Friday, July 17, 2009
The Hitchhiker Killer!
"Death Thumbs a Ride" is from Exposed #1, 1948, one of the crime comics that people got on soapboxes to denounce. In the late 1940s there were a few well-publicized incidents when parents and teachers, church groups and schoolkids, got together to throw stacks of comic books like Exposed onto bonfires. Never mind that the Nazis also used to burn books they didn't like, and the memories of war were still fresh.
The story of the ride-thumbing killer is a cautionary tale. Don't pick up hitchhikers!
In those days we didn't know the term serial killer. We called them spree killers or thrill killers, homicidal maniacs or even mad dog killers. I understand the use of the word serial to denote a person who goes from one victim to another, but it doesn't have the zing of thrill killer...or mad dog.