Friday, February 7, 2020

The Fiend Who Lived Forever

It's Fiendish Friday, and here's a spooky kooky one from the August 1954 issue of Web of Evil #17 --some of you might remember this one reprinted in Haunted Horror #15 as well! Louis Ravielli's art is always richly, (and uniquely) detailed, and literally drips with misty, mouldering atmosphere. I always feel like he probably used old movie star photos for reference, as occasionally the posing and faces seem very familiar. It's a fun, fast paced shocker, though it might have benefited with another page to really flesh out the carnage a bit, especially during the crime spree montage.

And yes, there is a doomed love story in there as well, haha...


Brian Barnes said...

"Jeepers" girl on the splash, a sure sign you are in for a good tale!

Just a little nitpick, if Perry really roamed the earth for a thousand years, and was that brilliant of a researcher, you'd think he'd have come up with a way to repair his body, or transplant his brain, etc. He gave up both late and too early!

Glad to see we still have payphones in 4000 AD!

The art. Wow. It's gorgeous. And so much work! The line work everywhere, even in the skies, and the splash is museum ready. The whole thing is full of great panels, page 2, panel 7 and page 5, panel 3 and page 6, panel 1 & 2 I especially liked. How the heck did this get printed so nicely? It's not even muddy! And the coloring is top-notch. This is a real winner.

Guy Callaway said...

Sorry, Mr.K, but you wish this was a page longer?
The art is fascinating but I couldn't grasp, at any point, what was happening!

Bill the Butcher said...

I think our zombified protagonist was just wondering what it would be like to wander the earth for millennia undead, not that it really happened.

Glowworm said...

I agree with Bill the Butcher, thousands of years didn't really go by, it just felt like it to him--after all, his name was still known in these parts for paying for funerals for the unmourned and unwanted--it couldn't have been that far in the future.
I don't know why but I love the last panel of page 3 where Reed is gleefully shooting himself in the head with a gun because he cannot die.
Also, "Alice, Alice darling, I've come for you!" may not have been the best choice of words when greeting her.
Man this guy's a jerk though! He ditches his girlfriend for months, and kills a bunch of bums he's gotten off the street in the name of science. Then, instead of using his newfound powers for good, he goes off on a crime spree. Somebody was having way too much fun playing chicken with death at this point.
Also, I love how on the first panel of page 5, we actually see the toll this has physically had on Reed's body. I didn't notice it at first, and wondered how he deteriorated so quickly once he reached Alice. Then Death explained that Reed could never see himself as he actually was because his eyes were dead. I wonder what he thinks about at night in his coffin.

Mr. Karswell said...

>art is fascinating but I couldn't grasp, at any point, what was happening!

Awww... well see then, maybe an extra page would've helped you as well ;)

> I wonder what he thinks about at night in his coffin.

I'm guessing at some point he just thinks endlessly about all the mistakes he made

JBM said...

Thank you Mr.K., that is a great gamma dosed Fu Manchu with the purple lips on the cover of "Web of Evil". I love those obscuring mists at the beginning. Reminds me of the drowning post of a while back. Just wonderful penciling. Yes, the first thing to do once you are immortal is shoot yourself in the head. We know he is insane for murdering in the cause of science but then he goes just bonkerz. I like the shading on page four. It gives me a noirish feel. I agree page five panel three is a keeper as is the last page's panel three. I really liked the art and story here. Don't mess with God's business. Yes Sir!

Mr. Cavin said...

Yeah, I can't really see this as anything but a collage of photo reference elements. I mean, the way the lighting and perspectives never quite align, the way frame parts rarely overlap or interact--unless absolutely necessary--and then don't really ever seem to sync up, all makes this feel like it's cobbled together from unrelated stuff. Panel one on page three is particularly at odds with itself. The hands all have different lighting. The prisoner's hands are even lit differently than the rest of his arms!

Honestly, slavish photo realism and belabored shading (sometimes I think of it as "panel hair") are never really my cup of tea. But I have to admit there's something to the effect it has on today's story, some Lovecraftian madness in the untrued angles and mismatched fabrics that make the story more anxious and subversive. I especially dig the weird little scene with the girlfriend outside the lab at the top of page two. That anonymous cabin in the woods, its wonky-ass window, the strange way the characters pretend to interact with the setting--it all reminds me of cardboard mise-en-scène of a high school play. It also feels like Ravielli's process means he's had to construct the ravages of violence and evil on his protagonist's bod as an effect laid over his reference material--the same way it's done in movies or Photoshop. And I really like the low-key look of that method.

JBM said...

PS: I have to side on the he was anticipating his future with the thousand upon thousand years statement theory. Even if the artist was photo referencing/copying, for me it made varied fun perspectives. Thanks again.