Purple Tentacle Tuesday

Greetings. Today’s theme: purple tentacles! (No, that’s not a euphemism.)

First up on our list is this beauty of an octopus, the Octo Rod.

This intrepid purple fella is part of Topps’ 1980 series, Weird Wheels, which had 55 cards in all. The credit for the gorgeous artwork is split between Norman Saunders and Gary Hallgren; nobody’s quite sure which artist worked on which card, and whether Saunders actually painted the images himself, or just retouched paintings by somebody else.

Sadly, Weird Wheels just didn’t sell all that well, so you can still purchase them for fairly cheap today. You can see the whole set here (and please do feast your eyes on them, they’re quite stunning).)

Octo Rod is no. 21, 1980. The art is by Gary Hallgren, at least according to David Saunders, Norman Saunders’ son.

Speaking of David Saunders and his dad, here’s a quote from “Norman Saunders” (a book written by David in 2009):

« In 1980, at the age of 73, with failing eyesight, cataracts, and advanced emphysema, Norman Saunders defied doctor’s orders and went back to work on one last card set. Weird Wheels are painted with full control of his creative powers, but with a morbid humor that reflects his attitude towards mortality. When reprimanded by his son for risking his life on low paying work, the artist said, ‘It’s fun! I gotta keep working! What the hell else am I gonna do?!‘ »

Saunders passed away in 1989, at 82, after a remarkably prolific and varied career.

Moving on, here’s a thrilling scene of purple tentacles vs Nemesis:

This is ACG’s Adventures Into the Unknown no. 157 (June-July 1965). The cover is by Kurt Schaffenberger (who signed as Jay Kafka here). “Case of the Tittering Texan” sounded intriguing – I figured that the Texan was being tickled by a tentacle – but no, he’s just a stuttering, crazy, power-hungry villain in a cowboy hat and spurs. Same old, same old…

I would also like to mention that Nemesis *is* wearing pants (well, shorts, at any rate), but his costume is still gosh-darned stupid. You try wearing a hood under water and see how far it gets you. I’m normally a fan of ACG‘s Adventures, but Nemesis is by no means a favourite character of mine.

Further developing the theme of violaceous violence, here’s another:

« Giant squid, giant water rats! Are we in New York, or are we on Mars? Down here, it’s hard to tell! » Ghostly Haunts no. 31, April 1973, cover by Jack Abel.

“Sewer Patrol”, the cover story, is also illustrated by Abel, with an excellent script by Nicola Cuti – it’s a story about people who dump their pets (and still-alive food) when they don’t want them anymore… and where and how these pets end up. (The answer to that, of course, is “mutated, gigantic and in the sewers.”)

~ ds

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