Saturday, March 10, 2018

The Phantom of Notre Dame

I've posted a few hero oriented stories here over the years, and like our last post, I thought this month it would be fun to look at different golden age tales that still deliver on the idea of "horror", though not necessarily acquired from the usual horror comic books of the era. Todays post is no exception, as the original Daredevil comic series of the 40's played up your typical rootin' tootin' American hero in disguise vs. the WW2 Axis of Evil menace, and it's still true in this story as well. But this time the lights camera actions are spiced up with a grotesque, vengeance filled hunchback who viciously crushes, zaps, stabs, and slashes his way through the cast of a 1940's Hollywood film production! So if your mind isn't already blown to bits by that foot fetish freak-out torture cover, hang on to your helmets as the Daredevil (he's cool, but he ain't no Matt Murdock) and his comedy relief pal, swing in to the rescue! Cover and story art by Charles Biro.

From the June 1942 issue of Daredevil Comics #11.

And what about that foot fetish torture cover image, you ponder? The scene actually shows up towards the end of this same issue in the Pat Patriot story, "The Mallet Strikes!", highlighted with early art by THOIA fave, Lin Streeter! Here it is:


Morbid said...

It's almost like an Andy Milligan grindhouse craptacular movie. A crazed hunchback, torture, the claustrophobic cheapness of it all, and even a shot at the institution of marriage. But that cover! -- that's really something else on the sleaze scale. Highly impressive in weirdness and hard to forget. Thanks for posting!

Guy Callaway said...

And people say '50's comics were nuts.
There's so much goodness here, it's hard to pick a highlight!
I'm glad they improved the 'Slap The Jap' game - the first version sucked.

Grant said...

"She draws men like flies."
I guess there have been more awkward compliments, but that's a pretty odd one.

JMR777 said...

The number of victims was higher than I expected, but adventure/superhero comics of the 30's and 40's sometimes had multiple victims until the villain was defeated.

I could imagine poverty row cranking out a picture like this.

Thanks for this horror post.

Brian Barnes said...

@Morbid - A feature of Andy Milligan films is that nobody is likable and everybody suffers. Daredevil is likable and survived, so it's not all the way a Milligan film :)

This one is all sorts of wacko, and a fun read. It retains a secondary mystery which I thought dragged the plot, the hunchback was more than enough, and the ending was a page too much. Still, a lot of fun art and crazy situations. Very much an old dark house mystery in parts.

BTX said...

This "Daredevil" doesn't seem to be very effective at saving people.....

Morbid said...

I hated Daredevil myself, Brian. As BTX notes, he sucks at his job of being a superhero. And his costume is ridiculous. But he is a HELL of an acrobat! And I liked some of the people in a few Milligan films, whom others would not like -- including you, and rightfully so! But I'm a pretty warped guy -- look at me, I'm referencing Andy Milligan movies, who does that? I am clearly insane.

Mr. Cavin said...

Kind of the Lon Chaney version of the Chuck Jones cartoon "Bugs' Bonnets", in which everyone's personality changes depending on the hat they are wearing.

Until the bells fell on the wedding couple I'd totally forgotten I was reading a Daredevil story. Ha! Biro at his best is kind of like Briefer with the grotesqueness cranked up to eleven. The best panels here are amazing and energetic, despite feeling somewhat hurried. The faces are all so freaksome I can't understand why either actor felt like he needed a costume. Even the make-up man was a rubbery, dough-faced weirdo. In this company, William Powell makes a very handsome cameo, indeed.

I like the way Biro combined elements from several stories for the cover. That's a trick I don't know if Ive seen before. It isn't the only series cover to include an odd foot-related motif, either.