Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Widow of Death

If you're feeling like THOIA hasn't been particularly vicious enough lately, then feast your eyes on this cat burnin', child killin', multiple meat cleaverin' blows to the head classic from the June - July 1948 issue of Underworld Vol. 1 #3! This story really does prove that 40's-50's crime comics could sometimes be even more horrific than the horror ones, and on top of that-- this tale is based on the TRUE story of Belle Gunness, aka The Lonely Hearts Killer!

(Click HERE after the story to read more about her.)

*Extra big thanks to our good pal, Tommy "El Diablo" Stanziola for hooking us up with this one!


BTX said...

No comments for this one? Widow of Death takes the prize for most crazed pre code comic! Based on a true story you say?

Mr. Cavin said...

BTX: A lot of the comments have sort of disappeared over the last day or two. Here's my own comment from back on May 16th. There are five other user comments missing between when then and your comment today (and I don't know how many missing before I made mine, Blogger only updates me *after* I've contributed, of course):

"I really loved the sort of two-panel comic strip format they've used for most of this--a set-up then a punch line, row after row. It's like reading a story composed of evil Bazooka Joe wrappers. As a matter of fact, you should totally print this story out, wrap it around pieces of gum, and hand it out for Halloween.

My favorite wrapper is the bottom of page two. I love that panel where mom and her fifteen-year-old patricide are dancing a grass-skirt hula down at the old Tropicana or wherever. Belle's first husband is the only audience member who has been colored, but he looks a lot like the other men in the crowd. I like to imagine the art board for that, with a blue pencil circle around Meryl: This guy. I also like to imagine this panel painted on the fuselage of a B-52 bomber, but then I assume everybody does."

Kid said...

What strikes me looking at this tale is just how violent it is, and I can quite understand why stories like this one were viewed as terribly shocking by parents back in the day. Not even TV shows or movies were as graphic as this strip. Viewed nowadays, it's probably lost its ability to shock, but seen in the context of the time, I can see why comicbooks of this nature were regarded by many parents with suspicion and concern. Did Wertham over-egg the pudding? Probably, but it was likely with the best of intentions. If I were a parent, I don't think I'd want my kids seeing this sort of material in case it disturbed them in some way.

However, don't see this as a complaint of any kind about your choice of reprinted strips. Historically, it's very valuable to know about what came before, and you have a great blog and magazine. If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't have been reunited with 'The Man Who Out-Distanced Death!', a story I first read (in a UK b&w reprint mag) as a kid back in the '60s.