Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The Twisted Hands

We're heading back out to sea (temporarily), and our captain today is the late great, Alex Toth, steering us headlong into a bloody tale of titanic treachery and inescapable doom. The fact that this story starts out in the middle of the ocean, yet ends in the middle of the Arizona desert makes it all the more frighteningly fantastic. From the February 1953 issue of Adventures into Darkness #8.


Mestiere said...

I think the object Felton used to break Sanders' fingers was meant to be a belaying pin, not a marlinspike. Belaying pins are used to tie sails, like in pirate movies. Since the S.S. Zanzibar was not a sailboat—and neither was the lifeboat—one assumes Felton had that thing as a weapon, or just in case he had to break some poor castaway's fingers.

The rules of revenge beyond the grave are difficult to figure out. Sanders drowned poor Shaw even though he did nothing wrong. Is it because he didn't stop Felton? There were a bunch of other people in the boat who didn't stop him either, but don't seem to have been punished. When Sanders appears to Shaw, Felton can't see him. But later in the desert he can. Sanders' ghost can only be seen by the person he wants to kill? One is almost inclined to think that Shaw's and Fenton's feelings of overwhelming guilt caused fatal hallucinations except that next to the pond there were some seaweed and a "marlinspike".

Good art.

JBM said...

This was very well done. I especially liked the last panel on page three. It spoke to me. Thank you Mr.K. for this somewhat familiar tale. Mestiere brings up guilty hallucinations, I was thinking about the previous post and all that seaweed. Perhaps during his swim he got tangled in some seaweed and drowned in a hallucinatory panic.

JMR777 said...

This reminded me of something a comedian said on TV long ago- "You think you're safe in the desert, but watch out! Here comes Jaws with a canteen!"

Brian Barnes said...

I was going to complain about "marlinspike" -- which I had to look up -- only to discover that it's not even the correct term (@mestiere!)

This is a tale we've seen numerous time, where the setup is the ghost needs X to kill you, so you position yourself as far away from X as possible. This one doesn't do anything clever, the ghost just walks him until they find a pond!

I love the blacks on the last page, especially when it hits the "water" he's sinking into. Also Toth keeps the ghost at a distance, which makes it a bit more spooky. The pacing is great, the story moves right along, and it's very economic in panel layout.

Todd said...

I feel like your hands wouldn't stay all bloody in the water very long, but there I go applying logic where it doesn't belong.

Mr. Cavin said...

It's always excellent to see another Alex Toth story. The guy's drafting choices can sometimes leave me a little cold (like, I love the figure drawing in this one; but not so much that sky hatching), but he's gotta be one of the three or four best ever sequential storytellers. There is never a half-assed job, no matter how modest the story otherwise. The panel procession is always some kind of master class.

And what a splash!

Grant said...

Not only is Shaw's degree of guilt pretty murky, but even Felton's is. As far as you know, he was right about there being no more room in the lifeboat, and if so, what good would he have done Sanders by taking him in? (Even though that line "The sea's no place for softies!" is pretty lousy.)
So it's kind of preferable to think he and Shaw each let guilt feelings get to him, period.

Guy Callaway said...

'Mummy In The Murder Room' Would also work as the title.
Great tale!