Monday, February 27, 2017

Number 2016: Hairy shadows

DC’s supernatural comics had a habit of turning what looked supernatural into something more down-to-earth, but this is different. The hairy shadows may not be supernatural, but they're not of this earth. Manly Wade Wellman is credited by Grand Comics Database as writer, with Murphy Anderson (pencils) and Joe Giella (inks) as artists.

From Phantom Stranger #4 (1953):


Daniel [] said...

When last I knew, the Phantom Stranger was not merely supernatural, but had successfully defied his divine superiors, to fight for the Good when they ordered surrender. Here, he seems to be limited to parlour tricks and fisticuffs. (Well, those and also an oddly morphing hat.) But I welcome your again showing us a fairly early tale, from a time in which DC made a point of having nothing supernatural in their tales of the supernatural.

Brian Barnes said...

I might be in the minority, but DC horror, pre-code or post-code, all shared the same two traits: (1) great, and sometimes incredible art and (2) limp noodle stories. I still appreciate them, though. They are basically the same kind of stuff you'd see in the twilight zone comics you published before, but usually with a bit more of a super hero bent.

"I have my own way of dealing with the supernatural -- punching it!" I get the feeling that's how you deal with everything!

Neil A. Hansen said...

I'm amazed how well meshed Murphy Anderson and Joe Giella were back in the day. Reminds me a lot of the early Dan Barry Flash Gordon dailies.

Unknown said...

"Sometimes I'm called the Phantom Stranger! Other times, I'm called Bob!"

Vic and Ellen Woods's hobby is looking for ghosts--and yet they've never found any? If I were an amateur painter and never produced anything, I think I'd quit being a painter. If my hobby were building model airplanes and I never finished even one, I'd get a new hobby. Those silly folks on TV haven't given up being ghost hunters because they think they've seen some ghosts. But Vic and Ellen admit they never have. Isn't the definition of insanity "doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result?" Then I'd say the Woodses are cuckoo.

Hmm, would I mistake a book of spells to summon ghosts and spirits as a book of chemical formulas?

Wow, punching a foe with his own fists! Much different from how the PS became--a mysterious fellow who involves himself in nothing, only giving cryptic advice.

Did you notice in the last panel...? Vic was so shocked by the PS's disappearance, his hair turned white!

Pappy said...

Neil, I think Joe Giella was one of those go-to guys for inking at DC. I believe he meshed well with most,if not all, of the pencilers to whom he was assigned.

Pappy said...

Daniel, rhetorical questions: were the powers at DC afraid of the supernatural? Were they afraid that if the monsters, ghosts, vampires, etc., that appeared in early House of Mystery and Phantom Stranger comics appeared to be "real" they would be criticized for being "horror" comics?

The fake supernatural continued as their style for quite a while, at least until the sixties. But by then there were so many goofy gimmicks going on at DC the supernaturals seemed least compared to dinosaurs fighting GIs during WWII, or giant gorillas in headbands.

At least in the case of this Phantom Stranger story the protagonists saw something otherworldly.

Pappy said...

For Vic's lost melanin, I wonder where that started that someone frightened enough could have their hair go white overnight?

What is your main hobby? Do you have one beyond writing thoughtful notes to this blog?

Daniel [] said...

“Sudden Whitening of Hair” by J. E. Jelinek in Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine v48 (1972) #8 (Sep) [PDF]

Pappy said...

Daniel, I can now add alopecia areata to my vocabulary. Thanks.