Friday, April 3, 2020

The Knave of Diamonds

Time for the final tale from the June 1952 issue of Spellbound #4, and yes ladies and gents, this chalks up another full house, aka FULL ISSUE PRESENTATION here at THOIA! Did we save the best for last? Uhh no, not even close. But it's still a fun, though predictably sledgehammered story of yet another loathsome idiot getting crushed by a diamond hungry blonde. Don Rico and Dick Ayers make a pretty good art duet though, even if their subject matter leaves ya groanin' in the end.


Glowworm said...

I love that you uploaded all of the stories of this issue backwards.
For some reason, I love that on the very first panel of the story, there's a ghostly image of what I assume to be Stella looming over the printing paper and ink plant for no apparent reason as we never see any actual ghosts in this story. Stella actually escapes her fate which is a surprise as she deserved it about as much as Roger did. Also amusing to me is that the story could have simply ended with Roger literally taking the fall for Stella. However, they just had to turn him into an actual pack of playing cards to get that last punchline through! Also, is Stella's new guy, Roger's former boss? If so, what a hypocrite!

Brian Barnes said...

It's interesting when these stories are more concerned with a clever ending than whatever the moral or line of the story might be. I'm not even sure what I think about most of the players.

Yeah, that's Roger's former boss! I really like that weird twist, though you think Stella would have mentioned Roger's fate! Did she not even tell the police?

That's a great splash! The 4 panel dissolve is also fun.

I'm beginning to wonder if the nagging/gold digging woman isn't about the writers (which is just more funny to mention than anything) or just ... easy shorthand? They had to write a LOT of stories a month. Books, movies, etc, the gold-digger is an obvious cliche and easy to insert in a story as a motivation without having to waste a lot of text.

I also enjoy how Stella is angry about getting playing cards. Dial it back a bit, Stella!

JBM said...

Could the cloud/figure in the first panel after the splash be the narrator of the comic book? A crypt keeper if you will? Or perhaps the spirit of hopeless love? Joan came up with an alternate ending of Stella seeing the cards and recognizing Roger's face to her horror. Thank you Mr.K.!

Grant said...

Yes, the gold-digger wife is a very big cliche - who sort of got replaced along the way by the stupid or nasty trophy wife! - but an entertaining one. Nearly my favorite gold-digger or trophy wife in weird stories is the one in MONSTER FROM THE SURF / BEACH GIRLS AND THE MONSTER.

Mr. Cavin said...

It's hard for me to work up any kind of animosity for Stella. I mean, sure, she kind of operated outside social norms, and I'm a little uncomfortable with the way she kept everybody in the dark about Roger's death. But it isn't as if she wasn't pretty upfront about the nature of her relationships--you play to play, man. Even the secondary characters know Roger's this story's heel: He's the jerk that can't seem to party by the rules, He's the one who planned to exact petulant revenge murder just to compensate for his inadequacies, and so he's the one who took a nosedive into the wild black yonder. A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do, and I find the lack of slut shaming here pretty refreshing, frankly.

Uh, I'm little less thrilled about the line "How will this end?" though. We get to read it twice. I mean, that should almost count as breaking the fourth wall--"Don't forget there a trick finish folks! Betcha can't guess what's behind the final curtain!" But, of course, we could guess.

But really dig the art. Lotta good faces and a great splash. I'm with Brian about that crafty four-panel dissolve. It's the perfect icing on a dynamite page.

Todd said...

That's a weirdie all right. Hard to believe there'd be a line of guys waiting for somebody so openly contemptuous of them as to admit she only tolerates them for the diamonds. But hey, she's honest about it!

Bill the Butcher said...

Not sure what a "card" actually meant, but from the times I saw it used before I thought it was a "wit". Wouldn't work with Roger Yancey though. He was witless.

Grant said...

I definitely agree with Mr. Cavin about people's addiction to "slut-shaming." The sad thing is that instead of going anywhere, it's probably gotten bigger, in and out of fiction.