Thursday, September 5, 2019

Ghoulash

To those of you that have spent any considerable amount of time reading pre code horror comics, today's carnivorous climax will come as no surprise-- but holy moly, this one is definitely all about the terrific trip getting there! So many great, gory moments in this bloodthirsty tale of a murderous menage a trois gone monstrously wrong... so many moments in fact that we here at THOIA believe the appropriately named illustrative genius of Bill Savage deserves some kind of award of awesomeness or something. And yes, there's clearly a reason this story was remade quite a few times in the Eerie Pubs too-- whew! From the June 1954 issue of Mysterious Adventures #20.













11 comments:

Mestiere said...

That's a lot of goodness. Let's break it down:

• I like how Elaine's face gets all evil when she sucks blood or just thinks of doing something bad.

• Elaine's knife produces invisible gashes that kill without spilling blood.

• Elaine can suck frozen blood!

• Elaine is ambidextrous. She will hold the knife with her right hand or her left.

• Elaine must be cold-blooded. She said the wino's blood would last her "ten or twelve days". A man's entire blood supply barely contains 4500 calories, enough to last a woman two days. Blood is poor in almost all nutrients except iron, of which it has too much. Vampire bats have to drink half their weight in blood every day and would die if they have to fast for three days.

• I assumed that the Wolfe brothers would be werewolves because of their name but for a brief moment I thought the were talking of polyandry when they said they would share Elaine. Alternative lifestyles in a 1950s comic! But no, I was right the first time. Although vampirism and cannibalism are alternative lifestyles too!

I liked this one.

Brian Barnes said...

There's a good reason that panels from this float around the internet.

Best sexy vampire transformation: The splash.
Best ugly vampire transformation: Page 2, panel 5.
Best spock look alike? Page 5, panel 2.
Best vampire headlights: Page 6, panel 7 (honorable mention, page 5, panel 6, ah, pre-code!)

It's amazing the werewolf brothers don't at least mention they are about to kill a vampire, as if they already knew. Do vampires taste better?

This is just a ton of fun. "TCH, TCH, TCH, I do hope they don't lose too much blood!" Some writer is airing out some pain, I see!

The last panel features some very Jack Davis-ish werewolves.

Mr. Cavin said...

I really appreciate the way this smirks at rigid mid-century domestic mores and modern household conveniences. It's like a wicked joke scrawled in a Sears Catalog. There's something downright Lynchian about the glee with which the story truly subverts its fifties relationship and homemaking veneer--sexual freedom, female power, refrigeration, oh my!--only to cheekily avoid the conversation altogether by rendering everyone safely mythical in the end. Clever.

I assume the author successfully staunched an urge to include the obvious homage to Dracula in a word balloon between the first two panels of page three: "I don't drink... wine." Obviously I have no such self-control.

JBM said...

This starts with a kinda comical cover. Then a terrorific splash. The scripting has a "Mad" flavor to me. She is one ugly vampire. The Wolfe brothers. The thermos's of tomato juice. Was that a groin kick that elicited that AIEEEEEE! Once again we're asked the age old question. Vampire vs. werewolf, who wins the death match? Thank you Mr.K.

JBM said...

Oh yeah. In regards to Mr.B's headlight panels. What was the colorist thinking? I just can't see the reasoning for the yellowing of the headlights. Can I skip it? No way! Thank you Mr.K.!

Grant said...

"Vampire headlights" is right. It gives the illusion of a see-through dress.

The comments about it teasing mid-century attitudes are interesting. The problem is, a relationship like that would have people shouting things like "Perv!" and "Slut!" RIGHT NOW. So it's kind of a case of "The more things change...."

JMR777 said...

A blonde werewolf, now there is a new one!

If Elaine had a sister or female friend who was a witch, another vampire or ghoul they could have double dated.

This could have worked out if Elaine had chosen one of the two brothers, just like Jack Spratt would eat no fat and his wife would eat no lean, the vamp would get the blood and the wolf get the meat, share and share alike.

Wild tale but fun!



JMR777 said...

As far as headlights go in this story, you have to give an honorable mention (or horrible mention) to the splash page.

Glowworm said...

Yeah, that was clearly a kick to Frank's groin on page 6 in panel 6.
I love the campy narrator who insists on calling us readers "Kids" and "Kiddies."
Yeah, the ending is pretty obvious--what does surprise me though is that Elaine actually kills her prey with a knife rather than simply fang em to death. Guess it's less messy for later, when she pops them into her freezer to snack on.
Thermoses full of "tomato juice." That's hilarious--especially because I find tomato juice to be disgusting.

Mr. Cavin said...

"...it's kind of a case of 'The more things change....'"

Grant: I get where you're coming from. And honestly, I hope you aren't right about people being regularly slut shamed for alternate lifestyles in our modern communities. But I do certainly agree that things are a bit more prudish now than they were in the fifties. Does that seem wrong? When we look back to the post-war era, we are doing it through the lens of baby boomer nostalgia. And that's legit--this was a time when US pop culture was custom-made for a record-breaking number of babies. If those times seem childlike to us now, it is partially because a statistically impressive percentage of the US population were actually children. TV, brand new, was made for family homes. Movies fell right in line. Comics were forcibly retrofitted for younger readership (that last one is pretty germane to our common interest here). No less that adolescence itself was shaped by the baby boom--the fifties invented teenagers, after all. Those first teens were my parents older siblings. What trickled down to me were their childhood impressions, verified by existing cultural documents. But that's a sanitized history, hand crafted for the sensibilities of children.

And it’s possible to see through it. Sure, TV would have you believe that wholesome white nuclear families dominated the newly-constructed suburbs: war hero dads with astronaut wives smiling over pitchers of Tang, the kids shootin’ capguns near the backyard fallout shelter. But even in that, the underlying anxieties are obvious. Those dads were often shell-shocked vets; the moms a newly emancipated workforce recently pressed back into the home; the teens were lost boys, younger brothers who ganged-up during war years that had left them abandoned in the interstice. There was a defining line between the babies of the boom and the adults of the era, many of which had been robbed of childhood just a few years before. Their kids had to be protected at all costs! If not, what was the whole point?

But people were busting at the seams. Inner cities were nosediving into poverty, and by the early sixties everything would star to explode. But back in the fifties, the boomers were still kids and the anxieties were still a poorly-kept secret. The stag film industry was burgeoning. Lurid crime and romance mags vectored every kind of perversion. Were key parties even real? I don’t know, they were certainly in the newspaper. Moral panic was real! Bettie Page was real. Greaser fights were real. Branch Davidians and Scientology are still real. Ed Gein was real. Lord knows what all went on in the backs of those suburban starter homes after the baby boom went to sleep every night. It was an era of incredible social change that I find to be much more lurid with outlandish mores than we tend to expect.

Anyway, pretty sure that was being lampooned here.

Todd said...

Long been a fan of this one. Forgot it hadn't been posted here before! Wish the Wolfe brothers had their own weekly sitcom, like My Three Sons but with murder.