Sunday, August 16, 2020

Number 2446: The horrors of the Web of Evil

Pappy's First Law of Horror Comics: “The main character shall be as unpleasant and irredeemable as possible.”

Web of Evil was a horror comic from Quality Comics. It lasted 21 issues from 1951-1954. It follows the usual plots of horror comics, making the bad guys truly evil, and the victims sometimes not much better. In each of the four stories in this issue Pappy’s First Law is observed. In the first story the irredeemable bad guy is the last of a family who were evil slave owners. The ghosts of the slaves, along with their giant alligator are there to wreak vengeance.

The second story looks to be inspired by Tod Browning’s infamous Freaks, a controversial horror film from 1932. The other two stories, including the third, drawn (or at least penciled) by Jack Cole and the final tale, both fit into the First Law category. The Grand Comics Database lists no credits for the non-Cole stories.

From Web of Evil #1 (1952):


Daniel [] said...

“Custodian of the Dead” (the story illustrated by Cole) is largely an unattributed adaptation of “The Graveyard Rats” by Henry Kuttner, which first appeared in Weird Tales v 27 #3 (March 1936). Later, “Custodian of the Dead” was reworked as “The Ghoul” by Torre Repiso for Myron Fass's Eerie Publications, and used in various of those magazines.

Each of the other two illustrated stories in this issue of WoE misspelled “venomous”.

I remember when I could effect various repairs on a standard television set. Now-a-days, I would just surrender. Likewise for most automotive work.

EG-Markus said...

I never cared for horror comics of the 50s. Not that I didn't like horror stories but I felt the art was second-rate and the panels too cluttered. It hurt my head trying to make it to the end.

Pappy said...

EG, I believe the cluttered panels came about in an effort to make the stories seem more spooky. Like in movies, more creepy surroundings. I don't think they would have had an effect with head shots only. Unless they were decapitated or shrunken heads! I had not really thought about it, having become so used to horror comics for decades, but Greg Sadowski's second volume of his biography of Basil Wolverton, quoted a letter Basil Wolverton got from an editor, telling him to fill the panels completely, with backgrounds.

I hope your headache went away.

Pappy said...

Jeez, Daniel, such a memory you have. I read "The Graveyard Rats" in an anthology over 50 years ago, but I don't remember it well enough to know who copied it.

Those guys at Eerie Publications must've had a stack of old horror comics lying around so they could be used as story swipes. In this case, a swipe of a swipe.

Charles said...

Actually, that third story is a combination of the Kuttner story "The Graveyard Rats" and the the Lovecraft story "In The Vault." I don't know why they bothered stealing from two separate stories for one comic book story. I would have thought that they would have wanted to try and stretch them out.