Tentacle Tuesday: Métamorphoses

« My imagination grew wilder, the most unexpected associations flared up in my mind, and as I kept trying, the reception room kept filling with strange objects. Many of them were born, apparently, out of the subconscious, the brooding jungles of hereditary memory, out of primeval fears long suppressed by the higher levels of education. They had extremities and kept moving about, they emitted disgusting sounds, they were indecent, they were aggressive and fought constantly. I was casting about like a trapped animal. All this vividly reminded me of the old cuts with scenes of St. Anthony’s temptations. » [source]

Today’s topic does not involve a man becoming a cockroach: that has been discussed often enough. My current area of interest concerns the many strange and striking ways in which a living form becomes a completely different form under the influence of a supernatural power or its natural inclination, of witchcraft or the whimsy of a writer whose imagination flares up much like it did for poor A. I. Privalov, depicted above trying to create a a sandwich and a cup of coffee and ending up with a roomful of horrors…

This strange creature surely illustrates the perils of getting stuck mid-metamorphosis!

The Doom Patrol no. 95 (May 1965). Cover by Bob Brown. While transforming into god-knows-what, Dr. Sven Larsen is careful to preserved his impeccably coiffed chevelure. Perhaps he inspired Ted Baxter.

In Return of the Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man, scripted by Arnold Drake and illustrated by Bruno Premiani, the Doom Patrol battle a scientist crazed with power-lust (while dealing with trouble of their own, like being unable to control their powers – it was apparently decided that a scientist who can become anything he likes is not interesting enough).

That this AVM (animal, vegetable, mineral) man decided to transform into an octopus will not surprise regular readers of Tentacle Tuesday: we know that the octopus is the most perfect form there is!

In the rest of the story, AVM also transforms himself into electric eels, tungsten birds, a building-tall neanderthal man, liquid mercury, a grizzly bear, etc., but it’s all a bit of a let-down after the giant octopus, if you ask me.

I’ll continue with this rather evocative cover by Bernie Wrightson, in which we get a preview peek at a gruesome scene just a few seconds before it actually happens.

House of Mystery no. 204 (July 1972). Cover by Bernie Wrightson.

It all starts with a nasty dream of cranberry jelly…

… and ends with an unwelcome transformation of future bride into hungry monster. In this case, a pretty girl is not so much like a melody, but yet another helping of aforementioned cranberry jelly… perhaps I should have kept this story until Christmas.

All in the Family was scripted by Mary Skrenes and Bernie Wrightson; illustrated by Bernie Wrightson.

If this story of transmogrification made your teeth itch, just have a gander at the following histoire d’amour

Captain Marvel no. 40 (September 1975). Cover pencilled by Al Milgrom and inked by Klaus Janson.

No, hold your horses, I’m not implying anything untoward about Captain Marvel. That thing he’s tangled up with is his lover (or should I say ex-lover) Una. Just a little case of demonic possession!

Um, those are not “eyes of wonder”, more like a demented gaze.

Will Captain Mar-vell be able to kill the woman he loves, even if she’s more of a shell inhabited by a tentacled psychic monstrosity, and despite having lost his manhood, whatever that was?

Stay put for the exciting finale of Rocky Mountain ‘Bye! was scripted by Steve Englehart and Al Milgrom, pencilled by Milgrom, and inked by Al McWilliams!

What do we have here? A harmless trick-or-treating kid transformed by Mr. Mxyzptlk into a malefic octopus? It’s business as usual for Superman in this goofy tale (who, incidentally, was the star of Tentacle Tuesday: It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s a Tentacle!) I’m sure most children would relish the opportunity to become an actual ghost or werewolf…

But I am not convinced that anybody would want to be transformed into, err, “Globby”.

Nothing as stylish as an octopus with a digital watch.

These pages were from The Haunting Dooms of Halloween!, scripted by Dan Mishkin, pencilled by Curt Swan and inked by Tony de Zuñiga, published in DC Comics Presents no. 53 (January 1983).

~ ds

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