Saturday, August 10, 2019

The Secret

A couple more to go from the August 1952 issue of Suspense #21, --and whoa, you've likely seen some pretty lousy ladies presented on this blog over the years, but here's one that'll really get under your skin! Ah well, won't be long until "skin" is apparently no longer an issue (rhymes with tissue) --and by the way, can somebody please get me one, because this story makes me tear up every time!

We also want to wish long-time THOIA follower, Brian Barnes, a very happy birthday today (I believe he turns 87 if I'm not mistaken), and... what a sec... his first and last name both start with a B as well! Also, that beard! AIEEEEE!!!


Guy Callaway said...

More skeletons!! Bless you, sir.
I thought it was going to be George 'Bones' White.

JMR777 said...

I thought the B stood for Beelzebub.
I liked the surprise ending in this one, at least one can hope the rest of the skeletons were only gold-digger murderesses, and not innocent women.

Glowworm said...

I actually figured out that the B was going to stand for Bluebeard--before the reveal of all the corpses in that one room. That description of the eccentric man that George admires was enough to figure it out. Then again, I also happen to be a fairy tale fanatic.
I'm just relieved that George simply decided to take Bluebeard's moniker as his middle name rather than dye his beard blue as well. It would have made the reveal at the end a bit too obvious at the end.

To be honest, I don't even blame George. He's been looking for love in all the wrong places apparently--although I really don't condone him for looking up to Bluebeard. Really not the best role model if you ask me.

Brian Barnes said...

Thanks for the birthday wishes (and it's 88, if you must know, but I look all of 92, thank you very much!)

A couple things I love about this one: I really have a thing for deck-stacking in these short horror tales. Exchanging vows while thinking "I wonder what's the best way to kill this sucker!" I don't think there's a single thought bubble that isn't just outright evil or murderous in this one! And like @JMR777 I have to hope all the other skeletons are black widows, too.

Counting skeletons, this is his 8th marriage, and he's not that old (not the advanced age of 107 like me) -- somebody has had to catch on by now!

I also like another cliche we see in these stories -- literally 1 second after "I do" the woman (and me in the role reversed one) immediately switch to jerk mode!

The art is good, though the hands in the last panel are all sorts of wacky!

Grant said...

The story mentions the right "type" twice, so I thought it was deliberately making you expect a vampire ending.

It's funny that that third bachelor looks a lot like David Bowie.

Mestiere said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Glowworm said...

Mestiere--don't get me started on the dark side of fairy tales--I could go all day long on explaining the much darker--non-Disney versions.
The Grimms' version of Cinderella has the stepsisters being advised by their mother to cut off pieces of their toes and heels when they don't fully fit the slipper--they almost get married to the prince, but the doves that are the guardians of Cinderella's tree that grows upon her mother's grave (No fairy godmother in this tale, just a magic tree with doves that help out Cinderella) rat them out by exposing that they are leaving trails of blood behind. Also, at the end of the tale, the stepsisters attend Cinderella's wedding, and their eyes are pecked out by the doves, so they are doomed to live in blindness for the rest of their lives. No forgiveness in this version!

I have to correct you on The Little Mermaid though--it's a bit more complicated than your description: The mermaid doesn't just want the prince, she also wants an eternal soul that will live on after she dies. (Mermaids have long lifespans, but simply turn to sea foam afterwards.)The sea witch--who is more of a neutral character in this tale rather than Disney's Ursula, warns the mermaid that her decision is a foolish one, and that having legs will hurt like hell for her. Also, she will only gain her eternal soul if she marries the prince, if he marries someone else, on the dawn of the first day of their marriage, the mermaid will die of a broken heart and turn into sea foam. So she was already in a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation to begin with.
Also, the option to kill the prince was because her sisters come to her after giving up their long hair to the sea witch for advice to save her. If she kills the prince--she'll become a mermaid again and won't have to become sea foam. Instead she throws away the knife and herself into the sea. This causes her to become a spirit of the air, earning herself a chance to earn a soul if she does good deeds for mankind for 300 years afterwards.
Basically, it's less of a horror story and more of a tragic tale with a hopeful ending for the mermaid and strong religious undertones.

JBM said...

Happy Birthday Mr. B.! JMR777, I too thought of Beelzebub. The art is good for this tale of no goods. My thanks to you Mr.K.

Mr. Cavin said...

This is my kind of Atlas story. A compact little gem with neat art and solid punchline. I really dig the second-to-last frame: That looming profile shadow--surreal, somehow cubist, impossibly sharing Helen's own bugging-out eyeball. Such a pure impressionistic touch as she recognizes her final horror. It's like the whole world gets just a little more occult when she's damned.

Mr. Karswell said...

Glad to see (and read) that everyone's enjoying this issue of Suspense! Lots more on the way after the final issue post-- and I'd be rude to not also throw out a second birthday wish, this time to Nequam who also celebrated another year on this planet yesterday! Invaluable help on this blog, forever thankful for everything you've done! :)

Mr. Cavin said...

Derp--I'm on vacation and catching up on these via itty bitty gadget, so I didn't see the birthday postscript under the original post. Sorry about that! Happy Birthday, Brian Barnes! Hope the next eightysomething are as excellent as the first eightysomething have been. Stay out of the sunlight! Stay away from the Italian food! Stay young forever!

And Happy Birthday to Nequam as well. I also appreciate, and often benefit from, all the admin work you do around here. I have no idea what manner of monster you might be, so avoid all silver and beheading, I guess, and you should be fine!

Pik-Cor said...

When I was about 8 or 9 years old a couple of teens told me the story of Bluebeard. Scared the crap out of me. The folklorist in me passes this on to you all...

Bluebeard: A Reader's Guide to the English Tradition.