Tuesday, October 30, 2012

31 Days of Halloween - Day 30

Back in 2010, I was one of a number of comic book creators asked by Robot 6 to talk about the comic book stories that scared us as kids. What came to mind for me were covers to comics more than any of the contents. That's what I ended up talking about.

Since then, a couple of stories that I'd read as a child surfaced in my memory as being particularly disturbing, unsettling, or at least creepy to my then seven year old self. I tracked those stories down and now present them for your enlightenment and my ridicule.

First up is a story that I encountered in Monsters on the Prowl #28 (June 1974) though the story originally came from Adventures Into Terror #14.

Now that you've read this story which pretty well conveys feelings of persecution, paranoia, and a slipping grasp of sanity even though it's not really all that chilling, you may be wondering what it was about "They're Driving Me Crazy" that I found disturbing enough that it stuck with me all these years. I'll tell you. Take a look at the first panel of page one. That pink old man fetus with the hook like hands. I couldn't bear to look at him, and I couldn't stop looking at him. His reappearance at the end seemed incredibly threatening now that he was freed from his jar than he actually presents himself in the story. 

The second story reached me via Where Monsters Dwell #33 (January 1975) but was originally published in Marvel Tales #128

Oddly structured with the meat of the story transpiring over a single one of its four pages, this tale also has some lapses in logic such as why the scientist ages not at all while his baby is born, grows old and dies, but suddenly ages rapidly between two panels. For me, the story itself wasn't disturbing, but images in it were. First up, the panel on the last page where the baby asks for a drink of water. To me, that baby-child was just plain creepy looking. I think it must have been the hair. Second, and probably most troubling, the next panel where the middle aged baby is seen sitting in the playpen smoking a cigar and reading the paper. Never mind how he learned to read and developed a taste for cigars, the thing that really unsettled me about that image was the grown man still being kept in the playpen. That just seemed so wrong to me that the image would come to mind any time I heard, or saw, a commercial for one of those man-baby horror movies which I would never go see because of this story. Finally, the last panel where the scientist is suddenly old and his wife doesn't know it yet. I think it was the idea of how she'd react when she saw him that did me in. 

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