Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Worst(...or is it one of the Best?) EC story ever!

 EC’s horror stories were always cruelly ironic, and always tempered with a sense of humor. But this….this one overdoes both the humor and the nastiness to a truly insane degree. The humor is so pronounced that all it would need is a change of art-style to run in Mad, but at the same time it would probably have seemed too grim. It doesn’t even fit in with the other “Grim Fairy Tales” that EC ran because, really, other than the medieval setting, it has nothing to do with fairy tales. It’s an anomaly, but at the same time one of the most truly crazy things EC ever ran. And yet, not a drop of blood or a single rotting corpse or dismembered organ is to be seen. Neither are sight-gags or characters drawn in a “bigfoot” style.
 This is in part because of the presence of artist Jack Kamen; who was easily EC’s most restrained artist, some would even say weakest. Either because of personal preference or because of the essay that was the introduction to EC comics for many of us, Don Thompson’s Son of the Spawn of M.C. Gaines (wherein Kamen was dismissed as a nice guy whose drawings were “very uninteresting”), Kamen has always gotten a bad rap. I disagree; he could inject just as much perversity into a story with his cartoony, romance comics-style as any of the other, flashier artists. I guess he was the Val Lewton of the EC gang. Here, I think he manages to achieve just the right balance of humor and horror, whereas the other EC artists would have focused too much on one aspect of the story.

 From Haunt of Fear #18, Here's "Pot-Shot!" All (c) EC. Comics.

Yes it is, creepy Mego-Hulk figure with googly polymer-clay eyes, yes it is.

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