Friday, April 17, 2009
I always liked Ramona Fradon's artwork; she worked on the Aquaman backup strip in the 1950s and into the early '60s, then drew Metamorpho. The last work I saw by her was on Super Friends in the 1970s. I thought she had one of those great old-fashioned styles, solid drawing and cartoony exaggeration when necessary. This story, from House of Secrets #116, February 1974, is one where that exaggeration plays a part. It doesn't look all Fradon to me, more like a collaboration of Fradon and Jerry Grandinetti. If it is then Grandinetti isn't credited, or maybe it was just Ramona being influenced by his style. Writer David Michelinie plays on the Poe-esque premature burial idea, but why set the story in 1923? I dunno. It's a good story, though. It observes Pappy's First Law of Horror Comics: "The main character shall be as awful and unredeemable as possible, to justify his horrible fate." Yet it is Code approved. By the early '70s, after twenty years and the rising age of comic book readers, the Code was backing down from prohibiting horror themes.