Tuesday, July 21, 2020

The Corpse

Similar to last weeks post about the island, today's somber little tale of luridly living on, from the August 1953 issue of Menace #6, is as morbid as it is terrifyingly touching. It's a spooky Stan Lee and Russ Heath team-up, packing four pages of putrid punch to tug at the noose-shaped heartstrings you feel slowly winding around your throat...









Who else could you get to stay with a ghost, you ask? How about the woman that recently died in the house?! Anyone hear a knock at the door?

7 comments:

Bill the Butcher said...

This was actually pretty good, the only question being whether John was himself the original ghost in the haunted house. After all it's fairly obvious that if he were alive in the beginning of the story he would have either got to go out for food and supplies, or else his corpse would also have been found. Was Diane in love with a ghost, and calling to one for help?

BTX said...

So.... He's the Ghost and his "Wife" dies in front of him..... shouldn't she be a Ghost too? Why no happy ending? Well illustrated (You can't go wrong with Heath) And a nice sad twist that makes no sense.....

Brian Barnes said...

Outside my Haunt collections, my favorite pre-code is the Marvel Menace Masterworks. The first 6 or 7 (been a while) when Stan wrote pretty much everything is some of the best pre-code work, and a real rouge's gallery of the best artists Atlas had to offer.

This is a fun story that might not have worked in the wrong artist's hand but Stan always had a knack for picking the best artist for the job. Heath does a great job of the slow unwinding of our ghost as the inevitable closes in, though that first panel his speech is a bit nonchalant!

Page 3 and 4 are a great bit of clever panel layout, page 3 shows the crowd in the first panel, and the "walls" break in the last panel. The coloring and shadows on page 4 are also great, as is the very sad final sequence.

While unrealistic (skeletons don't magically hold together!) page 4, panel 2 is a great image.

JMR777 said...

While there are some plot holes in this story (how did he become a ghost, how did Diane know he was a ghost, why did she stay with him, etc.) sometimes a ghost story, much like a campfire tale, is simply what it is, a tale with a logic all of its own.

Too much examination of this story would not add to the effectiveness of this story of a woman married to a ghost. Would adding one or more pages to this story, adding background information, would it help or hurt the tale? I'm not sure that it would. Sometimes its the parts left out, the details left unmentioned, that get filled in by each reader that makes the tale unique to each person who reads this tale.

I myself liked the two bottom panels on page two, it gives a hint of the isolation that the ghost must have felt during the long months that the two of them were in the house. There is something unsettling about isolation, speaking to no one for months at a time, being inside a house detached from the world outside, such an isolation is a quiet horror all its own.

This was a fine tale to post, Karswell, its a great addition to THOIA.

Mr. Cavin said...

I'm taken by the same panels JMR777 mentioned. I love that cut to the outside of the house at the bottom of page two. It's forlorn, and a respectful distance by which the reader can reflect on both the permanence of death and just what the heck the male lead meant in the previous panel. "Haters gonna call me a ghoul, but, welp, I'm still hungry."

My take: I don't know who John is. Maybe she was married to John, maybe he's in Korea, maybe she still calls out to him in times of stress. Who knows. I think this kooky ghost is just one of those dudes who has his signals crossed, inferred a little much, caught the feels from the new tenant. I think he just popped up one day and her heart couldn't take it. Stan says it's Diane's "last attack," so maybe he's been pushing her toward the edge since she moved in--materializing in the shower, spooking over her bed in the dark, plasming on everything. Dude obviously doesn't get out much. I think he frightens her to death in the first panel, which, for a ghost, is probably something like a wedding I suppose.

Todd said...

I feel like this tried too hard to have a twist, and we're left to wonder why they couldn't just have been ghosts together. But it's timely, being a tale of isolation, and obviously it's resonated with others who've commented. I think the strangest element to me is John's calm speech in the first panel while Diane's freaking out. Hey, the doctors warned us, after all!

Grant said...

BTX's question reminds me of how much I like TOPPER (especially the sitcom), so I would want ANY story with a dead husband and wife to have a happy ending.