Tentacle Tuesday: Plants Sometimes Have Tentacles, Too

The topic of today’s Tentacle Tuesday is based on a plant-based mishap. I was walking along an alley, minding my own business, when some sort of climbing plant with especially long and vicious tentacle-vines, swinging from from a nearby fence,  grabbed my arm. The result were scratches that felt like burns.*

So today’s gruesome offerings are mostly cousins of the Venus Flytrap, if the latter had tentacles to assist its quest for prey. (Let’s breathe a sigh of relief that it doesn’t.)

MidnightTales6-HowardWayne
Midnight Tales no. 6 (November 1973), cover by Wayne Howard. I am a big fan of Midnight Tales and its blend of humour and adventure. Note the “created by Wayne Howard” announcement on the cover, which wasn’t exactly typical for its time – comic book companies didn’t use to acknowledge the creators of their “content” so openly and insistently.

Midnight Tales often offer moments of “wait, how did that get through the Comics Code?” Arachne (Professor Coffin’s undeniably attractive niece) is frequently more sexually provocative than one would expect from a kid-appropriate comic, crimes committed are nastier than surmised, and the plots go from morbid to surreal… with some comedy thrown in. Oh, sure, there’s some terrible clunkers, as every issue has three or four stories linked by a common theme and illustrated by different artists, but overall the quality remains high throughout its 18-issue run.

I’ve seen people online saying that Howard shamelessly plagiarized Wally Wood’s style – perhaps people more erudite than I see that, but I don’t. “Influenced” is one thing – but one can build on those beginnings to create a recognizable style of one’s own, right? Those who like Wayne Howard frequently classify him as a “guilty pleasure”, and proceed to insult his art while they’re explaining why they like it. To quote, for instance, from Atomic Avenue, who follow the unspoken rule – just mentioning Charlton Comics warrants a condescending tone, and any acknowledgement of their quality has to be tempered by mockery. 

Creator Wayne Howard blatantly imitated the style of comic art great Wally Wood right down to his gothic signature, but at least he aimed high in his plagiarism. Consequently, Midnight Tales had the look of a seedy, off-register knock-off of an EC horror comic—putting it at the top of Charlton’s quality spectrum.

Another opinion from Cap’n’s Comics:

In my world of geek’n out over all this great art, Wayne Howard is one of my biggest guilty pleasures. He loves to draw like Wally Wood, but he’s no Wally Wood. His females usually look like Wally’s women after a really bad day, and his males are just plain fugly. His Wood machinery is close to the background machinery behind the awesome machinery, and everything shouts fan art VS pro art, but… Luvittopieces

Ah, well. I won’t be apologetic about liking Howard’s art, and Midnight Tales will be proudly presented as a favourite series on a need-to-know basis. Fortunately, there’s some nice articles about him, too – a sort of obituary for a great African-American artist who died at only 58.

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Another Flytrap for your enjoyment, in this tale of brotherly rivalry:

HouseofMystery251-HarvestofHate1
“Harvest of Hate” was scripted by Jack Oleck and drawn by Alfredo Alcala (speaking of whom, I still can’t get over how beautiful his signature is.) Page scanned from House of Mystery no. 251 (March-April 1977).
HouseofMystery251-HarvestofHate2
Don’t worry, the “gardener” who fed his brother to this man-devouring monstrosity gets his comeuppance, all right.

The cover of this issue of House of Mystery is also a good exhibit of plant tentacles, even if the children are a superfluous addition:

HouseofMystery251-NealAdams
House of Mystery no. 251 (March-April 1977), cover by Neal Adams.

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Here’s something more recent – published on some almost-thirty years ago, instead of forty – the tentacular adventures of Doctor Gorpon! I hope these guys count as plants (even if they’re slightly more mobile) – they’re the right shade of green!

DoctorGorpon#2-MarcHansen
Doctor Gorpon no. 2 (July 1991) by Marc Hansen. The little guy in the right bottom corner is extra-cute – if only all children looked at their parents with the same sense of admiration and awe! It’s “Ooze Me, Baby!”

I only finished reading this three-issue series today, and I must say, it was an exciting ride. Highly recommended (if you can find it, that is).

DoctorGorpon3-MarcHansen-Splash
A panel from the aptly-titled “Big Eyeballs!”, published in Doctor Gorpon no. 3 (August 1991).
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A page from “Big Eyeballs!”, published in Doctor Gorpon #3 (August 1991).

~ ds

*
Plantburns

12 thoughts on “Tentacle Tuesday: Plants Sometimes Have Tentacles, Too

  1. Yeowtch! That looks painful. I hope you’re feeling better now.

    Count me as another fan of the Charlton horror anthologies, and I certainly do not consider them to be a guilty pleasure. Those books had some beautiful artwork, including by Wayne Howard, who was very underrated.

    Liked by 1 person

    • redscraper July 22, 2018 / 21:14

      Everything has healed now, thank you! Always happy to encounter a fellow fan of Charlton horror. Thanks for your lovely comment!

      Liked by 1 person

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