Sunday, July 31, 2022

Comeback! / The Snake

I had a few requests for more scary snake stories, so let's finish out the month with a deadly double header of hissing horror. The first is an early Ditko dirge originally featured in the July - August 1954 issue of The Thing #15, (he also illustrated that fantastic cover), and like our previous post, it also takes place at a circus sideshow! Our second tale comes from Dracula Volume 1 #3 (October 1972), which is a New English Library translated reprint from Dracula #3 originating in Spain. Very cool Euro horror with an underground comic vibe-- and I think that we'll look at this stuff a bit more in the coming months ahead-- so stay tombed and come back!


Brian Barnes said...

Ditko draws some great carnival folk! Satana is a great, weird image. She's good girl art but then the weird alien like face.

Ditko's earlier paneling isn't as strong as his later work, there's some slightly strange camera choices here, but his figure work is just great. I love the cliffs he draws, the stark dual color rock formations. That's really strong work.

Page 4, panel 4 has got to be one of the strangest good girl art panels around!

I've seen the artist in Dracula #3 before, but can't remember where. Maybe Heavy Metal? Or Epic Illustrated? I know I've seen that work, and it's really striking. There's some Gahan Wilson in there, and I love the deep set eyes. Neat stuff!

Grant said...

As much as I like horror comics, I have the worst trouble recognizing a given artist from one story to another. It's a pretty small tribute to say this, but I usually recognize Jose Bea INSTANTLY.

Mr. Cavin said...

Ditko's energy never disappoints. I love how he'll place hasty, spare panels--like the fourth one on page three--right beside really well-crafted or heavily detailed work--like those panels right before or after it. And it's perfect. He knows just when to give the eye a break, when to shake up the mood, when to let the air out a little so the story can breathe. I really love the first page here, but it's too dense to enjoyably maintain. I also love the last page too, the final five panels are Ditko at his crackling best. Satana's character design is just great--and now that she's a pile of moldering bones projecting their basilisk-like spirit into the vengeance market, I'd like to see a lot more stories about her. Maybe bring the snakes back, too? I'd hate to think they really were just a red herring.

José Beá is new to me, I think. Surely I've run across his stuff in the pages of Creepy, but I don't really remember it. I really dig the children's book illustration vibe of the work here. Or, I guess with all the rotoscoped photo-collage props and background details, this stuff looks a lot like Terry Gilliam animation? Whatever it reminds me of, it's whimsical and satiric and I'm into it. Is that Toshiro Mifune on the wall in the middle of page two? I hope so.

Grant said...

I don't know the Warren magazines forward and backward, but I know them enough to know that Jose Bea illustrations are always a real "experience."

As for dreaming about snakes, I'm so hung up on reptiles that almost none of my dreams about them are nightmares, even when they're venomous snakes.

Satana might be given a very strange face, but considering the rest of her, it's a little surprising that Flexo doesn't at least put off trying to murder her, hoping to get something else out of knowing her.

Unknown said...

The Jose Bea a story is great.
He's new to me.
I love the style.
It didn't need the written part at the end of the story. Maybe it worked better in Spanish?
Nice story too.
I'd love to see more of him.
I've never really got myself to like Ditko.
My favourite of his horror stories is his very first horror story, maybe his first professional comic even, a story about a flat man.
I used to have a Mr. A book but I just didn't connect to his writing or general style.
I read some early spider Mans but still don't understand the great appeal.
Maybe his best work I haven't seen yet?
Do people love Ditko because they love Spider man?
I like Ditko's secrecy and integrity though.
That's respectable.
Jose Bea though... great stuff!

Mr. Karswell said...

I'll see if I can dig up some more Jose Bea horror for August-- thanks for the comments!