Monday, September 2, 2019


After we complete a month of Atlas posts, the first non-Atlas story to follow has some bloody big shoes to fill to get us back into the swingin' mix of all things pre code horror! So let's turn the pendulum controls over to Rudy Palais and see how he does it with this surprisingly gory, cutting edge tale of a cute couple, a dark and stormy night, an old house in the middle of nowhere, and a very large, very sharp blade! From the August 1952 issue of Harvey's great Black Cat Mystery #38.


Glowworm said...

The husband in this story just so happens to share my first name.
I love how Simon Moriarty gleefully chuckles on the second page in the third panel before bidding his guests goodnight. That's the first clue that something is definitely wrong with him. I also love how the cops come to the rescue as the deus ex machina in this story--and they're actually successful too.
The cops said that Simon broke loose a few days ago, yet he certainly was busy the few days he was free. Look at all those severed legs.

Mestiere said...

Jamie goes to look for Simon Moriarty while Anne packs their stuff and when Jaime finds Simon he also finds Anne tied up. That means that while Jamie was looking for Simon he (Simon) had gone back to the Winters' room, captured Anne and was already busy with his cleaver when Jaime arrived. They never crossed paths nor did Jaime hear anything. Simon must have been quite the builder to create all those secret, soundproof passageways by himself. Not to mention massively strong to hoist all those bodies alone.

"He broke out of the asylum a few days ago. We figgered he might come back here... This used to be his place!" Then the cops should have gone to his place right away, not in a few days. Simon must have killed a dozen people in those few days, what a hungry growing boy! And the place still had the murder machine, chains, cleavers, meat hooks and vats ready for use! What was the local government planning to do with that building?

Anne's appearance in the last panel is extremely alarming. What happened to her skirt? Whose blood is that on her leg? It seems that her capture was an ugly, nasty affair. Leave it to the imagination or, even better, don't think about it.

A violent, somewhat surreal story.

Grant said...

There must be relatively few stories where the villain is shot and WOUNDED, but this seems to be one.

Brian Barnes said...

The story ... it's pretty cliche and meh ... I never liked stories where the hero never does anything (and he doesn't, he gets caught and is saved by the police, he doesn't save a single person.)

But the art. Oh the art. The art saves this one and pushes it over the goal line. The Palais sweat! The panels where the clockwork mechanism slowly lowers the blade (the angle are all bizarre and really add to the pace of this, especially the one where it's a hair's width away from his neck.). The hanging bodies, the slanted cameras, all of it is just great, lurid, and fun.

The panel where our cannibal (not a ghoul, come on pre-code comics!) gets shot, which in the background has a dripping head and feet (!!!) should be in a museum.

JBM said...

Thank you Mr.K. for this wonderful example of cartooning at it's best for this gruesome gory story. What a fun ending.

Mr. Cavin said...

I like the fourth panel on the last page, too. It's a great example of the glorious elan with which Palais abandons all compositional and representational norms to frontload the psychotropic impact of the horror itself: It's a frame in which we are looking down on the cannibal madman while simultaneously looking up at the policeman shooting him from the background. This whole story is filled with these feverish, Escher-like visual contraptions. Reading it is like reading a regular comic book over your own shoulder in the funhouse mirror room. The colors help. So does the overheated prose.

Great start to post-Atlas Month!

moonraqs said...

What is Jamie wearing in the bottom left panel on page 2? At first glance I thought that was a new woman character in the story!

JBM said...

I think they are both dressed for bed. TYMK!

Todd said...

I'm glad this is an edumacational story with a happy ending!