Today’s Tentacle Tuesday comes courtesy of American Comics Group, which delighted its readers with horror, satire and other strange offerings between 1943 to 1967.
ACG’s Adventures into the Unknown is now recognized as comics’ first continuing horror title. A good variety of horror tropes (though I imagine that back then, the clichés we’re painfully familiar with today weren’t quite as clichéd) , from the amusingly bizarre to the genuinely scary, could be found within its pages: killer puppets, homicidal ghosts, murderous mummies, vicious dinosaur relics, spooky skeletons… and tentacles, of course. Unlike many of its brethren, the series survived the fall-out of the 1954 comic book hearings that were started by the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency, but the title did drop its creepier storylines in favour of goofiness. Not a bad way to go, really, as long as the result is entertaining!
I’d like to welcome you to Tentacle Tuesday by kicking things off with this unnecessarily graphic cover in which somebody’s tentacle is getting lopped off. Note that the she-octopus also has vampire fangs. Beautiful? I wouldn’t go that far… or anywhere near it.
There are five Adventures in the Unknown covers that feature octopuses (or someone’s nightmarish and anatomically ridiculous idea of an octopus, at any rate). We’ve already featured no. 157 (revisit the past here – Nemesis is waiting for you!); the remaining four were published between August and November of 1953 and illustrated by Ken Bald (who drew the covers for issues 21 through to 50). Didn’t he get tired of drawing tentacles? Was it his idea? Did he have nightmares afterwards?
(A little aside: speaking of Mr. Bald, he’s been in the Guinness book of records for a couple of years now, for being the “oldest artist to illustrate a comic book cover”. The comic in question is Contest of Champions no. 2 (2015, Marvel Comics), which he drew at the age of 95.)
I’ll skip no. 48 for now, as its tentacles are plant-like in nature, but onward with the other two!
“Breakthrough!”, the title story, is beautifully illustrated by Harry Lazarus and brimming over with tentacles. Take a peek:
Naturally, there is some tentacle goodness *inside* some issues of Adventures into the Unknown, despite an utter lack of cephalopods on the cover. I’ll give two examples (gracefully scanned by co-admin RG from the collected Adventures into the Unknown: Volume 8, published by PS Artbooks in 2014).
3 thoughts on “Tentacle Tuesday: ACG’s Adventures Into the Tentacles”