Shriek of Araby
This past weekend Karswell showed us a gruesome horror story by Howard Nostrand from 1954. In the story I'm showing from Harvey Comics' Flip #2, also from 1954, Nostrand tries his hand at humor and satire.
Bhob Stewart interviewed Nostrand for Graphic Story Magazine #10, in 1974. Nostrand talked about "The Shriek of Araby." He gave the reason for the color scheme: the movie it's based on, Rudolph Valentino's The Sheik, was a silent film done in sepia tone. The comic book version is a good try, but because of the quick-and-dirty printing of comic books, experiments like this didn't always work out. Some of the panels are too dark, and in the captions the white-on-black lettering is hard to read in spots.
Nostrand liked the story. In part of the 1974 interview he claimed, "That was the one Kurtzman commented on." Stewart asked, "What did Kurtzman say?" Nostrand answered: "He thought it was the best one of the book, and that sort of thing. Didn't mean much 'cause I wrote the rest of the book, too." Later he confessed, ". . .I think I stole it from S. J. Perelman. He did the synopsis in his 'Cloudland Revisited' series. I just sort of changed the plot slightly, and then it said what I wanted. Some of the dialogue is pure Perelman. . .I have a feeling that Perelman doesn't read comic books, anyway, so I wasn't in…you know, when in doubt, plagiarize, but make sure the guy who wrote it doesn't read it." What, plagiarism, in a comic book?!! Say it ain't so, Howard.
Along with "Shriek" I'm including these two "Ulysses" single-page gags by Nostrand, also from Flip #2.