Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Nine Horrors

What's worse than having to kill a were-tigress that relentlessly stalks you and your best gal? How about one that has to be killed 9 times because-- oh yeah-- it's a cat! A fun dose of jungle jitters from the June 1952 debut issue of The Unseen #5 (umm, wait a sec, how is issue #5 the debut you ponder? Ask Pines!) Super slick artwork from Ross Andru too, who also illustrated the cover.















9 comments:

Grant said...

I know you're supposed to have that "It was a different time" attitude towards stories like this, but this one really makes you queasy for the obvious reason. If only Betty AND Syvva had survived, and Roger....

The line "Never hunt in Kazhlah again" reminds me of a joke that goes "We learned a very valuable lesson from Vietnam - don't have a war in Vietnam."
In other words, if "Don't hunt in such and such place" is all you've learned from the whole experience, then Way to go, Betty!

Nequam said...

Two somewhat disappointing things: 1) we never see Syvva transform; 2) seems like Roger gets off pretty lightly considering that he's quite the asshole.

Brian Barnes said...

I'm with Nequam here. I was on the tigers side! Not only that, but he's giggling away while displaying the trophy of TWO beings on his wall, one which had every right in the world to seek revenge on him.

I think it's time for the old comic cliche: "Who's the real monster here?"

Honestly, this thing is truly a horror story. The ending left a visible reaction in me!

BTW, how many turns of phrase does Betty have for cats? They seemed endless!

Also: Another "monster" in Syvva that I'd love to have as a house keeper. (1) she's hot and (2) she can eliminate my enemies :)

Grant said...

"How many turns of phrase does Betty have for cats?"
That's another thing I noticed - everyone's dialogue is pretty "purple." Even though it's kind of a cliche, you expect it from an "exotic" character like Syvva, but from Roger and Betty it's a little more surprising.

"Who's the real monster here?" is right. It's SO right that I almost wonder whether the writer was trying to say something about big game hunting, by making the hunter such a miserable creep.

JMR777 said...

The story had mentioned that the male were tiger had been eating people for years (page 5 upper right panel) so the great white hunter wasn't the total jerk, sparing future victims of a grisly fate and all. Still, the couple come across as the typical 50's slightly arrogant slightly smug WASPs of their day.

It seems the perspective of back then vs today shows how we view these tales in a different context, back then readers rooted for the hunters, today we root for the tigers. I wonder how readers fifty years from today will view these tales.

Mr. Cavin said...

Yeah, I have to admit that I felt a little wry when the story described the "never-ending nightmare" of having to murder your attacker over and over. I mean, I get it; but this story tries to make some kind of thrilling, suspenseful hay out of a sequence of events where the protagonist wins nine times in a row without so much as a scratch. You couldn't sell professional wrestling tickets with that kind of plot.

But that splash panel is super, and I really liked the flashback sequence with the floating eye! I'm such a big fan of Andru. So five stars!

glowworm2 said...

I don't know, animal lover that I am, I'm actually on the hunter's side this time! Believe it or not, there are plenty of horror big game hunting stories done in the 50s and most of them DID end up with the smug, jerk of a hunter dead as he truly deserved. Yet Roger doesn't nearly seem as big a jerk as the other hunters I've seen in other tales--and it's actually quite refreshing to see the hunter on the winning side for once! Also, as JMR777 said the male tiger was no innocent victim--he'd been eating people for years. Technically, that would make the tiger a cannibal because he was a cat person.
For a variation on this story where a female tigress shapeshifter successfully gets her revenge upon the hunter who killed her mate try "Vengeance of the Tiger Queen" from Baffling Mysteries #12. Unlike Roger here, I have no sympathy for the jerk of a hunter in that one although the tiger people are man eaters in this one too...

Anyhow, I love the gimmick that the tigress has nine lives which I have not seen in any other story regarding a were tiger. I love the first panel in the second page where Syvva is first seen with her face hidden in the shadows and her eyes all aglow. Also, this line of narration cracks me up: Meanwhile, at the lodge Betty has also added two and two to get a horrifying four!
The bit with the rope at the end to get the tigress for good was actually pretty clever!

Mr. Cavin said...

I have to admit that seeing a 185-pound man (guesstimated) strangle a 350-pound charging full-grown Bengal tiger-woman with a lasso, while balancing on a tree limb no less, interjected a few unanswered physics questions into my reading of the story. I'm not sure I'd be willing to try that on a mere 70-pound pit bull girl. What's a tiger's neck circumference, anyway? Like three feet? That'd almost be like choking the very tree he's climbing.

glowworm2 said...

I told my boyfriend about this horror story. He burst out laughing at that line of narration I loved: Meanwhile, at the lodge Betty has also added two and two to get a horrifying four! He loved it even more when I showed him that this line was 100% authentic.