended up with a brand new dead reptilian moon dramatically rising and setting forever in our brand new red sky, but that nothing beyond a handful of roaches would have survived to enjoy it.

Guy Callaway said...

Also recall our rampaging beasty causes the stock market to crash??!