Hallowe’en Countdown II, Day 30

« I hate war, Steve! I hate the people who cause it and I hate them with very atom of my being! So I pretend to respect the enemy, even like him. I try to minimize him with love! » — Gen. Maximillian R. Hart, The Zanti Misfits

Feast your rheumy peepers on Bernard Baily‘s (co-creator, with Jerry Siegel, of The Spectre) famous cover for issue 4 of Gilmore Publications’ Weird Mysteries, April 1953. The cover’s creepy promise was squandered, since Baily’s friendly lil’ fella never appears within the issue.

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This one also contains a classic, though rather thin, Basil Wolverton story, « The Man Who Never Smiled ».
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A few years ago, the cover’s original artwork was auctioned off for the tidily respectable sum of $33,460.00.

It fell to the American Comics Group (ACG) to follow up on the notion, about a year later in the pages of its Forbidden Worlds No.30 (June, 1954) and the cover-featured « The Thing on the Beach! » by the unknown scripter, and artist Harry Lazarus (not the Harry Lazarus, but one of the three Lazarus brothers working in the comics industry in the Golden Age.)

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« It started with brutal murder… until nature decreed a weird revenge! »

Rogers was a right mother from the start, but when his captain had his fill of his homicidal shenanigans, dropping him off on a remote island to cool him off, a funny thing happened. He found nothing in the place save ants, which had made short work of the unlucky goat population and the local flora. So what did the crazy bastard do? He gobbled ants. For weeks. And became a giant ant himself, it follows. You are what you eat, right?

Anyway, Rogers has got to be the most pragmatic villain ever, quite content, in the end, to be The Thing on the Beach!

Which brings me back to where I started: some say (okay, well, I do) that Baily’s WM4 cover may have inspired The Outer Limits’ ultra creepy The Zanti Misfits. Or maybe they’re just oddball products of the same era.

You be the judge.

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One of the carnivorous, Don Knotts-headed creepy crawlies in question. Incidentally, The Zanti Misfits was shot in one of the most popular filming locations of all, Vasquez Rocks. Check out which of your favourites were set there!
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In 2014, the extraordinary William Stout created a series of drawings showcasing some of the most memorable Projects UnlimitedBears” from The Outer Limits.

-RG