Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Number 284

A Face and no head

"The Headless Monster of Bloodrock Castle," drawn by Mart Bailey, is the second story from The Face #2, published in 1943 by Columbia Comics.

This almost looks like a storyboard for a 1940s movie. It's a potboiler, set in a "haunted" English castle with a spook ("This castle has more spooks than a wheel!" as Tony Trent/The Face puts it), a sinister butler, a bride left at the altar by a Nazi boyfriend.

The main quibble I have is something I've complained about before, The Face himself. Just because he sticks on a mask, which is actually more stupid than frightening, doesn't mean he's really disguised from anyone. They're telling me a guy Tony Trent's build, height, weight, walks like Trent, talks like Trent, wearing Trent's clothes, can put on a Halloween mask and not have people know who he is? Caw-mahhnnnn… Maybe somebody finally broke Tony's self-delusion: "Uh, Tone…you might think you're fooling us with the dopey mask business, but we all really know you're the Face." Mart Bailey might've thought that too, because Tony Trent later dropped the Face persona.

Other Face stories posted in Pappy's are here and here.


Chuck Wells said...

C'mon, Pappy, you're basically saying that all the Daily Planet staffers who "fail" to recognize Clark Kent as Superman - just because of a pair of glasses - are equally as stupid as Tony Trent's homies.

And further, just because Phantom Lady wore plunging decolletage wouldn't fool anyone either, because I might ogle her chest first - but - I would certainly want to remember any Lady with such impressive cleavage.

The Face(mask)is at least as effective as either of the better known champions mentioned above.

Murdoch Matthew said...

I remember The Face. At the time, Halloween masks were made of stiff celluloid/plastic. Flexible rubber masks were unknown -- so The Face seemed to have the features of an actual demon, not to be a guy in a mask. It would have worked, if he'd done The Face thing among people who didn't know him; not so plausible in isolated settings where the new guy in the same shirt and pants turns up.

Mr. Karswell said...

Also it's a comic book so I think we can all suspend our disbelief and faith in the mask a little.

carreaux said...

The two things that stand out in this story for me are that the writing has some real characterisation in it. Not very deep characterisation, I grant you, but it does quite a lot in only a few pages. The other thing is, considering this was published in 1943, how the Germans are not portrayed as monsters, but just men who want to get home. It's not judgemental about them at all, which perhaps makes it unique among comic books published during, and for several years after, the war.