Sunday, March 24, 2019

The Hangman's Son

Time for a shivery supernatural tale, guaranteed to choke you up a bit, from the December 1951 issue of Captain Science #7. Vince Napoli's oddly shoddy artwork actually works to the story's advantage this time around, providing a surreal air of nightmarish weirdness, and propelling those bent-necked spectres into a whole other realm of blood-curdling spookery. Have yourselves a super swingin' Sunday, fiends!


Mestiere said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nequam said...

This one might have actually looked better in B&W. The shadows are nice and stark but the coloring tends to go off-register.

JMR777 said...

The father should have told his son he was a state employee and part of his job was travelling the state.

Something to consider for each THOIA reader, when you were youngster if you met a kid who admitted his dad worked as an executioner, would you be shocked or would you think the kid's dad had a better job than your own dad?

Executioner or undertaker, neither profession has professionals who brag about their work.

Glowworm said...

At least Jimmy's dad didn't leave him hanging there for too long!

JBM said...

"Captain Science" huh? Never heard of him, but some sexy covers in the GCD. This was a good story but near great conveying art. The invasion of the triangles is the alternate title for this one. A weird nightmare for sure. Thank you Mr. K. as always.

Brian Barnes said...

Caaaaapppttttaaaaiiinnn SCIENCE!

They re-purposed a lot of magazines into horror comics during the boom, didn't they! And I thought Captain America's Weird Tales was the worst of it!

The triangle shadows is such a strange idea, it had to be mechanical because otherwise that would have taken forever (some inking tool.) It's ... interesting. It works in places, like Page 4, panel 4 (I guess, weird paneling.) It doesn't work in others (it's distracting in the splash.)

That said, some incredibly effective images here. Page 5, panel 4 is spooky as all get out, with them all popping up with the bent necks!

The story is a bit more superhero-ish in spots, and, well, contains absolutely no science. I really like this one -- the art is shoddy, but I think it works. I think in B&W (as @nequam said) and maybe pull back on the triangles and this thing would work even better (the story needs some editing in place, and other places a lot of editing!) Still ... very cool.

Mr. Cavin said...

I am a fan of outsider art for sure. So I'm gonna go ahead and define this in that way (or maybe let's coin "outsider illustration" for this?) so I can get over the hump of trying to fit it to my usual expectations of storytelling. Because honestly, this is pretty rough and also very effective, by turns; and and that makes it hard not to respect. "Better" draftsmanship would definitely fail here. I don't really mind the triangles, but they are certainly just one more curiosity. But the strange shapes abound, so why not triangles? I do want to keep about seventy percent of the color. Sometimes it makes the image (it's essential in the splash and in the bottom rows of pages two and five, for example); but at other times it's just wicked crappy (like in all of page four). I love the harsh lines, the bizarre blacks, and the bent necks here. I even love some of the goofy paneling (I think all of page three is super--especially that dutch angle on the stairwell, echoed in the next frame down).

But it's symbiotic, right? Frankly, the writing isn't really helping out with the sober verisimilitude here, either. Outsider narration? The progression of events is too dreamlike, the scope of the story too personal and interpretive. Without the weird storytelling, the art would suffer more than it does.


JMR777 said...

I was thinking about this story while at work and it reminded me of the Euro horror movies that came out in the seventies, both the movies and this comic have a fever dream like quality to them, the logic is there but it is the logic one has while dreaming, it only makes sense in a sub-conscious state.

I'm not saying the comic is bad in any way, it falls under the category of 'strange but in a good way'.

From the other comments above this comic certainly has stimulated the synapses of followers of THOIA, which is a good thing. Sometimes going off the beaten path breaks up the monotony, and reading a strange, offbeat comic like this one has done the same thing.

All in all a welcome addition to THOIAm Thanks for the thought provoking post, Karswell.

Grant said...

This story feels so much like it belongs in some early ' 70s Charlton horror comic. And I mean that in a good way.

I think I can partially answer JMR777's question. I think plenty of people (kids and adults alike) would get a real kick out of it (with or without being COMPLETELY okay with it).
It's like what happens when I see a home buyer in a story who's completely horrified after they find out they've bought a "murder house." I can think of plenty of people who would get a kick out that also (even if, again, they had MIXED feelings about it).