Tentacle Tuesday: Mechanical Tentacles

Mechanical tentacles! Cephalopod monsters communicating by mental telepathy! Even Jimmy Olsen playing the part of a monster in an alien horror movie! Yes, it’s all this and more in this Tentacle Tuesday post (after which I’ll quit bugging you with various cephalopods until next Tuesday).

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There’s nothing quite as annoying as someone who wants to be your friend against your wishes. Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen no. 43 (March 1960), pencils by Curt Swan and inks by Stan Kaye.

Head over to the Fourth Age blog for a further discussion (with pictures!) of the cover story from this issue, “Jimmy Olsen’s Private Monster!”, written by Jerry Siegel (ahem…) and illustrated by the aforementioned Curt Swan (pencils) and John Forte (inks).

The two-eyed, many-tentacled mechanized wonder appears again in Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen no. 47 (September 1960):

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It’s the same cast: pencils by Curt Swan and inks by Stan Kaye; letters by Ira Schnapp.
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Freaking cute.

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In a similar line of thought (but some 15 years later), a more steampunk relative of the creature above appears in Swamp Thing.

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Swamp Thing no. 17 (July-August 1975). In case the credits are too small to read, script by David Michelinie, pencils and inks by Nestor Redondo, colours by Tatjana Wood, letters by Marcos Pelayos.

And here’s a peek at the glorious (I’m a fan of Redondo) inside:

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« But destroying that thing doesn’t answer the questions it brought up… like what a stainless-steel octopus is doing in the middle of a jungle… » That’s an excellent question – but destroying this mechanized, tentacled abomination was still a good idea, answers or no.

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Here’s another file for our records of Tentacular fascination: the Boy Commandos’ intrepid gang of feisty moppets, tired of fighting Nazis, switch it up by doing battle with some tentacled robots.

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Boy Commandos no. 17 (September-October 1946). Cover by Jack Kirby.

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I couldn’t very well have a mechanically-minded Tentacle Tuesday without mentioning Dr. Octopus, one of Spider-Man’s most famous foes! Otto Gunther Octavius, a.k.a. Dr. Octopus, a.k.a. Doc Ock was created by Steve Ditko, and first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man no. 3 (July 1963). Obviously I could feature a gallery of Dr. Octopus tentacles as long as your arm (pardon the confused anatomical terminology on my part), but I’ll limit myself to a couple.

First, The Amazing Spiderman no. 12 (May 1964), cover by Steve Ditko. The “Look who’s back!!” caption pointing to the Doc is rather mystifying, given that he was there in the previous issue.

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Second, an underwater scene, because what element more appropriate for tentacles? Kudos to Doc Ock for making his perfectly watertight.

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JFC, does this guy ever shut up? Especially given that Spiderman can’t even hear him? Splash (no pun intended) page from The Amazing Spider-Man Annual no. 1 (September 1964), with art by Steve Ditko.

Dr. Octopus’ metallic appendages, resistant to radiation and of great strength and agility, were originally attached to a harness…. but became fused to his body after an explosion involving radioactivity (what else?) They were surgically removed, but he could now control them telepathically from a distance. Spooky.

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Poor Spider-Man is always getting attacked by tentacles, even when Doc Ock isn’t around! These belong to a robot built by a “nutty professor” to trap anything spider-related. A prize will go to the perceptive reader who can tell us how many tentacles this thing possesses – like, a million, would be my guess. The Amazing Spider-Man no. 25 (June 1965); cover by Steve Ditko.
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Smythe’s robot in action, ensnaring Parker instead of the spider he’s holding in a globe (and nobody but us readers knows why!) J. Jonah Jameson, publisher of Daily Bugle, watches enthusiastically from the sidelines.
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Okay, maybe the robot doesn’t have as many tentacles as the cover seemed to suggest. Here’s Spidey hotly pursued by Mr. Jameson, whose maniacal glee is a little scary. (I will readily admit I partially chose this panel because of Parker’s jiggly butt).

~ ds

“I’m sixty-three now, but that’s just 17 Celsius”*: Happy Birthday, Stephen Bissette!

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A panel from « Return of the Swamp Beast! », story by Jane and Bob (RL) Stine, art by Stephen R. Bissette, originally published in Weird Worlds no. 3 (Oct. 1979, Scholastic.) This is the colour version from the one-shot Bissette & Veitch’s Fear Book (April, 1986, Eclipse.) Colours by Brendan McDonough.

Ah, that old Earth’s taken another whirl, and so today, the wonderful Stephen Bissette, that most erudite master of terror *and* one of the truest, most steadfast gentlemen the medium has known, observes another birthday. He first breached this plane of existence in the wilds of Vermont some sixty-odd years ago today, on March 14, 1955. Let’s wish him all the best, shall we?

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The original art of this silk-spewing splash was reportedly acquired, by proxy, by erstwhile Calvin Klein Jeans model Brooke Shields. I like to envision it occupying a place of honour in the dining room of her favourite mansion. Or perhaps in the bedroom, right above the headboard?

This is from Saga of the Swamp Thing no. 19 (December, 1983, DC.) Quite respectably co-plotted and scripted by Martin Pasko (with Mr. Bissette), this predates epochal game-changer The Anatomy Lesson, but the Bissette/Totleben dream combo was already scorching eyeballs, en attendant Mr. Alan Moore’s accession.

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Newlyweds Rich and Jamie meet this dusty fellow, for the first and final time, in Egyptian Graffiti, story by Jane and Bob Stine, art by Stephen R. Bissette, originally published in Weird Worlds no. 2 (March 1979, Scholastic), also collected in Bissette & Veitch’s Fear Book , with colours by Michele Wrightson.

-RG

*George Carlin may have said that, or something to that effect. Who knows, these days?