Friday, February 27, 2009

Number 479

Fanthorpe comics

I've had this incredible web site bookmarked for several years, referring to it occasionally. It has some fantastic book covers, which apparently wrap around some of the worst science fiction of all time, courtesy of British author R. L. Fanthorpe, using his own and several pen-names. I haven't read any of the books, but according to the web site, Fanthorpe was a one-man industry.

It also includes scans from some of the comic books that were adapted from Fanthorpe's stories, and I've swiped a couple of them to share with you here. This is not top-of-the-line stuff here, guys...more like fanzine work. But it's fun in a twisted sort of way. Were these comics actually sold on British newsstands at one time? The page itself doesn't date the comics, since the authors of the site don't know. Maybe one of our British readers can shed some light on the Fanthorpe comics.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Number 478


How many times have we seen horror stories about the detached hands of killers wreaking vengeance? More than I can count, offhand (yuk-yuk).

I can add this entertaining entry, "Spell of the Hypnotic Chord," from Beyond #4, 1951, to that sub-sub genre of horror fiction. Grand Comics Database attributes the art to Louis Zansky.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Number 477

Two cups of Joe

Like coffee? I love coffee, but after my recent surgery didn't have any for a week. I'm feeling well enough to be sitting here now with a cup of joe and two stories by Joe Sinnott.

"I Am A Robot" is from Journey Into Mystery #90, 1963, and "Shark Bait" is originally from 1954, scanned here from Marvel's 1976 Weird Wonder Tales #16.

I'm a fan of Joe Sinnott, and you can either click on his name in the links beneath this posting or enter his name in the search engine above to see the rest of the Joe Sinnott stories I've posted. I like Sinnott because he was like several others of my favorite Golden Age artists: He could draw anything. That he is best known now for his inking over Jack Kirby is OK, but as much as I liked that work I really liked his solid solo drawing style.

(SPOILER ALERT. Here's where I tell you what's wrong with the endings.)

The stories, They both have fatal flaws in their plots. I don't expect other writers to observe Isaac Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics, but to use half of the first law and ignore the second half is more designed for a snap ending than logic."A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm." In the shark story, it seems the criminals who fed jewels in smaller fish to the shark may have forgotten that like all critters, human and otherwise, sharks gotta excrete, so they were taking a big chance that by the time they got the shark their jewels weren't shark scat all over the bottom of the ocean.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Number 476

Red Tiger

Those sneaky commies. Is nothing beneath them? Even tricking people to live in Russia? They need a slightly better plan than running a giant armed red tiger train to pick up emigrés. It's a little much, wouldn't you say?

From Blackhawk #71. Art by Dick Dillin and Chuck Cuidera.


Speaking of Russians, my son, David, sent me this link to a very unusual Russian comic book.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Number 475

Vampire of the North Country

I think this story is a really good example of why Jack Davis was not only funny, but one of the greatest horror comics artists ever.

Four men in the frozen North, and a vampire set loose. Who couldn't love a story like that? The best part is Jack Davis' wonderful artwork, which shows how good he was at portraying tension and suspense. The story isn't anything surprising from EC, which had many stories which stuck to this formula, but...

...those eyes in the chink of the logs, watching, waiting. It still creeps me out, just like it did when I was a kid.

According to the Grand Comics Database, the script is by Otto Binder.

I'm alternating pages of this story from Haunt of Fear #26 with the original art, found on Heritage Auctions. Davis' talent at portraying the macabre was matched by few others in the field, and like Bob Powell and some others, I love seeing the originals.

Because of the fragile condition of my copy of Haunt #26, I scanned the printed pages from the reprint produced in 1999 by Gemstone.