Friday, October 26, 2007

Number 209

Hanging around with Dick Ayers

Here's a gruesome little tale, taken from Ghost Rider #10, 1952. Dick Ayers was at the peak of his powers in this story. His storytelling and drawing ability were at their best during the early '50s, in my opinion. It's obvious that Ayers loved the subject material he drew, whether it was western, or horror, or both, like this story.

Ayers drew a guy hitting the end of a rope really well. If you don't like gruesome pictures, then don't look. Showing a hanging was one, amongst many, of the things that got comics in trouble. Twenty years later, in a freelance job for the non-code Eerie Publications, he drew another gruesome hanging scene, this time with popping eyeball.

ME Comics didn't publish horror comics, so Ghost Rider was the closest they got to the horror comics genre. However, "The Hangman," not part of the official Ghost Rider canon, is a good example of a horror comic story. Take away the western setting and it would fit right into an Atlas horror title.


Chuck Wells said...

I didn't see that one coming!

I was expecting the devil himself to be the hangman, but a bat-winged vampire. I didn't see that one coming at all. Good story, Pap.

T. Hodler said...

Ayers was actually really conflicted about drawing horrific subject matter in comics, at least if you can believe his recent three-volume autobiography. According to that, he ended up throwing a bunch of horror comics he'd drawn into a fireplace!

Pappy said...

Conflicted he might've been--I'll let him tell his own story--but to me there's something almost gleeful to his art, so skillful at showing such horrible stuff.

T. Hodler said...

You're probably both right.

In any case, I love your blog. Keep it up, please.