Thursday, November 23, 2017
Number 2132: Thanksgiving Turkey Award, 2017: Madhouse Murder!
It is also a day when I pick the most unusual, oddball, screwy or worst story I have read in the past year. I picked the story this year for the honor last year, only to be beaten to publication by Booksteve in his Four Color Shadows blog. He posted it a week or so before Thanksgiving 2016. Booksteve could not know the panic it caused me, but I found a substitute and acted like nothing had happened. Now it can be told.
In his blog Steve described “The Madhouse Murder Mystery” as “inventive and utterly compelling.” Steve is much more charitable than I. I will add my opinion that it was drawn by someone who had no formal art training, and perhaps was in his or her teens. The figure drawing is crude and the busy inking technique is that of an artist looking to cover up weaknesses in the pencils. The artist is identified in the splash panel as E.F. Webster.
So if you can get by the artwork, you have an old school melodrama set in a “nuthouse” (panel 3), a menacing figure in a hood and gown kidnapping a nurse with the intention of swapping brains between her and his pal, the slow-minded and brutish Quando.
I give it two-and-a-half Turkeys, not many for this prestigious (ho-ho) award. I go with Steve in his “utterly compelling” description, if only because I have not seen anything else quite like it in mainstream comic books. By adding some four-letter words and a graphic sex scene or two it might have fit into underground comix of the late '60s. Art standards varied widely in the undergrounds in their heyday. In that way “Madhouse Murder Mystery” seems familiar to me.
From Amazing Mystery Funnies Vol. 2 No. 3 (1939):
The Thanksgiving Turkey Awards go back to 2006. To begin your journey through the turkey farm, begin with last year’s posting, which will direct you. Just click on the thumbnail. Or, if you want them all at once, just type in "Thanksgiving Turkey Awards" in that little box in the upper left corner of this page.