Saturday, May 02, 2009

Fass times 5!

In a nutshell - More Halloween horror comics backlog from last year - prior to my most recent hiatus. Nice scans. Pretty good analysis of cruddy pop culture. Usual griping mixed in. Some wise-cracking. Business as usual pretty much. Ho-hum. Corrected bad URLs Tuesday May 5th after someone once again points out my HTML sucks, more ho-hum.....

Strange Galaxy From April '71 features the usual mix of old and new - standouts are two great stories by "Darling" Dick Ayers, the pretty straight forward SF tale "Monster from Dimension X" and the over the top eye-popping "Isle of Demons". The lead story, "The Human Monster" by "Reynoso" is none too shabby either. Rounding out the issue are four Pre-Code reprints - "Death Strikes Four", "Terror Unlimited", "Skeletons Have Secrets" and "Devil of Doom".

Weird Galaxy April 1971

Weird Worlds from August '71 starts out with "The Invaders" by "Reynoso", an obvious re-working of Basil Wolvertons' "Brain-Bats of Venus". Also included are"The Strange Spaceship", "The Horror On Radar", "Witchcraft"
and "Witches Revenge" by Ayers.
While there are only two Pre-Code reprints this issue - "Hands of Terror" and "Pit of Horror", this issue features not one but two text pieces "Innerspace" and "The Cosmic Monster".

Weird Worlds August 1971

As a minor trivia point, it has previously been noted (by one of our long-time readers whose name escapes me as I type this) that many of the covers for these Eerie SF-themed mags from the early 1970's are reprinted from German "Perry Rhodan" publications. Curious datajunkie factoid #287 - collect 'em all kids!

Weird for June 1974 is pretty representative of the Eerie Publications of the period. Starting out with "The Fanged Monster" By "Cristobaca" (?), "The Supernatural" by "Reynoso", "Shock" (which I'm sure is ripped panel by panel from a Pre-Code story, maybe an E.C. tale?) and "He Rose From The Grave", both by what looks like Fass staple Oscar Fraga. The three page text piece for this issue "The Mummy" is more in the style of Countrywides' more lurid "mainstream" fare, reading more like some skewed form of sensationalistic journalism more at home in the "World Weekly News" than an example of horror fiction. "Satan's Demon" is signed by "Felix Saborido" who has a tight 1950's-esque style that ends up looking like a cross between Howard Nostrand and Chic Stone and makes you wish he had done more work for the line. The final story "The Beast" features art by the "unknown genius" of the various titles, although the cursed were-aardvark protagonist (in a cape no less) is less than frightening. No Pre-Code reprints at all this time round.

Weird June 1974

Most of the stories in Tales from the Tomb, September 1974 are unsigned -
"The Living Corpse", "The Skull", "Horror Doll", "Mask of Horror" and "Monster" (this does look like Oscar fraga to me), but three are - "Tear 'Em Apart" by "Rubena Marchionne", "The Demon" by "Reynoso" and the very impressive "Deadman's Rope" by ""Maudiaficca" (?). Now I likes me a good Warren (or Skywald) mag as much as the next weirdo, but this issue doesn't stink as much as some folks would think. I have an appreciation for some of the more "off-the-wall" stories in the Fass product of the late 60's / early 70's phase, but it seems to me some of these stories wouldn't be too out of place in an issue of "Creepy" or "Eerie" from the same year. If anything, the art and denouements seem to share some of that heavy, oppressive quality that characterized "The Horror-Mood" at it's best (or worst).

Tales From The Tomb September 1974

Terrors Of Dracula from August 1979 reprints the cover for the June 1974 issue of Weird.... wotta class act! While the interior stories were reprinted/re-used with frightening regularity, the covers were at least re-worked when recycled, but I guess at this point no-one gave much of a sh*t any more.....
they were just grindin' 'em out! Sweet! Let's get to the run-down, shall we?
"The Strange Vampire", "Garden Of Corpses" "Horror Without a Head" are worthy if unsigned, but "Bloodbath" is the notorious LSD freak-out story by Chic Stone you may have heard about. Way to go Chic!
(When They Meet The) "Vampire" and "A Head Full of Snakes" are signed by "Macagno" and would again not be out of place in a Warren mag. "Vampire" (again!?!) features Dick Ayers at his blood-letting best! 'Nuff Said!
"Satan's Warlock" features a darkly expressionistic style by "Marchionne" that is actually quite disturbing in more than a few panels. Closing out the issue are "The Demon Is a Hag" (who is also a gender bender as well it would seem) and "The Skinrippers" (ouch - that's gonna leave a mark!). The inside front and back covers, and the outside back cover feature black and white reproductions of various covers from the late 70's sans copy and text, and are a real treat!

Terrors Of Dracula August 1979

While i've tried to list artist credits as they appear (usually on the splash or last pages of the story), I still want to know - WHO WROTE THIS STUFF?
While it has been demonstrated by myself and others that a lot of these stories were lifted/ripped panel by panel from Ajax-Farrell, Harvey and Iger shop horror stories from the 1950's, some of these stories from the mid to late 1970's don't seem to be. It might be assumed that Chic Stone may have written his stuff, what about Dick Ayers body of work for Eerie? What about the other stories? Another one of life's mysteries, I guess......

In other news, regarding the whole cbz techo-kerfuffle, i'm using Stuffit Deluxe to process these files, but I think the thing is this: I'm a mac guy, and OS X does what OS X does. It would seem that most comic viewer apps are PC based, and OS X has my hands tied behind my back. So while I wade through my backlog of pdfs generated last year from prior to my break, i'm thinking that I might just do an end run with the whole problem, and just post the files as zips. Then you can do whatever the hell you want to with 'em. Let's just try and ignore all that cash I spent on Acrobat Pro, shall we? I know I will. Jeez, it's like Betamax all over again! Sheesh! Sometimes I can't even get even! Put yer 2ยข in now, or forever hold yer piece.

Now, a quick word about torture, since this seems to be the recent hot topic in the media - while I like a good horror story as much as the next guy (probably more in fact) and there seems to be some elements of the big "T" in almost any fictional horror construct (particularly Pre-Code horror books, Italian "Giallos" and the black and white magazines of the 70's), torture seems to be a real throwback to much darker aspect of human history, say "The Spanish Inquisition" for example. I must admit to scratching my head over the consensus among many people that allows rationalizing it as an acceptable option in certain circumstances. Thanks, but no thanks. This is the 21st century after all. As a species, we are at our best when we rise above our violent animal natures, and I find this apparent descent back into primal savagery more than a little disturbing....
Plus it's certainly an arguable point that it doesn't really work all that well: re-read Orwell's "1984"... at a certain point, poor old Winston Smith ends up to agreeing to anything rather than get his face chewed off by hungry rats, as would we all. Then my droogies, let's keep the torture out of the headlines and back in Italian splatter movies and horror comics where it belongs - OK?

Also, don't forget to tell your friends about Free Comic Book Day this Saturday. At the movies, I'm sure some of you have already seen "Wolverine: Origins", and I'm sure I will to (sooner rather than later), I just find it kind of amusing that everyone's favorite beserker mutant Canadian is played by one of my countrymen from Down Under. I guess it makes a weird kind of sense, as everyone knows all Australians are more than a little bit nuts, while Canadians are... well... Canadian. Just kidding folks! So no hate mail from Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver please.

While we're on the topic of things that make a weird kind of sense, these have been appearing on those mysterious large boxes you see on street corners all over the city. I think it's a gag, but I'm not 100% sure. Call the number (I did). It's a hoot!

So, in signing off - it's your old pal Hyper Dave, still chasin' that rainbow down a one-way street, reminding you to wash your hands early and often (just like your Momma told you)..... and don't let the bastards grind you down!

PS. Don't forget to check out my OTHER blog if you like the electronical type music (or indeed, if you're just curious as to what the heck it is I'm doing when I'm not ruminating over the "stinky little books"). More free stuff there from the archives of my Fab-O combo "art of hot". Miss it not!

PPS. If you like the alternative radio station thang, check out my fave KPOO which plays a great selection of rare oldies, soul and funk classics featuring DJ's with names like Johnny Brooklyn or the (in)famous Bobby "Spider" Webb. They even have a doo-wop show for Heaven's sake!

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