Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Number 1656: Messing with things man was not meant to know!

H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos has been a staple of weird fiction for decades, and occasionally pops up  in comic books. This story, which is a nod to the original, is from Treasure Comics #2 (1945), drawn by Bob Fujitani.

Either the unknown writer couldn’t spell or misspelled principals from that mythos by design.* Perhaps he/she thought those who were contributing stories to Weird Tales might take offense, or even sue. Who knows? I know enough about the mythos to know that when you call the Elder Gods from their home in the darkness of deep space you draw certain doom to yourself. Maybe the writer of this oddball little tale with its suit-and-hat-with-cape hero, Dr. Styx, thought by using the concepts of Lovecraft and his circle of fellow writers the doom called down was closer to home.

*“Chthulu” for Cthulhu, “Abdul Azhred” for Abdul Alhazred, “Necronicon” for Necronomicon, for example.


Henry R. Kujawa said...

Thanks to Roger Corman & AIP, I tend to relate "Poe" and "Lovecraft". So the thought of possibly following up my "Poe" project with a similar "Lovecraft" project has crossed my mind in the last few weeks... although at this rate, who can say?

(Or, as Dr. Strange once said, "Who can fathom the deviant mind?")

Brian Barnes said...

Pretty lazy character design on Dr. Styx, though I like the name.

This is kind of a weird super-hero-ish story. A character who can't interact with the environment is kind of a hard sell. He basically reads his way out of this one, and calls in others to clean up the mess.

I do like the multi-armed elder god. Very 70s Dr. Strange in design.

Ryan Anthony said...

"The most titanic battle in the history of man" took all of two panels.
Was Dr. Styx an inspiration for the Phantom Stranger?

Pappy said...

Henry, whatever you figure to do I'll probably enjoy it.

I have been helping Henry when I can with his project to show the comics adaptations of authors like Jules Verne and Poe. Check out Henry's blog at Professor H's Wayback Machine.

Pappy said...

Ryan, I'm sure most comics characters had many influences, so I would not doubt that the Phantom Stranger in some way is related to Dr. Styx, if not in fact then in similarity of characters.

A two-panel "titanic battle" is probably par for comics. A writer can put anything in the script, and then it is for the artist to figure out how to handle it. Apparently Bob Fuje decided not to show all the details of the most titanic battle in the history of man.

Pappy said...

Brian, I prefer to think of Dr. Styx's appearance as not "lazy character design" but as following in the footsteps of other characters whose only costume accoutrements were a cape or a domino mask or even a top hat. The heroes of the pulp magazines like The Shadow or The Spider didn't need real fancy gear. In one way, though, I can understand why the tight underwear guys, dressed in bright primary colored circus-style gear got attention. They took advantage of the fact they were appearing in color and let their inner-peacocks come forth.

Anonymous said...

Freak cold front —your two month advance posting coincided with a distinctly noticable cold front where I live, Pappy. I admire the contortions on the face of the amateur conjuror; if I could contort that way I might not know what it is to be really evil but I'd at least look odious in a kind of warmed-over way. I enjoyed this story.

Pappy said...

Now it can be told, 7f7...I have a crystal ball with a weather genie who looks just like one of those meteorologists on TV. He gives me advance weather information except when he's on smoke break or out to lunch. Union genie, you know.