Saturday, May 11, 2024

Scene of the Crime

Here's an incredibly creepy crime caper from the February 1952 issue of Lawbreakers #5, containing two gory reminders that not only are both old and young unsafe when a Jason Vorhees-esque madman is on the loose, but also to point out (in case you didn't already know) that rotten corpses don't smell so good. Art team greats, Al Tyler and Bob Forgione pull out all of the slasher stops in this one, even signing their names in all of that splishity-splashity blood in the splash. So hold on to your hats, and don't forget to pinch your nostrils closed too, you're headed for the--


Grant said...

It can't be very common in these stories to get a kid killed, let alone to make his murder (along with the others) pretty "incidental."

Brian Barnes said...

The see-through letters on the splash are something -- after decade plus on this site -- I don't know if I've seen before. I probably have but it seems different to me.

The pacing on this one is kind of wild. We get the first two pages with the grizzled sheriff and detective, then on page 3 the writer is introduced just to get killed 2 pages later and then everything suddenly cranks up to 10, and bodies start piling up! This thing has a body count of 5 1/2 on 6 pages!

The splash is a bit bait and switch, but I honestly love the cops plan. Dead bodies everywhere, "he has to come to us let's just sit down and wait!" It's actually a really good plan! Again, the murders in these crime comics are more striking than the horror comics. If you venture in a creepy castle that is said to have a vampire, it's kind of your own fault. But the driver and the kid? In cold blood! That's chilling!

Mr. Cavin said...

Brother! The colorist here was really wild. I mean, I'm inured to the oddity of much pre-code color (panel three page five, for example--this old dark house is all accent walls!). But this guy seems to have been wiping the colors on with the wrong size brush or something. He also seems to have wanted to break the monotony of color fill up by just refusing to color certain elements of the image. I know some of this is about fading, but the first panel of page four is something: Cyan applied with a house-painters roller. Did the colorist even know there were people in that frame? I doubt it. The splash panel (they should all be so literal) has some of the signature quirk as well. I love how the pouring blood is offset by that one blue tree.

The art itself is pretty great, though. I really love the first two pages--all the spooky plant shadows across the drive, the old dark lighthouse down the way, the very vision of a ramshackle old horror house. I'd love to find the original art somewhere and see it colored in such a way that enhances instead of obscures these details.

JMR777 said...

I wonder if this comic was the unofficial origin for the slasher films in later years.

Grant said...

As Brian Barnes says, the writer seems to have "victim" written all over him.
But for obvious reasons, I can't help having mixed feelings about characters who are up front about how they're getting a CHARGE out of all the awful things going on. Yes, they're "just being honest" about it, but they really aggravate you.