Friday, September 09, 2011
Ship in a bottle
If I taught a college course on EC Comics this story would fit into EC 101. It's EC's most common plot: guy kills somebody who has a hobby/lifestyle/job, etc., that defines him, then justice is served in a horrible fashion to the murderer by a form of that which the victim did. In this case a spoiled nephew kills his rich uncle whose hobby is building ships in bottles. You can guess the rest.
What makes "Model Nephew" isn't the Al Feldstein story, but the Jack Davis artwork. I was able to download scans of the original art from Heritage Auctions. (I'm always happy when I see something like this on their site, and thank Heritage profusely for making it available online.) Despite working from an uninspired script, Davis turns in his usual excellent job. I particularly like the mood set by the atmospheric panel of the seaman-in-shadow on page 4. From the time I first saw Davis's artwork I've always marveled at how he could draw. In one story he could scare me, in the next have me laughing.
The story may be hackneyed EC but the artwork saved it. Now the required reading for Professor Pappy's EC 101 course, from Haunt of Fear #22, 1953. We'll start with the printed version from my copy of the first printing of this issue of HOF: