Friday, March 20, 2020

Wilfred Takes A... Wife!

Boy, is it just me, or does the October 1953 issue of Mystery Tales #16 really have it out for the ladies? I mean, 4 out of 5 stories recommend evil for their readers who choose-- umm-- hey, let's just get on with the story today, shall we?

But Can Anyone Learn To Dance --Like A Plant!


Bill the Butcher said...

What do I love most in this insane tale? Is it the ludicrous stilted dialogue? Is it the biological lunacy of a human plant? Is it the psycho expression on Wilfred's face as his plant swallows his bride and regurgitates her? Actually, for me, it's the enormous amount of artistic effort that went into creating what in substance is basically a rather funny Sunday supplement comic strip. One might as well have the same story with coloured void backgrounds and cartoon-blob figures (something like the Family Circus) but back then artists obviously put in effort. And, no, I still am not going to look at who the artist is.

Glowworm said...

To be perfectly honest, this isn't the only issue of an atlas comic where almost all of the stories are hellbent on bashing marriage. Perhaps Stan was going through a rough time himself? It's always two different stereotypes too--and not just in Atlas comics, but practically every horror comic brand of that time period. If it isn't the overbearing, ugly, nagging wife, it's the pretty, backstabbing one who simply wants her husband's wealth and nothing else.

Anyhow, I'm not even going to wonder how Wilfred was even produced, let alone how he knew how to convert Mary into something similar to himself. The story is pretty fun though, and you really don't suspect what is up with Wilfred until you finally realize just WHY we only see him behind that desk. (although it is easy to guess that he's his father's greatest experiment) The last panel of page 4 is awesome--just the way the plant clutches at Mary while she shrieks in panic is gorgeously done. I also really love the transformation panels of the last page as Mary becomes more suitable to Wilfred's longings. said...

The middle right panel on the last page is my favourite.
His smile makes the story more insane.
I made a list of my favourite Atlas artists, starting with the best at number one.

1) Basil Wolverton: doesn't have to be Atlas. All of his horror tales are special. Often his art looks even better in B&W
2)Joe Maneely: His art was so spontaneously, yet full of detail. Stan Lee's favourite artist when he was alive.
3)Matt Fox: He has that intensely weird vibe that makes a story so fun to read.
4) Charles Winters: My favourite story of his is the Wage Earners
5) Bill Everett : maybe my favourite story of his is A playmate for Susan
6) RussHeath: THere's often a feeling of perfection to some of the Russ Heath art
7)Joe Sinnot: His most unique work seems to have been in horror comics. The Wax Men is my favourite of his
8) Al Aldeah: my favourite of his is a Harvey story called Cycle of Death, (I think)
9)Jack Keller: He has a story about a widow with a war hero son that is buried in her yard and another that are favourites
10) a tie between Myron Fass, Robert Sale and Di Preta

Mr. Cavin said...

It's amazing the number of hopeful young romantics who bank on improving their relationship by effecting some change in the behavior of their intended. Maybe some eccentricities can be overlooked, but surely not that embarrassing seventies bachelor pad, or maybe the strange fashion sense, or their indiscriminate party-swinging, or their insufferable mammalian milk-sucking hairiness....

I liked the penciling here. Especially the character designs and those groovy bizarre plants. Sometimes the inking feels a little hasty, but not in the splash where the hatching really works to make the light moody--something the colorist kind of boinked throughout. Speaking of color, it's too bad they didn't have the wherewithal to do any in the backgrounds. This might have been lush and beautiful, and I feel like it would have served the story.

I also noted the oddly stilted dialog. To me it felt like it was translated from another language. It totally added some old world charm.

Brian Barnes said...

I went to check out the artist at GCD and the cover of this issue ... wow ... I assume you'll put it up if you get to the main story.

Fun 5 pager, I knew the son was a plant pretty quickly but turning the woman into a plant was a twist I didn't see coming. I agree with Bill that DiPreta went up and above with this one, a lot of detail that wasn't necessary. Pages 4 and 5 have a lot of great expressions on Mary. DiPreta has a cartoon-y feel in other places (like the broad expressions at the bottom of page 3.). I like it!

The plant eating/recreating is actually pretty creepy!

Alright, my old saw. The coloring is not great. Maybe your copy is faded, but it's really washed out, especially on the last page. Why not make the plants green? It's kind of a bizarre choice! Usually coloring is not a problem at Atlas.

Todd said...

Wilfred had too good a unibrow not to turn out a monster of some sort. I liked this probably more than I should have, but it's hard to feel much sympathy for Mary, and I can't really decide what to make of Wilfred's ethics or morals. Fortunately, I don't have to decide!