Tentacle Tuesday: With One Magic Word…

« A slithering tentacle now seizes Billy, and a shuddery voice pours into his ears! »

Previously, we’ve talked about Captain Marvel (the original, the best, the… dare I say, unique!) in a post about his co-creator C.C. Beck. Today, I’ll concentrate on the World’s Mightiest Mortal’s exploits with all manner of tentacled monsters.

All C.C. Beck quotes in this post come from An Interview with C.C. Beck conducted in the late 1980s (shortly before Beck’s death in 1989) by the talented Tom Heintjes of Hogan’s Alley.

« When I looked at the first Captain Marvel story, I knew at once that here was a story worth illustrating. It had a beginning, a carefully constructed development of plot and characters leading to a climax and an ending, and nothing else. There was no pointless flying around and showing off, no padding, no “Look, Ma, I’m a superhero!” Out of 72 panels, Captain Marvel appeared in 18, or one-fourth. »

Whiz-Comics4A
« March, ye scalliwag, or I’ll curdle yer giblets! » Follow Captain Marvel’s fine example – don’t forget to hug a tree, folks! Although it will be better if you can find one without spines and prehensile appendages. This  is Whiz Comics no. 5 (May 1940), cover by C. C. Beck. Captain Marvel may “crash through”, but the cover story, « Beautia for President », contains no tentacles whatsoever… just a hypnotically beautiful woman, that some may settle for (not me). You may note that the cover has « number 4 » written on it, but 5 was the number reported to the Copyright Office, so go figure.
Whiz-Comics60A
Whiz Comics no. 60 (November 1944), cover by C. C. Beck. Paper tentacles? I think they count! The main story is adorably goofy, in the best Otto Binder tradition… but unfortunately comicbookplus.com has only a seriously blurry scan of this issue (read it here, but it may cause headaches).
WhizComics146-CCBeck-CaptainMarvel
Whiz Comics no. 146 (June 1952), cover by Pete Costanza. Speaking of the latter and quoting (again) from C.C. Beck, « Pete Costanza was the first artist hired to assist me when Fawcett’s comic department started to expand in the latter part of 1940. We later went into partnership, and Pete was in charge of our studio in Englewood, New Jersey, while I operated out of our New York City office. Pete was an established illustrator at an early age, and I learned as much from him about story illustration as he learned from me about cartooning. »

The green, proudly toupée-d fellow appears in the opening panel of Terror Stalks the World’s Fair, but as it turns out, he has nothing to do with the rest of the story, really.

WhizComics#146-TerrorStalkstheWorld'sFair
Terror Stalks the World’s Fair is scripted by Otto Binder and drawn by Kurt Schaffenberger.
WhizComics155-CaptainMarvel
« A sinister mystery hangs over the city! Each night, screams are heard… human screams that gurgle away into deathly silence! » Whiz Comics no. 155 (June 1953), the final issue of Whiz Comics, cover by C.C. Beck.

The cover story features an actual kraken with evil, myopic eyes! I rejoiced.

WhizComics#155-BattlesTheLegendHorror
Page from Captain Marvel Battles the Legend Horror, scripted by Otto Binder and drawn by Kurt Schaffenberger.

In an interesting plot twist, it is revealed that gigantic vampire bats and the Kraken (who has the gift of speech, sounding like somebody’s rather eccentric uncle) have struck up a partnership.

WhizComics#155-BattlesTheLegendHorror-vampirebats
Poor Kraken must get cold, consuming all those frozen bodies…

While we’re at it, Captain Marvel Battles the Legend Horror is a perfect demonstration of a point C.C. Beck made well:

« Billy Batson was the real hero of all the Captain Marvel stories, from the first issue until the last.  Without Bill Batson, Captain Marvel would have been merely another overdrawn, one-dimensional figure in a ridiculous costume, running around beating up crooks and performing meaningless feats of strength like all the other heroic figures of the time who were, with almost no exceptions, cheap imitations of Superman. In fact, I have always felt that flying figures in picture form are silly and unbelievable, and I would much sooner have never drawn them, but the publisher insisted on them. Most of the time Captain Marvel’s ability to fly had little or nothing to do with the plots of the stories in which he appeared. Billy Batson started every story and ended every story. In between, Captain Marvel appeared when he was needed, disappeared when he was not needed. The stories were about Billy Batson, not about the cavortings of a ridiculous superhero for whom the writers had to concoct new and more impossible demonstrations of his powers for each issue. »

WhizComics#155-BattlesTheLegendHorror-Water
A terrible end for any creature, even a malevolent one.

And our last encounter with tentacles for today…

Captain-Marvel-Adventures65A
Captain Marvel Adventures no. 65 (September 1946), cover by C. C. Beck.

The Invasion From Outer Space, plotted by Otto Binder and drawn by C. C. Beck, offers us lots of cute little alien guys:

CaptainMarvel65-The Invasion From Outer Space
As usual, they wanna take over the world, but they’re cute, anyway. There’s that toupée again, this time (alien) flesh-coloured! That’s a mighty suggestive tentacle wiggle, Zelog-Zunn Sir.

CaptainMarvel65-The Invasion From Outer Space2

Have more time to kill? Visit The World’s Mightiest Mortal, a blog dedicated to the ol’ big red cheese.

~ ds

2 thoughts on “Tentacle Tuesday: With One Magic Word…

  1. tref May 1, 2019 / 00:26

    RE-posted on twitter @trefology

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s