Sunday, May 13, 2007

Number 131

Twin Terrors

These two horror comics stories, "Tale Of Cain," from Tomb Of Terror #12, November 1953, and "My Brother's Keeper," from Mysterious Adventures #17, December 1953, are basically the same story. They're told with different characters and different locales, and the motivations are slightly different, but the basic plot and endings are much the same.

They try for a surprise but it's pretty obvious as readers we're being manipulated, so the endings aren't much of a surprise.

These two stories could only be told in comic books, where such manipulation is possible. It would look too cumbersome using live actors in the movies or on TV. The artwork in "Tale Of Cain," is by Howard Nostrand,* and is better at its own manipulation than "My Brother's Keeper," attributed to Bill Savage by the Grand Comics Database.

Both artists are influenced by EC artists: Nostrand by Jack Davis, Savage by Reed Crandall.

The fact that both of these comics, published by completely different companies, were on the stands simultaneously in late '53, is another coincidence. You can't say one stole the story from the other. But what it shows is what we already know: there are only so many plots in horror comics.

The cover of Tomb Of Terror #12 is another great cover by our old pal, Lee Elias, discussed in Pappy's #129.

A Tale Of Cain

My Brother's Keeper

*Stories by Howard Nostrand were shown in Pappy's #15, and Pappy's #109.

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