Hallowe’en Countdown IV, Day 20

« When the mind is thinking, it is talking to itself. » — Plato

The waning years of the 1950’s marked the beginning of the monster craze, which coincided with Mad Magazine’s ripest period of influence. Here, then, is a publication that sought to capitalize on both occurrences. Alas, chasing fads too eagerly always did land you all-too-promptly in the cultural ditch. Still… Thimk had its moment.

This is Thimk no. 3 (Sept. 1958, Counterpoint). Edited by Alan Whitney, cover by Sam Hayle (1911-1996), who later did a bit of work for Cracked.
This is Thimk no. 4 (Dec. 1958, Counterpoint); cover by Sam Hayle. Elvis finds out first hand how fickle teenyboppers can be, and how a two-year army hitch might as well be an eternity, as far as they’re concerned. Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown!

Thimk was a short-lived (6 issues, 1958-59) would-be Mad, also in the black and white magazine format.

One holiday gleefully bleeds into another… this is Thimk no. 5 (Feb. 1959, Counterpoint). “Free… for 25 cents!”
Thimk no. 5‘s back cover… a well-aimed barb at Viceroy Cigarettes.
And some samples (there were many, many more!) from the object of parody, Viceroy’s The Man Who Thinks for Himself ad campaign. Lookit all them deep thinkers! (Martin Fry, cancer survivor, bottom left)
And it wasn’t to be the last Viceroy parody, either: the brand was also an early Wacky Packages target. This entry hails from Series 1, featuring a rough concept by Art Spiegelman painted by Norman Saunders (1973, Topps).
Heads up, Marlon… some… thing is about to cut in for a dance. Is his date dismayed or delighted? Last call: Thimk no. 6 (May 1959, Counterpoint) was the final issue. Cover art, again, by Sam Hayle.
From Think to Thimk in one easy step. What began as a ubiquitous IBM slogan soon, inevitably, led to parodic counterpunches.
During the late 50s, it spread seemingly everywhere.
Legendary Detroit DJ Paul Winter (station WXYZ) got in on the act early (1957). Here’s a sample, Fallout, featuring Charlie Byrd on guitar!
And of course, the great Steve Ditko took the slogan to heart (and mind), famously making his own sign. I wonder where it is now.

-RG

Hallowe’en Countdown III, Day 3

« Apparently, no one could credit such a grotesque being with any sense of kindliness, and so the wounded monster limped along his way, his hatred of humanity grew in proportion to his size. »

Unleashed upon the world in 1965 by Wonder Books, this generously-illustrated volume of classic adaptations is a collaboration between fellow prolifics Walter Brown Gibson (1897 – 1985), the writer most closely associated with Street & Smith’s The Shadow, and artist Tony Tallarico, a journeyman who produced a bounty of work, as artist and packager, for just about every publisher in the business… save DC and Marvel, and who, upon leaving the mainstream comics field in the mid-1970s carved out a lucrative little niche for himself putting together scads of illustrated books, mostly for children, on just about every subject under the sun.

MonstersTallaricoA

TallaricoDracA
« Dracula’s form had materialized now, His long-nailed fingers were gripping the window bars, and the mist had become a swirl of moths behind him. »

TallaricoHydeA
« The man’s  ugly, fiendish look chilled Enfield, but the crowd threatened the ruffian, who finally said that his name was Hyde… »

Tallarico would, the following year, revisit some of the fiends depicted here for a short-lived but infamous trio of series for Dell: Dracula, Frankenstein and Werewolf. Ah, but don’t be so dour: it’s just light, campy fun.

-RG

Hallowe’en Countdown II, Day 31

« Here, plainly, was a guy for whom cartooning held no mysteries. He was more than a master; he was a virtuoso, a source, an innovator whose style was completely natural and original and flexible enough to embrace dashed-off vulgarity and painstaking elegance, often in the same panel. » — Jim Woodring on Jack Davis

Here we are, coming to the end of our countdown (or count-up, depending on your point of view), and who better to convey the magic of Hallowe’en than the late, great Jack Davis (1924-2016)? Don’t answer that. 😉

DavisMonsterRallyA
Detail from Monster Rally (1959).

A 1959 collection of humorous horror songs by Alice Pearce and Hans Conried, Monster Rally (LPM/LSP-1923) sports a classic Davis painting – blending horror and humor into what amounts to a cutely-weird piece of art. Davis has mentioned that this scene is one he really enjoying doing and that he was quite pleased with. An ad for this album in issues of Famous Monsters of Filmland from back then read:

An insane and fantastically entertaining album featuring Hans Conried and Alice Pearce, singing and screaming ghoulish new songs like ‘Monster Rally’, ‘The Thing‘, ‘The Invisible Man‘, ‘Not of This Earth‘ and others. The album cover by Jack Davis is a masterpiece – suitable for framing.

[ Excerpted from Dick Voll‘s article Just for the Record: The LP Cover Art of Jack Davis (Fanfare no. 5, Summer 1983; edited and published by Bill Spicer). ]

And here are a mittful of extras, since I’m more inclined to treat than to trick on this special day.

DavidHorrorPicsA
« From approximately ’59, Davis did a huge quantity of work for Topps Gum Co. Over the years, he did ‘Funny Monster Cards’, ‘Wanted Posters’, ‘Funny Valentines’, ‘Batty Book Covers’, ‘Wacky Packs’, ‘Silly Stickers’ as well as standard baseball and football tradings cards. » — Hank Harrison, The Art of Jack Davis (1986, Stabur Press). This, incidentally, is one of the ‘Funny Valentines’.

DavisSlimDracA

DavisSlimWolfA
Davis’ classic Slim Jim commercials of the late 1970s. Of course. Can you believe they ran these earlier… with the bold-type, all-caps slogan of WHAT TO SINK YOUR TEETH INTO WHEN YOU’RE HUNGRY AND YOU’RE NOT A WEREWOLF… but sans Davis art? Thankfully, some bright kid at the ad agency saw the opportunity and managed to be convincing enough.

In closing, thanks for bearing with all my divagations through this second edition of WOT’s Hallowe’en Countdown, and let me wish you a most spooky Hallowe’en, one and all!

-RG

Hallowe’en Countdown II, Day 18

« Despite his actions, there is to me a sadness about Dracula, a brooding, withdrawn unhappiness. He is in this world, but he is not of this world. He is a demon, but he is above all a man. » — Christopher Lee, from his foreword.

In 1966, Russ Jones (Creepy Magazine’s founding editor) sold Ballantine Books on an « Illustrated comic strip » (redundant, I know… the term ‘graphic novel’ had yet to be coined) adaptation of Bram Stoker‘s notorious Dracula, first published in 1897. For this purpose, Jones assembled the team of writers Otto Binder and (future The Love Boat scripter) Craig Tennis and illustrator Alden McWilliams (Rip Kirby, work for Warren, Gold Key, Archie and DC).

DraculaJonesA
The story’s opening splash. The choice of Alex Raymond disciple McWilliams to bring visual life to this literary chestnut may not have been a daring one, but it certainly was a solid one.

Dracula01A
Jonathan Harker’s journey ends at Castle Dracula.

Dracula02A
A certain sanguinary nobleman introduces himself.

Dracula03A
A snapshot from The Demeter’s doom-laden journey to England.

Dracula04A
McWilliams has no difficulty in conveying the more… erotic facets of Stoker’s novel.

The book even boasts an introduction by tall, dark and gruesome thespian and classic Dracula portrayer Christopher Lee.

Dracula1966A
Look for this cover at your newsagent’s!

– RG

Hallowe’en Countdown, Day 25

« No, obese one. I am not dead… not in a manner you would comprehend. »

Here we present Luis Angel Dominguez’s (born 1923, Argentina) splendiferous cover painting for Marvel’s Dracula Lives no. 5 (March, 1974). Pure velvety ambiance.

DraculaLives5ORIG

… and the printed version, bogged down with the usual Marvel ’nuff said (as if) hard sell copy. Now you know what you were missing. Sorry about that… it can be disconcerting.

DraculaLives5ATo give credit where credit is due, the colour reproduction is pretty faithful and quite a bit of detail is retained. That hardly ever happened!

– RG