Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Bondage in Stone / No Grave to Hold Him

The two remaining illustrated tales from the November 1953 issue of Web of Mystery #21 means another full issue presentation for you full mag completists! (Check the archive for Dick Ayer's Ghoul's Gold, and the batshit crazy horror-larity of Chic Stone's Meet the Cowled Lady!) Today though we have a frightful French ghost story from Ken Rice, followed by a Frankenstein inspired tale of brain transplantation gone wrong (of course) with Sekowsky pencils.


















8 comments:

Brian Barnes said...

Is it too much to ask that you do just the smallest bit of research on what spiders look like before drawing a cover?

I really like the "No Grave to Hold Him." It has my favorite mad scientist trope, that two geniuses come up with something completely unnecessary but the obviously driving macguffin of the story.

You can't have a good mad scientist yarn unless somebody with science advanced 200+ years ahead of time has the logical facilities of a 5 year old. Why not just set the thing to "good"? Why the good and evil switch? It's just asking for trouble!

BTW, did you notice in "Bondage in Stone" (also the title of my favorite dirty movie staring statues), that one of the robbers escaped the curse just by having his gargoyle destroyed? So much for fate!

Mr. Cavin said...

You know, in the annals of literature the concept of "overwritten" prose has never been quite so objective as it is in comics. That first story barely leaves room for the competent but sort of uninspired art. Something about the illustrator's awkward sense of the relationship between objects within the frame makes his layered depths look like collages, an effect I tend to like when it includes a group of withered dead people clumped up behind the protagonists. I think they look like they were all cut out of Aleister Crowley fashion catalogs and rearranged in panels here. I do wish that I saw the same verve in the foregrounds as I see in those amazing architectural backdrops (except the middle of page six, which looks as much like cutouts as the figures I was mentioning above). That splash shows some amazing technical drawing.

Turok1952 said...

The middle statue was the one occupied by Pierre Loutrec, the ancestor of the modern murderer Loutrec. The lightning shattered the gargoyle because Loutrec's murderous act had freed the ancestor within (middle top panel, p. 3).

I too loved the second story. You know, I wonder if it was supposed to be an origin story for what might have become a regular character? If so, were there ever any follow-on stories?

Egad and I agree about the giant spider body...rubbery-legged thing, isn't she? Yack!

Brian Barnes said...

Ah, thanks Turok1952, I missed that bit. My mind/body dial must have been all the way to body!

Karswell said...

I thought it was a giant tick on the cover when I first got this issue, which would've been a little closer, I guess. What, no jabs at the Schools Need You ad??!!

Mestiere said...

The first story happens in France starting on March 14, 1940 and continuing for an unknown amount of time (enough for Loutrec to get rich). Somehow people managed to go on with their lives despite the Nazi invasion of France.

In the second story the scientist's personality and memories are in his brain but the personality (and memories!) of the criminal are in his body. I don't remember seeing such a concept before.

As for the crowded schools ad, 1953 was near the middle of the baby boom. People knew that overcrowding would become an even more serious issue in the near future. It's a good thing that — judging from the ad — Clark Kent was on our side.

Turok1952 said...

You know, I just thought of something that should have been evident right away: The professor was brilliant, but the granddaughter, well...

She actuslly believed that chloral hydrate would have knocked out... a robot?

Oh, well.... I didn't catch it at first either... duh me! :)

Karswell said...

>She actuslly believed that chloral hydrate would have knocked out... a robot?

Maybe if you dumped a whole barrel on it?

Double dose of Eerie (Avon style) up next!