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