Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Deadline / Beware of the Chair!

It's a perfect day for a double execution, as we wrap-up our Stan Lee Tribute Fest of 2018 with a double header of doom! Stan penned the first story, with art by John Romita, while our second tale is a request fulfillment for more Joe Sinnott! Always glad to oblige that request. Both stories are from the June 1953 issue of Men's Adventures #22, highlighted with a spectacularly spooky cover by Bill Everett! Hope everyone enjoyed this 2 month stretch of precode Atlas horror classics, --and don't forget to give another toast to the one who made it all possible! RIP to The Man.


Brian Barnes said...

The great thing about the "be an artist" ad is the final "reason" to be an artist ... you get to hang around soda-swilling hot models!

The cover picture for "mark of the witch" makes it look like the witch is doing a bombing run. I don't want to know what she is using for bombs!

Deadline is fun with some great art and some really attractive women, emotive faces, and a real angry, vindictive hero. For a guy who made that much money, though, you'd think he'd have more than one guy in on the plot, just in case!

Beware the chair is the better of the two with one of the best reapers I've seen in a while. I love the positioning of the skull in the second to last panel. The ending isn't super obvious (as we've seen lots of criminals escape with time travel tricks) and it's not sprung on the last panel but grows organically.

2 months of Atlas was great, thanks!

JBM said...

Thank you Stan. Thank you Mr. K.. A fitting tribute to "the man".

JMR777 said...

In Deadline, Rock Winters seems to be a prototype for J Jonah Jameson, minus the mustache and flat top haircut. I suspect a newspaper editor got on the wrong side of Stan the Man at one time, and the Master of Marvel got even with him for decades via the comics.

One thing that would have made Deadline a darker tale - the DA refusing to tell the truth concerning the suicide, with the DA seeking revenge for Winters' ruining a friend or family member of the District Attorney. Talk about payback!

I Learned To Be An Artist was a neat ad from the fifties, I wonder how many (or how few) became professional artists from the course.

Beware of the Chair could be turned into a Twilight Zone episode and still have the same punch it had decades ago.

Stan Lee, gone but never forgotten.

Glowworm said...

I don't know why, but I kind of laughed at the part in "The Deadline" where the narrator mentions that Rock doesn't even notice his wife's presence--and she's lying dead on the floor.
So I guess Rock is his nickname because both his wife and one of the jurors call him Robert.It's a nice fitting end for him.

Beware the Chair is fun because you don't see the ending coming. Sure, the old man's face is hidden in the shadows until the very end, but this isn't a story you could easily guess the ending to. I love how Frankie breaks the fourth wall in panel 5 on page four by speaking to the narrator.
I also love how it's basically a modern version of an "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" with the criminal thinking he's escaped and found a way to outwit his captors only to find out that he's hallucinating and that he's been sitting in the electric chair the entire time.

Grant said...

"Deadline" is yet another period story about harassment where the female character takes care of the problem very well (apart from the obvious thing, having to quit). You're usually told that that didn't happen - even in fiction - before such and such year.

Even though I've never been a smoker, those little cigarette burns give that copy a funny down to earth look. said...

Great send off on a high note. I liked Deadline a lot but thought it would be better if the last two panels didn't exist with that old man saying, "I told you so!" He's even shaking his fingers. Instead, just end with Rock looking at the telegram screaming, "no!"
It was a good story though and thanks for the Sinnott! He was one of the Atlas greats.
His decisions usually seem close to perfect.
Men's Adventures?
I have this book with covers and illustrations from Men's Adventure magazines. The illustrations are great and this was a whole genre in the fifties. Mario Puzo was a successful Men's Adventure magazine writer. THat's a genre that won't be coming back very soon.
Are these comics trying to be like those? I guess they had no super-natural elements, more like Beware the Chair.
I googled another title like this sort of... it's called 'Man.'
Just 'Man.' I could only find a cover and it's a really bad photograph. You can hardly see the comic but it just has a guy walking and the title is Man!
I wish they would publish all of this stuff.
You guys would do a better job probably.
They would maybe re-colour it and print it on shiny paper stock.
I guess you've approached them?
That would be awesome. You would be able to make a Sinnott book.

Guy Callaway said...

I wasn't that familiar with Atlas, so this was a real treat for me.
The two things that stood out were the tales never outstayed their welcome & how consistent the art was.

Mr. Cavin said...

Man, I love all early Lee and Romita collaborations. Long before anybody was Drawing Comics the Marvel Way, here were two of the silver age's tippy top talents writing and drawing in a much coarser, much more brutal, much more emotional way. Like JMR, I noted the sorta proto-Spidey nature of Deadline, and I think the idea enriches the story. Young, naked-lipped Jameson, married into the Daily Bugle family and something like twice as evil in his insecurities, sexually assaulting Betty Brant and leveling the might of the press at her in revenge for rejecting him. I mean, it's Spider-Man without Spider-Man, right? In the real world, assholes like Jonah don't have super heroes to kick around, so they just have to go after somebody else. Whoever irks them or makes them feel insecure. Depressing, nihilistic, the story seems so much more hardcore in light of what came later.

I love the Sinnott stuff too--the splash is especially amazing. The color work here is pretty mighty and I like the subtler tone of Lee's writing in this story maybe best of the two. The ending didn't catch me especially off-guard, but what can I say? Any panels with concentric spooky-doo rings are solid gold with me. I just wish they'd been rainbow-colored!

Thanks for two months of Atlas, Karswell! And of course, thanks for fifty years of comics and magazines and toys and movies and television shows, Stan Lee. Wotta ride.

qamar said...

Stan missed the punchline on Deadline. He should have had Bradley turn out to be the newly employed Hangman. That would have made a great last panel don't you think?

Mr. Cavin said...

Great idea qamar. Or maybe Bradley was the driver of the car.