Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Welcome to the Vampire Picnic!

Two'fer Tuesday with a deadly Vampire Double Creature Feature, and both from the September 1953 issue of Mister Mystery #13 too! And Tony Mortellaro returns with a scrumptious feast of food and fear to frazzle your digestive system, but first up it's Gerald Altman again as well with some really good, and weirdly not-so-good art, --but seriously, those vampire panels on page three are some of my all-time favorites ever-- ROWR!! Do I even need to mention the iconic Bernard Baily cover classic on this issue?! *GLUB!


Brian Barnes said...

Two stories with fabulous art!

Both the vampire women are good in both their good girl/er not good girl forms, with special page 3, panel 5, heck that entire page. Sexy on top, sexy murderous on bottom.

BTW I love hearing all the old terms for "hobos" in this tale.

One thing that's always interesting about the pre-code vampires is how their powers/rules are just all over the place. Vampire 1 needs to sleep in a coffin during the day but Vampire 2 can have a nice picnic in the sun!

I don't know if I'd call the 2nd tale fatphobic at all; Hugo is drawn to his doom by both his desire to eat and hang out with a beautiful woman; usually that's the way the she-vampires get you, but this is an added complication. That or some writer was angry at an overweight person that day!

JMR777 said...

In the first story, page three, middle and bottom right panels, the vampire looks like the type of horror found in Japanese lore or Manga/Hentai. We don't usually see that look in European/American vampire portrayals.

The second story "I turned to food! An escape mechanism I guess!" A bit of unfortunate realism in this comic tale for so many.

Vampire lore is all over the place when it comes to comics- avoid daylight/walk in the day no problem, only a stake can destroy them/a silver bullet or silver dagger can destroy them, etc.
You never know what a horror writer will come up with when it comes to these tales.

Fangs for the post, Karswell.

Grant said...

For someone who's supposedly put those things behind him, Hugo isn't exactly looking Moira in the face at the bottom of Page 2.

Another strange thing about that panel is the "Little Orphan Annie" eyes that it accidentally gives Moira.
(At least, I don't think that's meant to be any kind of foreshadowing of anything supernatural.)

Charon Badmann said...

I'm in full agreement about the Altman art, its a delight! I like the low-key resolution of the tale as well. The Mortellaro (what an appropriate name for a horror comic artist) story has some funky rendering but I think it's just fine, right down to its "shocker" last panel. Both are classic examples of exactly why we're here!

Bill the Butcher said...

I am honestly surprised that Tale One didn't end in the Storyteller Hobo having been turned by the vampire's bite and killing the other three when they mocked him for not telling a true story. It was an interesting resolution, especially if he *is* a vampire - hence the sawed off branch - but chose to not feast on his fellow hobos.

Todd said...

I like the first one because it's ambiguous whether the hobo had any ill intentions toward the other guys or not. It's kind of cool to think he might have come out of the experience wiser but not turned evil.

Less fond of the other story because Hugo was a glutton but never did anything untoward to Moira. She's also pretty ugly as a vampiress, but I guess she doesn't leave behind any witnesses to remember.

Mr. Cavin said...

I feel like its pretty rare to find hoboes presented so sympathetically in a story from the fifties. I mean, those vagrants look like nice folks in a medium where I find the unemployed more often depicted as sad clowns with pop-top felt hats, polka-dotted knapsacks on sticks, and cigars the size of hot dogs. Nice seeing them presented as regular joes for a change.

Page four is a master class in hiding the protagonist's face. Normally, that's the sort of thing that telegraphs the final reveal, but not here. Altman's so strange that it just seems par for the course; I read over it without a spark. The page also features my favorite of his peculiarities: Check out that fourth panel--the loving attention paid to expressing the realities of the vampire's haircut juxtaposed with human anatomy that frankly strikes me as one hundred percent curdled.

We are talking about the artistic brio on page three, but I also want to recognize the storytelling there. The vampire creeping from victim to victim under the steady but paralyzed gaze of the next regular joe in line is pretty terrifying stuff.

It's great to get more Mortellaro so soon. I feel like that guy usually feels pretty arte brut himself (for all that he really reminds me of the Atlas "style" on this one), at least when he's paired with regular artists. Today he's the normal one. Hah.