Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Number 1734: “Master the dead with whom you’ve lain!”

“The Buried Brain” is from Adventures Into the Unknown #27 (1952). It is bizarre, but then, that described most of the horror comics published by ACG.

Dr. Dundea, in death, has found a way to become master of other ghosts. It has something to do with his brain being buried. He even kills the man who helps carry out the terms of his will. He is an ungrateful ghost! As with many other ACG stories, young, living love triumphs over old dead guys.

Art is by Ogden Whitney, and the writer is unknown.

More strangeness from Adventures Into the Unknown. Just click on the thumbnails.


Daniel [] said...

For most modern consumers, horror and ghost stories are intrinsically bizarre — and they entail a violation not merely of every-day expectations, but of the rules of every-day life. But they have themselves rules and expectations, and when we speak or write of stories such as this being bizarre, we're talking about a violation of those rules and expectations.

I'll leave it to others to catalogue ost of what's peculiarly bizarre about this story. But what stands-out amongst the ACG horror fiction that I've seen is that characters are somehow informed of a logick to the supernatural that isn't found in other horror stories.

Here, Fred just knows most of how this business of evil ghosts and what-not works, as if it's like automobile maintenance or somesuch, even though aspects of it were invented for this story.

Whitney's work on this story is uneven. I think that the tears in 5:1 are the low point.

Ryan Anthony said...

Whitney's art is WAY too good for this story. Never mind the plot, the dialogue is absurd. Do you think Hughes wrote this? O.W.'s one goof, IMO, is panel 1 of page 4, where Patsy appears really relaxed considering the situation. At least Fred looks snazzy in his gangster duds.

Brian Barnes said...

Well, it's a story. It has a beginning. And an end. Stuff happens. There's some rules. There's a conclusion based on the rules, the end!

One thing I like about a lot of these badly written horror stories is the ending are so abrupt -- emotionally. If I just spent the night fighting zombies, ghosts, living brains, and seeing my wive's father get killed, I don't think I'd lead with "hey, it's a great day, we're going to go cruising and be happy!" Everybody is all smiles!

I might need at least an hour to decompress from ghost/zombie fighting!

Pappy said...

Brian, you bring up a thing about these ACG stories: the happy endings, despite all the reasons for them not to be happy. I am used to ACG endings where everyone just goes out smiling, even though they have just encountered the event of a lifetime: seeing a ghost, cremating a ghost, and a death in the family. After all that you'd think they'd need a Valium or Xanax or something.

It is what made the downbeat ending of my recently posted "Tiny Space Girl" story so unusual to me.

Pappy said...

Daniel, good point about the logic of the supernatural. The best thing about any ghost story for me is the mystery. I don't really want to know why the ghost is coming back to haunt the hero and heroine. I just want spooky thrills. So by concocting such outrageous knowledge on the part of the characters it removes any suspense; after all, if Fred knows the secret he should be able to fight it, and he does. Ho hum.

Pappy said...

Ryan, I don't know whether Hughes wrote it or not. I suspect Hughes may have come up with titles or something before having someone write a story. "Ah! 'The Buried Brain'! Write me a story with that title."

My reasoning comes from the biography of Patricia Highsmith, The Talented Miss Highsmith. Highsmith, who went on to write classics like Strangers On a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley, worked for Hughes in the forties, writing comic book scripts. The author of the bio says that Hughes would say, "Pat, I need a story with the Black Terror and a tank." I don't think he cared about the story or plot as such, as long as it was the requisite number of pages and had some elements that pulled it together. That is also the way many of the stories in the later "supernaturals" strike me.