Hallowe’en Countdown V, Day 25

« Swing your razor wide! Sweeney, hold it to the skies! » — Stephen Sondheim

Variations on a theme: The entirely reasonable dread of the straight razor.

First there was this Lee Elias cover that…

Actually, no. Before that, there arose the idea in art director Warren Kremer‘s ever-effervescent mind:

One of Kremer’s surviving preliminary sketches.
Then there was this one, more refined and with wonderful suggestions, instructions and notions addressed to the assigned cover artist, Lee Elias.
Ah, here we are. The final (in more ways than one!) version. This is Chamber of Chills Magazine no. 18 (July 1953, Harvey). Art by Lee Elias… but you know that’s not the entire process. Check out this earlier Hallowe’en post for more of that magical Kremer-Elias collaboration.

Then, one year on…

… appeared this cover entry by Québécois Joseph Michel Roy aka Mike Roy (inks likely provided by George Roussos). This is The Unseen no. 15 (July 1954, Pines), the series’ final issue. To give credit where it’s due, the death’s head reflection is a cute new wrinkle.

More than two decades down the road, Marvel, since they were already borrowing Harvey’s Chamber of Chills title (did they even ask? I wonder), figured they may as well reenact one of its classic covers.

Say, what’s this about the day’s first shave? … is there shaving after death? Hassles, hassles.

Though most would nowadays call upon electric shavers or disposable plastic razors, I presume that straight razors have made a comeback among the hipster set. Still, a niche is hardly universal.

This is Chamber of Chills no. 22 (May, 1976, Marvel). Pencils by Larry Lieber, raised on high by the masterly inks of Tom Palmer, who, not content with being one of the all-time finest ink slingers, was also an excellent colourist.

As a bonus, here’s one on the general topic by the immortal Chas Addams. It appeared in The New Yorker in 1957, then was reprinted later that year in his solo collection Nightcrawlers (Simon and Schuster). For more of that excellently-morbid Addams mirth, amble over to this earlier spotlight from our Hallowe’en Countdown’s initial edition.

Most modern reprints of Addams cartoons I’ve seen tend to be on the washed out, blurry side, so I’m grateful to have my ancient volumes of his work. Feast your weary peepers on this fine vintage!


6 thoughts on “Hallowe’en Countdown V, Day 25

  1. Krackles October 26, 2021 / 16:38

    That comicbook cover by Lee Elias is a terrific thing of beauty if I may say so…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Krackles October 29, 2021 / 06:59

    I get a “Jack Davis” vibe from that “The Unseen” comic. This is my first encounter with Mike Roy’s art so I checked out more of his work online and was a little surprised as he seemed to lean more towards the Milton Caniff School of Art.
    A strong craftman whatever his influences, thank you for the discovery.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Krackles October 29, 2021 / 07:08

    Lee Elias’ original art for “Chamber of Chills #18” sold for $9.000.00 on Heritage.com.
    Now, I feel so jealous…


    • gasp65 October 29, 2021 / 11:25

      Hey, at least it survived through all those ensuing decades and, thanks to Heritage’s quality scan, we can admire Elias’ brushwork to our heart’s delight… without having to shell out several thousand clams!


      • Krackles October 30, 2021 / 07:35

        Sure, I’m still drooling in front of the scan but I’m feeling jealous anyway 😉


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s