Tentacle Tuesday: Horror and Humour Walk Tentacle in Tentacle

Tuesdays sure roll around quickly, but that’s okay – another week, another fresh batch of prehensile, slimy tentacles for our enjoyment.  I’ll open Tentacle Tuesday with an “oldie but goodie”. (Speaking of that, I have an irrational pet peeve: comic shop owners who, upon seeing a customer carefully clutching a stack of 70s comics he meticulously unearthed from a grimy comic box stashed in the darkest corner of the store, say, with a slightly condescending grin, “oh, you’ve found some oldies!” The comment is no doubt well-intentioned, but there are nicer ways to start the conversation.)
Monster_Octopus_II-icon

And a-one

First on the list for today is this painted beauty by Pat Boyette, from Haunted no. 19, December 1974. Just look at those shiny, healthy tentacles – just the kind to gently grab your ankle and drag you into murky waters. Their diaphanous keeper doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, either.

 

This issue is worth picking up for more than its cover. It remains excellent when one opens its pages: there are three stories, and they’re all worthwhile – the beautiful “The Unholy!” by Pete Morisi (PAM! PAII!) (written by his son, Steve Morisi, and therefore unfortunately not making a lick of sense), the moody “There Ain’t No Hell!” by Sanho Kim and Joe Gill, and, the cherry on the cake (and story on the cover), the quietly-elegant-but-with-tentacles “The Keeper”, illustrated by Boyette (and also written by Joe Gill).

HauntedPayBoyetteTentacles
“You bawled me out many a time for not feeding your pets, your lordship… this time, they’ll feast!”

And a-two

Just like octopuses (who eat small crabs and scallops, as well as snails, fish, turtles, crustaceans, and of course other octopuses), I like a little variety in my diet, so number 2 is humorous rather than scary. How did this octopus manage to figure out which of its tentacles to stick into shorts? Who’s the happy little slug with chickenpox holding up letter “A”? Why does an octopus have beaver teeth?

HaHa66A

This is Ha Ha Comics no. 66 (Jun – Jul 1949), published by American Comics Group, or more technically Creston, an imprint of ACG. This seems to be a rather rare issue, unavailable on Comic Book Plus although they have pretty much every other issue of Ha Ha. Thanks to an Ebayer selling this comic, however, I can state with some degree of certainly that this issue features – as advertised – an all-star cast, featuring not only the habitués Izzy and Dizzy (a pair of trouble-prone mice), but also Anthony & Cleopatra, the Impulsive Imps, Robespierre, Hard-Hearted Hannah, Wigglin’ Willie the Worm and Shilly and Shally. Doesn’t it all sound like some sort of battle of the bands? As for the artist of the cover, it’s Dan Gordon, storyboard artist and film director mostly known for his work at Famous Studios and Hanna-Barbera Productions – he did quite a few “funny animals” titles for ACG.

Monster_Octopus_II-icon

And a-three!

T.T. number 3 is colourful. It also leads to the question “vegetable, mineral or animal?” These tentacles seem to be rather plant-like… if plants had eyeballs attached by blood vessels.

Judging by the adventures of Space Family Robinson, most planets are inhabited by aliens with tentacles. One would think that they’d be very well prepared for this eventuality (not to mention kind of bored by it), but no, the tentacles always take them by surprise.

SpaceFamilyRobinson
Apart from tentacles, this has some of my other favourite things: a pterodactyl (or at least some creature approximating a pterodactyl), a vibrant sunset, and eyeballs.

This is the back cover of Space Family Robinson no. 9 (Gold Key/Western, August 1964), which is just like the front cover minus the text. Painted by George Wilson, who has a nice sense of colour. (Hurray for saturated colours in this sepia-and-grey or orange-and-teal world.)

In the beginning,
oh, long before that.
When light was deciding who should be in and who should be out of the spectrum,
Yellow was in trouble.
Even then it seems that green, you know how green can be, didn’t want yellow in.
Some silly primal envy I suppose, but for whatever cause,
the effect was bad on yellow.
And caused yellow to weep yellow tears for several eternals, before there were years.
Until blue heard what was up between green and yellow
and took green aside for a serious talk,
in which blue pointed out
that if yellow and blue were to get together,
not that they would, but if they did (a gentle threat),
they could make their own green.
“Ooh”, said green with some understanding.
Naturally, by a sudden change of hue, green saw the light and yellow got in.
Worked out fine,
yellow got lemons and green got limes.*

~ ds

*Ken Nordine, Yellow

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