Friday, February 10, 2012

Number 1103

Gangster and Gothic Ghastly

I've shown stories from different eras of "Ghastly" Graham Ingels' career, including a Western (Pappy's #707) and a love story (Pappy's #712.) But today I'm showing a 1948 crime story, and then a fine 1952 example of Ingels' gothic art for the EC horror comics.

Major differences in the stories are the violence levels in the artwork. In the EC story the violence is toned down. The rat-killings are shown just before the kill, and the retribution of the king and queen's subjects is told in the captions, yet the drawings are camouflaged by coloring and silhouette. The last panel of the royal couple writhing is more slapstick than gruesome, until you read of their fate in the caption. On the other hand, in "Spanish John" we see a couple of graphic knifings (one through the arm, another through the neck), some shootings, including a cop, and the dying Spanish John, bleeding on a tombstone.

Ingels drew some ghastly things in his career (hence his nickname), but I believe it was his ability to evoke mood that made his work so special. Mood is mostly missing from "Spanish John." It's well drawn, but not as effective in pushing its knife-like point as "A Grim Fairy Tale."

From Underworld #4 (1948):

From Vault of Horror #27 (1952):


"100Aliases" said...

Back in the 90s, there was a TV special called the "Horror Hall of Fame" where EC. Comics got special mention, and Bill Gaines cited this Grim Fairy Tale in particular as one of his personal favorites.

I love Ingel's work, but I tend to find it more effective on stories featuring "normal" horrors like bizarre murders, etc. He could take the most mundane setting and make it and the charatcers look horrific.

Gumba G Gadwa said...

Ingels was my favorite EC artist by far; nobody ever drew the Old Witch like him and nobody else could have done the dripping, goopy stories Al assigned to him.

But, sadly, while early work, the first story shows why Ghastly's career was so short -- it didn't work well outside of horror.

That's why the two of those together are sort of depressing! We owe a lot to Ghastly, I don't think we'd have people like Wrightson without him.

[>] Brian