Thursday, May 14, 2020

Don't Let Me Kill

Pines pretended like their 1953 one-shot, "Who Is Next?" was a comic book series, labeling the sole issue as #5 (a sly fast one that quite a few publishers actually practiced), and-- assuming no one bought it-- umm, nobody was next! It's a real shame too because it's a thrilling issue of intense crime tales, featuring beautiful work from the likes of Ross Andru, Nick Cardy, and especially the Alex Toth classic "The Crushed Gardnia" which has resurfaced half a zillion times in countless collections since the 80's reprint boom. To me though, the overlooked stand-out tale here is the disturbingly brutal cover story by Mike Sekowsky about a remorseful psycho killer.


Brian Barnes said...

Sekowsky does a fantastic job here, especially on Alex's face. It really carries a lot of emotion, on the first page, it's truly introspective and sad, on page 2 and 3 it's angry, and then crazy on page 4. But when the sorority babe dances with him, he's suddenly, for the first time, happy, then shocked, and then murderous again.

Sekowsky sells this, and the scratchy artwork has a lot of energy to it. The splash with the "jeepers" girl, final panel on page 7 with good use of the hidden view from killer back pose.

The story is good, but would have had less impact with the wrong artist.

Mr. Cavin said...

I think the story is great. I mean, it's a tried and true classic, so no real surprises I guess. But I'm glad they didn't try to trick it out with a clever ending. The beats really work, too. Nothing makes me respond to horror like digging the victim. And nothing makes me like a victim better than setting her up as the main character early on. This is what makes Psycho brilliant; and it works well here, too. So many stories kill off characters who seem like they were just placed there for that very reason. Set 'em up and knock 'em down! But not this one. Linda seems very much like someone who was cut off. She definitely went to bed expecting to wake back up the next day.

Truly loved Sekowsky's work here. Every panel is fully fleshed-out and well textured. The splash and page two and great (though I feel like the colors might have been a little better, these are perfectly serviceable). My favorite panel is the top of page seven, an animated in-betweener action shot that elegantly takes us from page to page. I kind of wish Mike had gotten a little bit trippier in the hall of mirrors, imbued those images with some of the same groovy anxiety he gave us with the magazine reading scene two pages earlier, but I guess he was running out of room.

Todd said...

This probably could be a term paper.

Can't say I feel as sorry for the second girl as the first girl.

Bill the Butcher said...

If Alex grew a beard and got his teeth fixed he might have not looked too bad.

First girl: totally innocent victim.

Second girl: impossible to feel the slightest sympathy for.

Excellent artwork, but I could have done without the expository box about "mad killers" who must be "locked away" where they can't harm the innocent. How do you know who's a mad killer before they harm unt innocent? Do we lock away entry kid who doesn't look or act like everyone else?

Mr. Cavin said...

Interesting. Why's it hard for people to feel bad for the second victim? Sure, she danced with someone she wasn't attracted to. Far as I can tell, she was even really nice to him, too. Made small talk, didn't hold her nose like an ass. Later on, acting on the privilege associated with the claim that he was "led on," he drug her outside and got all handsy. Which I presume, based on the evidence at hand, happened without her consent. In her fear and anger, in her bid to escape, she was mean to him. Like anybody would be. Then she was killed for it. "But your honor, she was asking for it. She spent all that time being nice under false pretenses."

She definitely has my sympathy.

Todd said...

Not how I read it at all. She led him on to humiliate him while the other girls were watching and giggling. She called him a fool for falling for it and told him to get away from her before she called a cop. She didn't deserve to die for it, obviously, but she went out of her way to involve a complete stranger just so she could humiliate him for the amusement of her friends. Shitty people still deserve to live, but she's the same as somebody who tortures small animals, in my opinion.

Mr. Karswell said...

Sorority Initiation Stunt: find the ugliest guy and ask him to dance.

It's hardly the worst thing in the world that could happen to either of them, until things starts getting too fresh 'n handsy and then spiral out of control