Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Dwellers in Darkness

I had a request this week for anything by Jay Disbrow, and further into the conversation after mentioning the Jay Disbrow Chilling Archives hardcover collection from IDW / Yoe Books (still available HERE), this same person (who shall remain nameless!) didn't even know the book existed somehow! Soooo, here's an example of a story from said collection-- a story that somehow also hasn't found its way into the THOIA Archive! Alright, killing two birds with one satanic stone, here we go with a definitive Jay Disbrow classic! From the September 1954 issue of Beware #11.


Mestiere said...

I believe this story is inspired in "The Shaver Mystery", a conspiracy theory invented by loon Richard Sharpe Shaver and promoted by four-foot tall hunchback and publisher of Amazing Stories and Fate magazines Raymond A. Palmer. Shaver claimed to have discovered a race of cave dwelling sadistic beings called by him Deros. They were responsible for all evil, transmitting voices and tormenting thoughts to surface dwellers with advanced rays and causing accidents and natural disasters. They also raped women and ate people. Supposedly Shaver was their prisoner for years.

When his story was published by Palmer in the March issue, 1945 of Amazing as "I Remember Lemuria" it caused quite a sensation. Tens of thousands of people claimed to have also heard the voices of the Deros in their heads (I don't doubt they were hearing voices!) and to have encountered them. Women who claimed to have been raped by the Deros wrote to Palmer. "Shaver Mystery Club" societies were created in several cities and Life magazine even mentioned the phenomenon in 1951. This lunacy went on for years, decades before Alex Jones. In case you doubt this story is inspired by "The Shaver Mystery" check this out.

As for the story, it has a demon "dressed" with his own pubic hair so... a passing grade? said...

I don't really like the love comics but some of Jay Disbrow's love comics are interesting. The stories are outdated melodramas based on exaggerated misunderstandings but the art is really nice.

Mr. Cavin said...

Page three is amazing. Unruly hair, Spock ears, pointy underbite, and bloodshot hypnotism all add-up to just one thing: Werewolf Svengali. Even a newborn puppy can see that.

I'm smitten with Disbrow's nutty cluttered aesthetic and the colorist's commitment to orange and teal. I really dig the devil's classic screwball plan to temper the fallout from a career-ending tell-all scandal. I love how everybody can just naturally pronounce "Htaed" without a second thought.

Todd said...

Well, I certainly didn't see that ending coming.

I'd be interested to know if there's any connection between the art here and that of "The Flayed Hand" in 3 Famous Mysteries.

JBM said...

Ah, the classic I'm a big powerful monster! By the way here's how to defeat me. Thank you Mr. K.

Brian Barnes said...

Page 2, panel 6 is pretty great, why the evil jack-o-lantern shadow is never explained, but still a cool effect.

Why did they have to lure out hero in? They were able to steal books from thousands of people, from the mail, from everywhere, without being seen once. I think they can snatch one man!

I really like the art. The evil henchman with his red eyes, our golden devil/demon/whatever, and even the final panel (which reads more like the author ran out of ideas!) That said, I'd make one addition, they should have introduced the watch earlier ("hey, you're book is selling so well we got you a watch, it's silver as a laugh on the ending of your book.")

Grant said...

Along with being hard to pronounce, Lufwa Htaed has to be about the most obvious anagram in the world. Not that guessing that would've sped up the plot, but it's still funny that they don't get it. (I guess all those vampire story characters who don't recognize "Alucard" for what it is shouldn't feel so bad.)

glowworm2 said...

That ending is kind of out of left field--even the explanation for it seems a bit forced if you ask me.
I too love that evil shadow on panel 6 of page 2 even though there is absolutely no reason for it whatsoever.(unless it's somehow hinting at that crazy ending which I highly doubt)
Also,Htaed Lufwa looks like the late Charles Manson to me--how bizarrely fitting.

Grant said...

I guess if you want to be technical, I meant palindrome not anagram.

Somehow horror stories ABOUT horror writers almost always entertain me, including this one. It's a gimmick, but one that almost never wears thin in my case.