Monday, February 16, 2015

Number 1697: Kill! Kill! Kill!

In seven short pages of “The Butcher” we have criminal kingpin Harry Markos in action. A self-described hot head, he kills his girlfriend and her lover, takes over the mob, and expresses his philosophy: “To strike it rich, you’ve got to be ruthless! You can’t be scared of anything or anybody! When something gets in your way - - KILL! KILL! KILL!” Harry is a man I would not like to meet.

This story is drawn by John Buscema,  for several decades one of the most versatile artists in comics, and was published in Wanted #51 (1953). It ends with the obligatory comeuppance death scene, including the boilerplate philosophy, CRIME CANNOT WIN! The Butcher has become, according to the police officer, “. . . a hunk of cold meat --- for the undertaker, now!”

Oo-la-la! A pre-Code bonus, from the inside back cover. 

More Buscema, including another crime story from Wanted, and a science fiction story from Adventures Into the Unknown. Just click on the thumbnails.


Daniel [] said...

The Butcher, eh? He's nothing but a hunk of warm meat, the temperature of which is dropping in conformance with Newton's Law of Cooling, to match the ambient temperature---for the undertaker, now!”

Brian Barnes said...

I thought I had reading these stories; supposedly they were supposed to be cautionary tales, that if you do these bad things, you will die horribly.

But, we see a world full of people that pick that. In a lot of situations, if you feel you have no hope, why not roll the dice on a fast but fun life? It happens constantly.

These stories can have the opposite effect, "The Butcher" is not a very attractive man but he gets various babes; he runs the mob; anybody that gets in his way dies. Was it fast? Certainly? But what if you felt helpless or without hope? Like a kid trapped in an inner city with dead end jobs? Ride the rollercoaster for a couple years. Go out on top!

Also: I guess there's limited ways to combine the words "black" "magic" and "peek-a-boo."

Pappy said...

Daniel, you slay me. Err, not literally, mind you. But you do have a unique take.

Brian, well sure...Al Capone, for all of his depredations, had a pretty good life before the Feds caught up to him for income taxes.

I believe that was one of the complaints of the critics of crime comics: the criminal has a rip-roaring good time, committing murders, stealing, robbing banks, partying with gun molls and his gang, and then in the last panel gets his just reward: death at the hands of the state.

It was only the publishers of crime comics who had the audacity to say that the story taught a moral, CRIME CAN'T WIN. The unspoken moral was always DON'T GET CAUGHT.

Daniel [] said...

I just fig'r that we might as well teach the kids some physics.

Meanwhile, perhaps I run with an odd crowd, but I wonder what share of the customers for those garments were transvestite men.