Sunday, April 5, 2020

The Flat Man / Crazy Glass

A couple of flatso fright tales for you today, both from the May 1952 issue of Spellbound #3 --and if you check the Atlas Tales link a few words back with the THOIA Archive, you'll discover that like our last post, this is also another FULL ISSUE PRESENTATION! Okay, some of you might remember the other much more hilariously violent "Flat Man" story I posted way back in 2007 (CLICK HERE), but I believe you will find this one smashing too-- just pay close attention to what he says in the 5th panel on page 3 so you're not dwelling on what seems like a giant stupid plot hole-- PLUS, rounding everything out with the confusingly kooky "Crazy Glass" quickie.



Brian Barnes said...

It's certainly unusual (outside of Stan) to see the writer get a credit on the splash in Flat Man (the slip of paper below the table.)

Our scientist really wasn't that great at thinking out eventualities but that's pretty much every inventor in this kind of stories! I love the crazy science horror stories where it follows a small set of rules and it's those rules that do our hero in.

Good job on the art, the 2D nature of the page makes things like "flat men" a bit harder to draw, you have to really lean on showing a side as a small ribbon to get the effect. I love the realization panel on the last page, too!

Crazy Glass is a fun little filler, short at 3 pages but has a good bit of menace to it, you have no idea what the mirror is going to "do." I love the weird faces and artist does a good job having to deal with a room of reflective surfaces!

JBM said...

Thank you Mr.K. the first was flat out fun. While the second falls under the category of bat shit crazy. It certainly lived up to it's title. Both were enjoyed. The first having it's inevitable conclusion contrasting the second's out of nowhere what the? ending. I thought the flatman's face was well depicted. In the mirror tale the sixth panel on page two was especially appreciated as well.

Bill the Butcher said...

Well, that was an affecting one. There aren't any villains in this story. Even the narrator isn't by any means evil (except perhaps contemptuous of his clientele). Strange though hire the mittro changed its shape in the end,as though the edges had broken off.

Bill the Butcher said...

Unfortunately "Flat Man" was just too ridiculous even by comic standards. Could have been an excellent supervillain origin story. Now if only Mr Flatman had tried experimenting on lab animals first he would have known about the tablet problem and would have known to convert it into an injection. Precode scientists for some reason never use lab animals though, even for their Frankenstein monster experiments. Also Mr Flatman could probably earn a lot more from his invention legitimately than as a criminal. Pity he didn't think of that.

Todd said...

I love how certain The Flat Man is of so very many things, devoid of any evidence, yet is done in by something else previously never considered. It's almost as if he wasn't as smart as he thought!

I'm curious how he got the knife under the door to stab the guard with, but I guess all that matters is his flat, dry throat.

Mr. Cavin said...

It's as if the natural state of medicine is the pill. Not, you know, a lot of molecules and ingredients distilled into a serum, boiled into vapor, allowed to evaporate into a crust to then be crushed into a powder and, then, re-compacted, with a binding agent, into a tablet. Whew. Dr. Jekyll new where to leave off. Be like Dr. Jekyll.

Honestly, I think the second one was the beefier story. It certainly had a lot more words, and tossed around some neat visual ideas. I guess I've seen the "grotesque freaks look like normal people in the funhouse mirror" thing played before (mostly in one-panel gag cartoons), but the ending isn't really what I responded to here. What I liked was the moody narrative contemplation that arose over the course of this short story's repetitions. Tres Poe. Also the way Manny Stallman visually developed some ambiguity as to where the story was taking us. He really made it look like a lot of fun to set a character in a hall of mirrors, playing it for all it was worth and hitting a Ditko level of mental bend long before that last panel.

Jasper Bark said...

For all its implausibility, I loved The Flat Man. I did not foresee the ending and it made me laugh out loud. O. Henry style surprise endings are often really just shaggy dog stories with a more macabre bent to them. In this instance at least this story really worked for me.

Grant said...

Bill the Butcher's comment makes a lot of sense. Someone should make a list of all the SF stories where the villain's invention would make more money than the robberies. said...

He should've thought ahead and made a liquid,
or just chewed the pill.
I know of two good flat person 1950s horror tales.
One of them was one of Ditko's first stories, and I think my favourite Ditko story.
The other I don't know who drew it.
I wonder if the military would have paid very well for the invention of being able to turn a soldier flat?
That sounds like a great lame super-hero.
Flatman... son of Fatman,
they could fight crime together.
The second story was interesting.
Maybe it could've been fleshed out a bit more.
These are well drawn and fun Atlas stories.

DJ_Man said...

"Compressed ... thinner than a dime, with no ill effects."

Okay, I guess that a heart with four flat chambers can squeeze red blood cells through flat blood vessels in single file. Ditto for flat lungs and air, but maybe it's sufficient for six hours. First problem he should notice is that his eyes have no room to focus.

Crazy fun story!