Friday, February 04, 2011

Number 890

The Ghastly Killers

Gather 'round, murder fans. I've got some tales for you from this charmingly titled ME comic book, The Killers #2, 1948. I've chosen two because they're drawn by "Ghastly" Graham Ingels during his pre-EC days. The story of the Assassins is based on truth with the usual disclaimer: "true" in comics is a concept usually stretched beyond recognition. I'm not going to make any political observations about the story that could apply to the times in which we live. Make of the story what you will.

"Drums of the Jungle" is a more routine jungle story set in South Africa, but with "natives" who with their long straight hair look as if they'd be more at home in the Amazon.

After looking at Ogden Whitney's artwork for over 50 years my observation on this cover is that it may be the most violent he ever drew. Those who know him strictly as the Herbie artist, ACG stalwart for years, and a Golden Age career drawing Skyman, may also be surprised at this illustration. I was.



Pappy, you old hippie, you!

Cleverly using Graham Ingels comics to display your love for drug use! Both stories promote drugs obviously. The first one was conscious, with the hashish ingesting assassins, or hashishans, and then the second story, more sub-conscious, as the protagonist is clearly promoting dropping acid!

...on his ropes.

Ghastley even pre-EC showed he had a great skill for composing scenes and panels in a visually interesting way, using framing and depth and costume and architecture to create drama...needed more harem girls though.

Great post, Pappy!

borky said...

Pappy, as a kid, I adored anything drawn by Ogden Whitney: there was always a certain sweetness and whimsicality - a certain indefinable magic - in every line he drew no other artist could quite compare with.

Four decades later, thanks to sites like yours, I finally found out what he looked like: sweet, affable, Oliver Hardy - Herbie! - like. I've heard he was an alcoholic - like seemingly many great comic artists, viz Wally Wood - but he doesn't look like he was a nasty drunk. His art suggests he wasn't.

I agree with you about the unusual ferociousness of Whitney's cover, but there's something about that part of the world seemingly conducive to intense behaviour. Many people've heard of Jerusalem Syndrome, where visitors there start thinking they're Jesus or Moses, or they're hearing the voice of G*d. But the people born there seem prone to desperate behaviour: viz Masada or people jumping to their doom simply because the Old Man of the Mountain snapped his fingers.

Pappy said...

Borky, the story has the bit about the assassins going to paradise and collecting virgins for their acts on earth. (They're called "dancing girls" in the story.) When I heard stories of suicide bombers being promised the status of martyrs, and earning a trip to paradise I had a question. If a guy gets 70 virgins, and deflowers them over a period of time, then what? Do they turn into virgins again? I think the guys being sold this line of bunkum should probably think it through before flipping the switch on the ol' TNT vest.