Sunday, December 29, 2013

Creature of the Deep!

Golden Age greats Jack Katz and Jack Abel do a little Jack Kirby channeling and team-up for this epic monster-rama from the August 1971 issue of Nightmare #5. Also!-- the gorgeous Boris Vallejo cover I know a few of you were waiting for a large scan of too. Hope everyone enjoyed this look at a really cool Skywald "horror mood" issue, maybe we'll do another one next year (and thanks again to Brian Barnes who gave me this issue a long time ago.) We've got one more tale on deck to round out 2013 while ringing in the New Year... yes, we've lots more-- see ya in a few!


Mr. Cavin said...

Oh yeah, this one is most definitely my favorite story from this book. I see they've somehow managed to rein-in that seventies impulse toward ever greater excesses in wonky, attention-grabbing paneling. Here the artists have judiciously broken with the timeless standards only for real artistic purposes instead of mere style over substance. Pages six, seven, and eight are all great, but I especially love that inventive insert panel in the top corner of seven.

I also love the lively, imaginative art here, far more emotional and engaging than the overly designed, commercially arty fare in many other seventies examples. Kirby-esque indeed. These guys were reaching for something, not merely rendering a bunch of illos. When I find myself in the same room with my Photoshop again, I'm going to put that beautiful two-page splash panel back together. It's a showstopper!

Happy New Year Karswell (and everybody else, too)! Can't wait to see what's in store for us in 2014.

Cheswick Stoddard said...

Now there's a face that says, "I really don't like holding this mutant baby".

Mestiere said...

Here we see Armageddon happening in the then future date of 1978, this time by pollution and sea monsters. There was a lot of negativity about the future since the sixties. The Jehovah's Witnesses started pointing at the year 1975 as "the appropriate time for God to act" in 1966. The book The Late Great Planet Earth became an international bestseller in 1970 (its author, Hal Lindsey, is still alive at 84 and still waiting for Armageddon). People thought that the '60s counterculture marked some kind of fundamental change. They feared pollution, overpopulation, nuclear war, even a new ice age. Yet, until 1973 inequality of income was lower than now, unemployment was low and the US had its biggest economic growth rate in history in the second half of the '60s (surely because of the Vietnam War). I guess money can't make you happy indefinitely.

Since then more people have been lifted from poverty in the world than at any other time in history. Life expectancy at birth for the planet as a whole has increased close to twelve years since 1970 to a little over 70, the same as the US in 1969 when Americans landed on the moon. Eighty percent of world adults are literate, 80% of world babies are vaccinated for measles. The fertility rate of countries like Brazil or Iran is lower than that of the US or France. But in rich countries there is still an overwhelming feeling of doom after all these years.

I liked both the story and the art. Perhaps the Bible inspired the story, since an oceanic depletion is followed by sea monsters coming out of the waters. A third of living creatures in the sea are killed by the fall of the star Wormwood in the Book of Revelation, while sea monsters come out of the water in the Book of Daniel (there is a connection between these two books, since the author of Revelation recycles imagery from Daniel). I like that the writer of the story gave it a science fiction spin.

Why is the nurse in the final panel looking at the reader in an accusing manner? Is she blaming us for the end of the world?

Brian Barnes said...

There's one completely odd element to this art -- the hero's face is almost always shown looking down. Go check it out, it's not something you normally see in comic art. They must have been going for something as he seems to be the only character drawn that way.

It's really sticks out!

Other than that, this story really delivers what any kid buying this magazine would love to see. Tanks and planes fighting big monsters. Big monsters stealing women and eating men. Big monsters blowing up into chunks, and the threat of even more big monsters.

And, of course, the topper on the cake, uber-crabby nurse.