Friday, March 29, 2019

The Deathlook

Not be confused with the cybernetic sensation, Deathlok (that would be a totally different blog), this is a horrific shrunken head mystery with a really super splash 'n title treatment --and a twist! See if you can figure it out... I bet you can. From the November 1954 issue of Secret Mysteries #16.









7 comments:

Brian Barnes said...

I had no idea they could hang ironic decorations at somebody's execution!

I like the close-up of the head on the splash, we could have used more of that but it quickly became a scooby-doo mystery.

There's some odd art here, both in camera angle and empty space and some impossible arms. A pretty decent mash-up of horror/crime but I suspect the ending would have been harder to guess in 54. Now the clues are pretty obvious.

Mestiere said...

You win your bet, I figured it out by the middle of page three. The first clue was the head being "as heavy as lead", which sounded peculiar. The increase in "white corpuscles" did not help because radiation, as we all know, lowers the white blood cell count, like in chemotherapy. But when they said the heads glowed then the "heavy as lead" part immediately made sense since uranium decays into lead. By the time they mentioned the ruined photographic film it was too much information. I liked it anyway, it was a nice two-minute Columbo.

Interesting that Nald was willing to kill over uranium. I don't know how much it was worth back then, but today it's barely 28 dollars a pound versus almost 19,000 dollars a pound for gold.

JMR777 said...

Too bad Inspector Roans was only in this one story. He could have been a rival for Dr. Drew, except Inspector Roans would reveal the black magic was used as a red herring to conceal the identity of the thief or murderer.

My thanks to Mestiere to inspire me to look into Uranium's price in the 50's,

http://national-radiation-instrument-catalog.com/new_page_14.htm

"A bonus of $10,000 is authorized for discovery and production of high grade ores from new domestic products."

Ten grand back in 1953 or so would be worth one hundred grand today, or even more if inflation was calculated the old way, figure ten grand then worth a quarter of a million in today's money. With that much money you could corner the market in shrunken heads.

Thanks for the fun mystery Karswell.

glowworm2 said...

See kids? Shrunken heads don't kill people. Men who hide uranium in them do!

Mr. Cavin said...

The ending may not have been a total surprise, but page two sure was. What a slaughterhouse! I did not expect to lose what seemed like our main character between first act panels. And twice! That's the kind of anything goes bait-n-switcheroo that really keeps a reader on his or her toes.

Mestiere said...

That's a terrific page you found, JMR777!

This quote got my attention: "No special governmental license or permit is needed to prospect for or mine uranium or thorium on public or private lands."
Isn't our government wonderful? "Just help yourself to some radioactive materials, citizen. You'll acquire a healthy glow!"

JBM said...

"Now harmless" but they still glowed? Yes it was clear from the start that radioactivity was the horror here. I especially liked the first two panels of page two. That face in panel one is outstanding. Panel two, I am a sucker for cinematic window, mirror, door sight angles. Perspective is essential to everything. Thank you Mr. K.