Friday, February 25, 2011

Number 902

"I've just seen a Face,
I can't forget the time or place..."

I've gone on record a couple of times saying I think the Face had a pretty stupid schtick. He wore a suit and his costume was a green mask which wouldn't scare a 6-year-old. Artist Mart Bailey wanted us to believe he could scare crooks and the whole Japanese army, until the character gave up the mask after World War II and appeared in his civilian identity as Tony Trent.

Apparently, from notes I've gotten from a couple of my readers when I've shown the Face, they forgive the Face for wearing a funny-looking mask, and I have been gently chided for my complaint. After all, this is only a comic book character. I have to agree with that. But it also has to do with driving down the freeway just before last Halloween and becoming aware of a car in the next lane pacing me. When I looked over the passenger was looking at me; he was wearing an old man mask, and it startled the bejabbers outta me.

I maintained my composure and stayed on the road. I turned, outwardly calm, back to my driving. I did not want the young whippersnapper in the mask to know I needed to change my underwear.

So I guess the Face's mask would scare someone, and now I know it would be most likely me.

This is the final posting from Sparky Watts #1, 1942.


Chuck Wells said...

Pappy, I'm one of those fans that has always loved Tony Trent as The Face. Whether he "scared" the bad guys or not, his "shtick" was elegantly simple. Putting on a rubber fright mask (which effectively disguises his true identity) and then proceeding to beat the living hell out of the villains worked pretty well.

That set-up didn't require too much explanation before the main plotline could just dive right into the nitty-gritty details of any given story.

Plus, I was hoping that your last Skyman adventure would soon lead to another outing of The Face anyway

cash_gorman said...

I give the Face a little leeway, it's after all a similar shtick that Batman follows (as well as a few other less famous characters). I think part of the problem is not the mask itself but the artist. The concept calls for moodily scripted and drawn stories. The amazingly clean and crisply drawn stories don't get across the atmosphere needed to buy into the concept, despite the obvious beauty of the artwork. Take the stories and imagine how Gene Colan, Maneely, Everett or 1960s Ditko would have drawn it

Pappy said...

Chuck, it was you I was referring to as "gently chiding me" on the Face's mask. I'm sure sometime in the future I'll be posting more of the Face and may make the same complaints again, but unfortunately, that's just me.

Anyway, I appreciate your comments and defense of the Face. Other than the mask I like the strip and Mart Bailey's art. It may not sound like we're on the same page but we have more in common on the subject than not.

Pappy said...

Cash, a Face story I showed that had some atmosphere to it was a haunted castle story from The Face #2.

The posting has my usual rant about the mask, but Chuck made a comment, as did Karswell. They both told me basically to lighten up! All the damn things to worry about...mumble...mumble...and I worry about this stuff...

Anyway, you can read the story in Pappy's #284.

borky said...

It takes a big man to admit experience's taught him he was mistaken, Pappy.

It's amazing, though, how something unthreatening and even familiar can become highly frightening by putting it in an unexpected context.

My brother worked at a hotel where staff had to take turns as night porter, a highly unpopular job.

To make things interesting, other members of staff'd try to scare the living crap out of whoever's turn it was - jumping out of nowhere wearing hideous masks, etc - and'd always miserably fail.

But one night my brother decided to have a go, but instead of hiding simply waiting at the end of the corridor for the porter to arrive, just standing there leaning against the wall doing nothing. As the porter drew nearer and nearer, the porter began to make threatening remarks, saying he knew it was him and if he didn't thump him he'd report him for interfering with his duties.

But when the porter'd almost reached him and my brother'd still failed to move, the porter's genuine mounting anger suddenly turned to fear: he threw something at him and legged it in absolute terror - and yet my brother hadn't actually done anything.

Pappy said...

Borky, epic story. Your anecdote is a classic example of expectation being greater than realization. As the porter approached your bro all the horror movies he'd ever seen replayed in his mind: Jack the Ripper was waiting in the shadows! Like anybody into self-preservation, he decided to run rather than face those fears. A wise man. I don't know your brother, but thinking of him lurking in the dark scares me a'plenty.