Wednesday, November 07, 2012
Number 1258: Forbidden Worlds’ sad ending
Kenneth Landau is an artist who appeared in ACG’s pre-Code comics, and so I'm showing a story he did for that company's Out of the Night #14, from 1954. He also appeared sporadically in ACG's post-Code comic books, and I'm also showing you the story he did for the very last issue of Forbidden Worlds #145, in 1967.
Landau worked in animation as a layout artist, and if you look at his listing on IMDb.com, you’ll probably recognize most of the things he worked on.
The story from Out of the Night is typical of the type of horror comics ACG did at the time. There is a likeability to them, and the endings (as in “Out of the Screen”) are optimistic. Good triumphs over evil. Yay. (It doesn't mention that the inventor who wreaked such havoc with his 3D system will be sued after admitting he's responsible for the deadly dinosaur attack.)
But the story from the last Forbidden Worlds has a very different ending for ACG, and editor/writer Richard E. Hughes. If Hughes — who is reputed to have written all of ACG's output under pseudonyms in those years — wrote it* he sacrificed his usual optimistic ending for one of tragedy. I'll let you read it and see.
Landau was a journeyman comic book artist.** He signed his stories, but even without a signature the earlier stories are recognizable by his pen-shading.
**A silly rumor went around for years that Kenneth Landau was actually Martin Landau, the actor. Martin did some cartooning in his time, but he’s not Ken Landau.