Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Death Thumbs a Ride

Here’s another wonderful example of cold blooded, Grade 'A', ugly ruthlessness for impressionable young kid’s in the 50’s to consume (in the name of entertainment.) Sometimes I think Wertham had a point. Wait. Nahhh.

From the January 1953 issue of Strange Mysteries #9


Marc Burkhardt said...

I never knew that Walter Cronkite was so vindictive.

Anyway, I've got to save my pennies for that Frazetta book.

silvano said...

After the last two stories posted , this one appears as "too normal" ;but it's great fun stuff anyway !
Thanks for sharing

AndyDecker said...

A well told story - but at the end it doesn´t make any sense. If he would have been at home then Death would have him visited there at eight? Also Death was there when he murdered his friend.

Maby one shouldn´t think too much about those stories.

This reads like someone wrote himself into a tight corner :-)

Mr. Cavin said...

See, now that twist, right out of left field like that, would have been a real shocker if they hadn't given it away in the splash. Honestly, if it had one of those CrimeSuspense cover panels gasping "No Alex, don't put me in my BASEMENT GRAVE!!", then when the story continued after the murder, all the reader would suspect would be "Zombie Retribution" or maybe "Fatal Hubris." Who'd even see "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Hitchhiker" coming?

And Frazetta. You know, I always loved Frazetta. Then I noticed all his figures looked disproportionate to me: big heads, short limbs, oddly-shaped torsos, bizarre angles (especially around the chin and neck). It drives me nuts now. I'm crazy right? I mean, Frazetta knows what he's doing, right? He's either right or he's wrong for effect. Still, I have trouble getting past it.

Emby Quinn said...

I'm with Mr. Cavin on this story. After giving the end away on the splash page like that, the ending seems almost anticlimactic.

As for Frazetta, I love his early work, especially the romance stories. (Stop looking at me like that.)

The Vicar of VHS said...

The splash does give everything away, but would you have read it if it'd just shown Tubby Moneybags shaking his fist at his wife and friend making out in the window? Or brooding over his freakishly small feet as at the bottom of pg. 2?

And about that splash, what a great line: "Like a rabbit at the mercy of a ferret!" Gotta give 'em points for not going for the obvious "snake" simile, at least.

I'm not sure I understand the whole glass-switch thing. He pours poison in the glass he DOESN'T give to the guy, and his plan originally was to SHOOT him? It's kind of like that scene in The Princess Bride, but not as funny.

I do love Death's nonchalant attitude, though. "Oh, go ahead and crash, I don't mind. One way's as good as another!" Nice to see he doesn't sweat the details too much. As long as the work gets done, after all...

Patrick said...

I always wondered why I don't pick up hitchhikers, and now I know!!

Any story with a skeletal representation of death is a good story in my humble opinion!

Frazetta- one of my all time favorite artists for sure. This book looks like it would be a winner!!

Anonymous said...

Great comments, all.

"A good thing this is the only phone, or he'd be listening." That cracked me up, for some reason. Maybe it was Carstairs' expression. He looks like a 6th grade girl overhearing her friends gossiping about her.

I think there's something missing here in Carstairs' reasoning: "I'm driving to Mexico with a car full of money after having killed my wife and her lover. Why not pick up this random hitchhiker?"

And this is the first time death has been late in all eternity? Wow.

Unknown said...

I was waiting for death to explain how he had died and not realized it. I cannot recall death being so brazen before, actually to cause an accident after arrival.

Oh, well. Not everyone has the honor of death by flesh-eating mermaid, werewolf, etc.

Zen Wizard said...

I liked that "Good thing this is the only phone..." line, too.


Mr. Karswell said...

Mr C, I hate to admit but I've never disagreed with anything so strongly as your comment today about Frazetta. But maybe that's just me (still like ya bub.)

One more story to go from this Strange Mysteries issue for tomorrow. And Brian Hirsch sent me a real mindblower of a story for Friday... and wait'll you see what's cookin' for the weekend!

Anonymous said...

Dude sure does like to - (chuckle) - laugh to himself a lot.

joe ackerman said...

i dunno, i kind of agree with mr. cavin's comment about frazetta's proportions. but frazetta could carry that off, in a way that most other artists couldn't. i remember reading an interview with ( of all people ) jim lee, where he said that it didn't matter if you drew a character with dodgy anatomy, providing that you ALWAYS drew that character with dodgy anatomy. meh. what do i know?

great strip, by the way. as usual.