Monday, December 31, 2007

Number 241

John Stanley chills us

It seems right to show this chilling tale on a day when in my neighborhood the thermometer peaks around 0 degrees F. It's from the 1962 Dell Giant, Tales From The Tomb, written by John Stanley, scanned from the copy I bought 45 years ago.
Stanley, who had written and guided Little Lulu through that comic's classic years, had stayed behind at Dell when Western Publishing took their licensees and most of their talent and split off into Gold Key Comics. Despite the promise on the cover, Tomb wasn't what I thought of as a horror comic, but more like a collection of stories told by kids around a campfire. Some of Stanley's work--the Oona Goosepimple stories from Nancy, for example--reminded me of Charles Addams. Stanley had a sometimes macabre sense of humor, and stories of this style would appeal to him. Tales From The Tomb is probably what DC's Plop! should have been a decade later.

As good as Stanley's writing is, the anonymous art is OK, not great. It likely scuttled this title.

These three shorties, vignettes, really, are typical of the weird humor of Tomb. The black-and-white one-pagers are the inside front and back covers respectively. The story, "Turnabout," is one of the shorter stories in the book, and is told in as few words as possible. The grim but funny joke it tells is beyond logic, and is told in visuals rather than dialogue or captions.

Finally, it's the end of another year. I'd like to thank Pappy's readers for making this a very successful year for this blog. HAPPY NEW YEAR, everybody.

Your Pappy loves you!


Rudy Tenebre said...

Great stuff from Stanley, Pap! How he drew Little Lu-Lu all those years without taking a grinder to his forehead, I'll never know.

Your frontispiece panel selections for yer posts are always pretty great, Pappy.

Karswell said...

Cool post (literally), I've always been interested about this issue, now I know what to expect.

So at the end of Turnabout... our hero wakes up in the snow and goes back into the cabin to find that the dead guy had somehow come back inside and swapped places, like how they were originally?

Rudy Tenebre said...

... incidentally, my apologies to any fans of Little Lu-Lu.

Spoke too soon, as I didn't know the art was anonymous in the case of "Turnabout". Pretty swell stuff, tho', has the rythms of a Jack Davis EC piece called The Light in His Life...

Pappy said...

Rudy, I heard that L. B. Cole was editor of Dell Comics after the Western/Dell divorce. He used some of the same artists he'd been working with at Classics Illustrated when he was editor there, but I can't identify the artist who did this story.

Rudy and Karswell, I can visualize this strip done by EC Comics, drawn by Davis or Ghastly. The Davis story you mention, Rudy, might've had its origin in the same folk tale or source material. I don't recognize it specifically, but it seems familiar.

And yes, Karswell, that is exactly how I interpret the story. The dead guy switched the live guy back to the outside. It makes no logical sense, but that's part of the fun.

darkmark90 said...

Two of the "unnamed" artists were Frank Springer, who drew those b&w tales you reprinted, and Tony Tallarico. This book scared the hell out of me as a kid, and it's still my favorite horror comic.

Rudy Tenebre said...

Ol' L.B. Cole did some great covers, eh. Thanks for the historical tid-bit, Paps.

Are we to understand Tony Tallarico is the artist on Turnabout, re. darkmark90?

darkmark said...

Rudy: Tony didn't draw "Turnabout", but he did do "Mr. Quilt", a very horrifying story in the comic. Frank did the first black and white filler and "Mr. Green Must Be Fed", and possibly some other stuff.