Sunday, January 15, 2012

Number 1088

Them There Those!

I saw the movie Them! on its first release in 1954, and loved it. I watched a DVD of the film this past October. Except for the caricature of star James Whitmore I barely recognize it from this satire of the film for EC's Panic #7. Jack Mendelsohn wrote it. His writing is perfectly complemented by Wallace Wood's excellent artwork.


Kirk said...

I thought the first two pages were all right, but then, as you said, it veers from the movie. Why make the FBI agent a master of disguise? I'm sure Wally Wood was perfectly capable of drawing James Arness. Why hide the daughter's face behind a book? Well, I guess for the punchline. But, for those of us who've seen the movie, a punchline is much funnier if it's based on a plot point that's actually IN the movie. They also left out the eerie scene with Fess Parker as a mental patient, which I think would be ripe for parody.

As for Wood's art, I have one little quibble that may have more to do with Mendleson's script. As I understand it, when Kurtzman did his stories, he provided rough drawings, whereas Mendleson just wrote a script, giving the artists free reign. I know some might argue the latter method was better, but, for a giant bug movie, THEM had a wonderful film noir feel to it, and I think Kurtzman would have emphasized that more in his rough sketches. Wood still could have filled the background with pop-up gags (thus subverting the film noir feel, what you might expect in a parody), but here, the pop-up gags threaten to take over the story more than the ants. A little too chaotic for me, though if I hadn't seen the movie first, I might have enjoyed it more.

Pappy said...

Kirk, yes, what you said. I totally agree with your analysis. You say it so much better than I.

Anyway, they could do parodies that were sharp satires of the original, like "African Queen" from Panic #2. I posted it in Pappy's #871. The caricatures of Bogart and Hepburn by Wood are equal to Mad.

Kirk said...

You're right. The African Queen parody is much funnier, and captures the feeling of the movie, right down to Kate Hepburn's high cheekbones and New England accent.

Pappy said...

Kirk, I should have mentioned that Al Feldstein gets credit for the script of "African Scream."