Thursday, November 30, 2023

The Avenging Hand!

Goin' waaaay back to the January 1946 issue of Yellowjacket Comics #7, to find this goofball Golden Age superhero series actually contains a few fright-filled / filler spook yarns under a "Famous Tales of Terror" title. Not only that, it features a truly horrible horror host called "The Ancient Witch." The artwork here by Alan Mandel is so hilariously amateurish that the whole Z grade production (like the avenging hand itself) practically takes on an entirely new awesome life of its own-- like lovably bad underground indie art of the 70's and 80's, —and the tough guy gangster talk highlighted with some splashes of blood give it all a little extra poverty row punch. Enjoy!


Brian Barnes said...

Is the art good? No. But you know what -- I appreciate every panel. The artist really swings for the fences. There a good feel of motion in a lot of the panels, and placing the hands as objects (shadows, tree limbs, etc) is always fun. There's even some pseudo good girl art on page 4, and our mug really looks like a gangster. Heck, the art even pre-announces the axes!

What is most stunning about this is how fully formed it is in 46! Even early 50s ECs didn't have the host/pacing down like this one does!

Out of all the art, I adore that gnarly cat, which takes its leave after panel 2.

JMR777 said...

I liked this one in spite of the less than stellar artwork. An early psychological thriller from the golden age of comics.

I wonder what other horror tales are hidden in the early comics featuring superheroes and action-adventure tales.

JMR777 said...

For some reason, the art in this one made me think of the art style in the tale "Dream" posted here on Nov 11, 2008.

Imperfect art just adds to the menace in horror comics, things are just not right, the dread fate hiding in the shadows waiting to strike, like a waking nightmare for the doomed character to face.

Bill the Butcher said...

Except for the absolutely hilarious first two panels in Page 3, the art isn't that bad, really. It's funny though that Corri got all that money but still couldn't afford a shave.

Grant said...

Speaking of that, I'm a killjoy about this, but I get so tired of the bearded witch cliche.

Of course, horror comics like The Witching Hour and Ghost Manor have made me so used to HOT witches that that's only part of the problem.

Mr. Cavin said...

Yeah, the art's a little rough--especially on pages two and three. Frankly, it takes a slick kind of skill to make gangsters arguing all that visually compelling anyhow. But I really like the character work on page one. It's gnarly and fresh and, with some heavy lifting from the colorist, manages to cross the line from amateur comics into something more like anti-comics, reminding me more of the punk zines you reference in the intro, or maybe the background thugs in a Ralph Bakshi cartoon, than amateur comics art usually does. It's got plenty of verve.

And wow, but the instant loyalty of that rental housekeeper is pretty amazing. She sticks around on day one even though the man pulls his gun on the damn walls. He goes out, he comes in--freaked by the very trees! By day two, she's tending to his corpse. I imagine her sitting by his gravestone still, keeping the daisies nice, billing quietly by the hour.