Saturday, November 10, 2018

Man Who Wasn't / Bored to Death

It's been an uncanny month and a half of posts, but today's double whammy of ultra bored, fog bound, Men of Meh marks the end of our Atlas Fest 2018, because starting with our next post we will get back to a more varied publisher mix. I do hope everyone enjoyed the uncanniness! Okay, our first story is from the October 1954 issue of Uncanny Tales #25, with art by John Tartaglione (now everyone knows where I got the original image for the first run of THOIA tee-shirts back in the day!) --and followed by a dynamite Doug Wildey chiller from the June 1954 issue of Uncanny Tales #21.























*Sexy THOIA tee model, Par "Pappy" Holman

10 comments:

Mestiere said...

These can hardly be called horror, right? They are more like meditations on the human condition. Pretty good, too.

In the first story we see that not hurting others is not enough to be considered a good person. You have to get involved, you have to proactively help others.

In the second story a man sees his life from two different points of view. From one the endless repetition seems stifling. From the other—when an accidental peek at the hidden engineers who secretly control reality radically break his routine—he now finds the familiar comforting.

Two moody, philosophical stories many serious writers wish they had written.

BTX said...

Well... two stories that have actual moral points to make, instead of EC inspired "Just Desserts" or "Everybody's a Monster " punchlines. We should indeed be thankful for what we have in life and find our happiness and bring happiness to others. Don't sweat the small (or big) stuff. You never know... you might end up on a Subway to limbo....

BTX said...

Well... two stories that have actual moral points to make, instead of EC inspired "Just Desserts" or "Everybody's a Monster " punchlines. We should indeed be thankful for what we have in life and find our happiness and bring happiness to others. Don't sweat the small (or big) stuff. You never know... you might end up on a Subway to limbo....

JMR777 said...

In "Bored to Death"I liked the Advertisements overhead in the subway. You rarely see cigarette ads anymore. I guessed Chesterfields didn't see the ad in the comic or didn't feel like complaining about the use of their trade name without payment, or maybe they considered it free publicity.


JMR777 said...

Before I forget, Pappy looks sharp in his THOIA attire. Thumbs Up Pappy!

Brian Barnes said...

I think these stories operate on the same general principle of the horror stories, just that the moral is driven inclusively by a single character, without any outside forces. That removes any violence or vengeance elements.

I love the concept that the universe is just a bunch of college kids in white robes pushing buttons on a machine!

Both have splashes that are a bit unfair, though. Still great splashes!

glowworm2 said...

Now I could be wrong, but I'm pretty certain that by issue 25 of Uncanny Tales, the Comics Code was put into effect which meant no more vampires, ghosts, monsters and the like. Both of these stories are from issues from 1954 when the Code went into play. It may not have taken place yet for issue 21 as there is still a zombie story in that one, but issue 25 doesn't really contain anything in regards to actual vampire, ghosts, werewolf stories and leans more on the supernatural and science fiction without leaning on scary elements.

The first tale despite the awesome splash really isn't a "horror" story. The main character doesn't even encounter Hell which strangely doesn't seem to exist in this story as the voice coming from what could only be Heaven tells John "There is no other place!" It ends on a positive note in which John now knows that nothing can come out of nothing and if he does something with his life, he will receive something from his death as well--but not until he's actually ready for it.

As for the second story--I actually did not see that ending coming at all. I just figured "Hey, he'll either realize that his life is just fine and go back to it or he'll actually end up dying by the end of this story in his sleep because he was afraid of his dream." I wasn't expecting it to still occur afterwards. Come on, the poor guy learned his lesson, let him go home and enjoy his dinner with his wife.

JBM said...

The second tale seemed the superior of the two, both in art and story. I did like the eyes in the skull on the first splash. The second story was fantastic. Yes, I agree the vintage ad replicas are extra neat. The turning of the newspaper pages was wonderful. Everyone's head stuck in them, as people have the phones of today now. Notre dame won again and yeah watch out for that run amok vet*. I love detailed comic book art. The Doorman from the first story sighs, as well as our second protagonist. The 50's must have elicited that response. Wow! That ending. What was he seeing to cringe like that? Thank you Mr. K..
* One would like to think that somehow someday the world will stop creating vets. I sigh.

Todd said...

"The subway comes up into the open like the elevated before it gets to the park at the end of the line!"

I think I finally figured out what that means, but it has to be one of the more confusing sentences I've read in a comic book.

Mr. Cavin said...

Wow, Doug Wildey killed it in that last story. I have to second what JBM said about the newspapers (my favorite is the comics page--tiny comics within a comic book panel is so sweetly meta to me), and I have to--what? third?--everybody else who cited the subway ads. I love nothing more than illustrations of textiles, wall art, and the like. It's as if this story was made up of nested New York collage.

Beyond all that, the first panel on page three is a real stunner, one of those unforced gestural illustrations with character and place and a perfect isosceles composition shot with energetic shadows. I'd put that up on my wall in a hot minute.