Tentacle Tuesday: Mam’zelles in Green and Red

Hello, cephalopod aficionados! I have some lovely tentacles for you today, all wrapped around voluptuous women (my favourite kind of cephalopod content, I admit). There is a lot of ‘that kind of thing’ going on in the rivers of the comic kingdom, but most of it, alas, is distinctly ugly. I have accumulated a few covers not suffering from that particular scourge (quite by accident, most of them use a green-and-red palette), and I invite you to enjoy them with me!

The first is a Judge Dredd cover that had somehow previously escaped my attention, despite WOT’s affection for the former and my personal affection for Judge Anderson (lackaday, ill-handled once out of the hands of creator John Wagner and writer Alan Grant – and preferably drawn by Brian Bolland, of course).

Judge Dredd no. 28 (February 1986, Eagle Comics). Cover by Brian Bolland, a Tentacle Tuesday master. Note that in Bolland’s care, she looks like a determined, intelligent woman in full possession of her faculties, as opposed to this sort of nonsense.

The following cover presumably has something to do with DC’s Star Rovers series, which ran between 1961 and 1964, but I wasn’t able to find more about this particular comic, the company that published it (Comax), or the equally mysterious cover artist, Butch Burcham. A comic-savvy friend described the latter as ‘a low rent Frazetta knock-off artist‘. I have no opinion about that part, but I do like this cover and its lushly coloured maiden with her completely impractical suit.

Star Rovers no. 1 (1990, Comax). Cover by Butch Burcham.

Next up a contribution from Dan Brereton, whose work has already been part of several previous Tentacle Tuesdays.

L.E.G.I.O.N. ’92 no. 41 ( July 1992, DC). Cover by Dan Brereton.

In a ‘something completely different‘ vein, I’d much rather get Red Sonja drawn in a very cartoony style, rather than in a ‘realistic’, trying-to-show-boobs-and-ass-simultaneously one. (I dig voluptuous women, but not. ones. with. a. spine. deformation.) For instance…

Red Sonja no. 12 (September 2014, Dynamite). This variant cover is by Stephanie Buscema, an American illustrator specializing in Hallowe’en art.

Finally, we have a surprisingly tasteful (albeit a bit stiff – so would you be, barely perching at the very edge of a chair like that), girl-next-door Vampi cover. And look, she actually has enough space for internal organs! I like that the tentacles seem like a friendly presence, almost guarding her (as opposed to getting a quick grope in). In case you want more Vampirella, head over to Tentacle Tuesday: Warren and Its Many Tentacles, Part II.

Vampirella: Feary Tales no. 3 (December 2014, Dynamite). Variant cover by David Roach.

Pip pip cheerio and toodle-loo, and see you next week!

~ ds

Hallowe’en Countdown IV, Day 30

« The world will come to an end, but the monster models will still be around. » — James Bama, who went on to paint artwork for over twenty of Aurora’s kit boxes.

Well-executed comic book ads were often just as enticing (and sometimes more, depending on the title) as the contents proper. A prime example, this lovely Aurora Monster Kit campaign, announcing the epochal model maker’s forays out of the Universal ménagerie of misunderstood fiends with Toho’s Godzilla and RKO’s King Kong.

The first Aurora monster model advertisement, it appeared in various DC Comics titles dated November and December, 1963.
The ad ran on the back cover of various DC titles in late 1964. In this case, House of Secrets no. 69 (Dec. 1964). The artwork is almost certainly that of Mr. Murphy Anderson, who goes uncredited, but is betrayed by the characteristic finesse of his inking.
A couple of the models that usually received considerably less attention got their turn in the spotlight in this ad that appeared on the back cover of select DC titles cover-dated October, 1965.

Incidentally, if you were wondering, indeed, the giant monsters cost more… 50 cents more. A bunch more empty bottles to collect, son.

In the late ’60s, a new twist was added: phosphorescence! A cool idea, it however made painting the models, a tricky task to begin with, even less rewarding, as opacity was a bitch to achieve. It worked okay if you had mostly light-coloured The Mummy, but otherwise… This advert appeared on the back cover of DC Comics dated October, 1969… and thereabouts.
The Spring, 1970 collection.
Here’s where Aurora’s close business relationship with Warren Magazines became most evident, with the appearance of a Vampirella model kit. Controversy ensued, once moms caught a glimpse of Junior’s new model kit, the heirloom of his bedroom. Speaking of controversy, Vampirella’s quip about New York was likely a barb about the infamous Kitty Genovese case. This pitch showed up in various DC titles, again, in and around June, 1971.

Warren sold a lot of Aurora kits via his mail order business, and a decision was made to include his character in the line rather than risk dissolving a partnership. Unpainted, she appeared to be virtually naked. Her counterpart, the Victim, sported hot pants and a halter top; a dress or flowing skirt was deemed impractical in order to have her fit on the torture rack. [ source ]

This beautifully-designed ad showed up in October, 1971 DC titles.
At this point, the diluted message is a hint that the bloom is off the rose. An ad from November, 1971.
As a bonus, here’s Big Frankie, the seldom-seen, long-unavailable Aurora grail (until its relatively recent reissue). As the largest Aurora model of all, BF fetched, at the time, an astronomical $4.98; now it goes for a hundred smackers, so don’t complain. Take a look at the big fella!

Though the original Aurora issues of these classic kits are mostly rare as hen’s teeth, enterprising contemporary kit companies have reissued these babies, and you now can actually afford to free the monsters from the confines of their box and assemble and paint ‘em. Mint in Box? Pfui!

– RG

Tentacle Tuesday: “She was asking for it!”

You know how women aren’t advised to go out after dark, or to go to parties in revealing clothing because they might get raped and/or murdered? (This is purely a comic blog and we play nice, so I’m not developing that line of thought any further.) In the comic world, until relatively recently, that sort of thing couldn’t really be shown, but aren’t tentacles a rather handy stand-in for more realistic (and far scarier) violence? The only point I wish  to state is that a woman can’t even go for a fucking walk without encountering tentacles. Swimming? Just forgetaboutit. Sitting quietly on a log? As long as you’re female, the tentacles will still find you, it scarcely matters whether you’re clad in a swimsuit, a gunny sack, or a parka. If the monster finds you a tad overdressed, it will just rip your clothing off – problem solved!

Blackstone no. 1 (Fall 1947, EC). Blackstone, Master Magician was created in 1946 by Elmer Cecil Stoner (1897-1969; one of the first black comic book artists!) for Vital Publications. The comic had a remarkably short life – one issue published by EC Comics (the one you’re currently looking at), and three more issues published by Timely. Somehow this was enough to spawn a radio series that aired from 1948 to 1950.

Stoner, who worked for a plethora of golden age companies (Timely, Fawcett, EC, Dell…) attracted some pretty heavy criticism in recent years. « Stoner’s drawing is the visual equivalent of fingernails scraped across a slate, and whenever he had a chance to botch the perspective, the composition, or even the inking, he did so with brio », opines Ron Goulart in his Great History of Comic Books. One could make the point that the above cover demonstrates this: the characters seem to be floating, not connected at all with one another or the landscape. However, whatever one thinks of his art, it has to be admitted even by the staunchest critic that Stoner was a pioneer who carved out a path for other African-American artists.

« On December 16, 1969, Elmer Stoner passed away. Since then he has been largely forgotten by the comic book industry and overlooked as a trailblazer. He was no Jackie Robinson, his presence in the comic industry didn’t alter its course. He did, however, pave the path for Al Hollingsworth, Matt Baker, Ezra Jackson, Cal Massey and for every African-American artist who followed. Stoner’s life is worthy of further exploration and his story deserving of wider recognition. He should not remain invisible. » |source, an article by Ken Quattro that’s well worth reading!|


« Miriam and Hester were insane. They took the severed head of a dead man, and sewed it back onto his body. Then, they stripped away their clothes and conjured up a demon! » As usual, Vampirella stories make perfect sense. The Nameless Ravisher, scripted by Flaxman Loew and drawn by Leopold Sanchez, was published in Vampirella no. 40 (March 1975, Warren). Flaxman Loew, by the way, was the somewhat ridiculous nom-de-plume of British Mike Butterworth. His stories seemed to get criticized a lot in the letters’ section, so maybe he deliberately picked a moniker guaranteed to be misspelled. One thing’s for certain – he had a vicious streak, qualified by a fan as a “fizzy, nasty run”. Read the full issue here, if you must; I can’t recommend it.

Thank you for underlining the VIOLATING in the narration, Mr. Script Writer (what can you expect out of a man named Flaxman Loew?) – otherwise we would have never figured it out. This story also contains awe-inspiring quotes like « Vampirella! Rend her! Rip her! Now! », and « the water comes… and comes… ravishment by water…! »


You know how I said that swimming is not recommended unless you want a tentacular encounter? Do keep that in mind, especially with summer just around the bend:

Alpha Flight no. 14 (Marvel, September 1984). Cover by John Byrne. Co-admin RG would like to inform everyone that Lake Ontario is not teal-coloured. I’d rather take my chances with the octopus rather than be rescued by that horrible-looking man, but that’s just me (or Byrne’s so-called art).

A closer look at Heather’s rescuer:


Puck is a dwarf, okay, but why does it seem like Byrne has never seen an actual dwarf in his life?

A page from « Biology Class », scripted and drawn by John Byrne. So why doesn’t the athletically-minded Puck jump into the water instead of Heather? She tells him not to: « Stop! You know you can’t swim worth spit! » (Err…?)  Is it just me, or do the “deep and dark waters of Lake Ontario” look like a swimming pool?


O, cute Demi with your gleaming hooves, beware of the quiet before the (sexy) storm! Demi the Demoness no. 2 (1993, Rip Off Press). The cover is by Demi’s Canadian creator, Steven S. Crompton.

Crompton’s art is not *great*, but it has definite charm: somewhat childlike and proudly cartoony, it underlines Demi’s innocence perfectly, her huge puppy eyes beckoning to the reader while she gets ravished by yet another toothy monster, well-endowed Pegasus, or frisky cat goddess. And I don’t mean to make it sound like she’s lying back and thinking of England, either – in most cases, she’s an enthusiastic participant in the sexy shenanigans.

« Over 35 different Demi the Demoness comics have been published. Numerous artists and authors have worked on Demi comics over the years, including Frank Brunner, Tim Vigil, Seppo Makinen, Philo, Ryan Vella, Gus Norman, Enrico Teodorani, Silvano, Diego Simone, Jay Allen Sanford, and many others. Demi has appeared in numerous comics crossovers with other characters, including Shaundra, Captain Fortune, Mauvette, Vampirooni, Cassiopeia the Witch, Djustine, Crimson Gash, and adult film stars Tracey Adams, Tabitha Stevens, Deja Sin, and Bonnie Michaels.» |source|

Page from « The cumming of Lamasthu », published in Demi the Demoness no. 4 (1994, Rip Off Press). Art by Steven S. Crompton.

Page from « The Cumming of Lamasthu », published in Demi the Demoness no. 4 (1994, Rip Off Press). Art by Steven S. Crompton.

You can read a dozen Demi issues on My Hentai Comics… the link is very much not safe for work, unless you work for a sex-obsessed Lord Cthulhu or something. But I can guaran-damn-tee a lot of tentacles!


Cadillacs and Dinosaurs no. 2 (March 1994, Topps). Cover by Dick Giordano, who shouldn’t have been let anywhere near Mark Schultz’ characters. I see the lizard has decided to photobomb this romantic scene (the skeleton guy is clearly about to drop Felicia into the murky swamp water.. that’s teal-coloured for some reason… hardly swampy!)

Inside, we get Blood and Bones, Part II: Swamp Things (scripted by Roy Thomas and drawn by Dick Giordano), a Mœbius 2-pager, a couple of pages of captioned Schultz dinosaur illustrations, and – just in time to save this issue from being thoroughly dreadful – Sailor, Take Warning!, scripted by Roy Thomas and drawn by Steve Stiles.

See? Definitely tentacles. Every self-respected brain has ’em.

Felicia’s pose looks distinctly unnatural, but she’s doing a good job of letting everyone know she has an impressive bust (a girl has priorities, even while unconscious). Giordano doesn’t seem to know that human hands curl up when at rest.

You know what Blood and Bones, Part II: Swamp Things has, aside from a suspiciously blue and limpid swamp? Dinosaurs. More specifically a T-Rex skeleton controlled by a brain with tentacles, who’s actually the father of one of the characters! It takes a Roy Thomas to cobble up such classic plots.

Maybe, instead of Brainosaurus Rex, he should have been called Daddysaurus, or maybe even Papasaurus Rex?

Read the issue here.

I hope I have impressed upon you the absolute necessity of caution when taking a stroll – whether your path lies next to a large body of water or leads through a forest. Above all, do not perch on a log when you need a rest, or lean against a tree. Hanging out with magicians is also not recommended.

Until next Tentacle Tuesday, I remain tentacularily yours…

~ ds

Tentacle Tuesday: Warren and Its Many Tentacles, Part II

Greetings, tentacle lovers! I’m here with a new batch of Warren-published tentacles – this time, some he-men macho types get tangled up in them, though damsels predominate as usual. Don’t forget to visit part I: Tentacle Tuesday: Warren and Its Many Tentacles.

One thing that can easily be generalized from tentacular covers is that women frequently have a lot more fun on them than their male counterparts. To wit:

Vampirella no. 39 (January 1975). Cover by Ken Kelly. The gal may not be Vampirella, but damn, she’s enjoying herself. I admit that having tentacle-shaped fingers would be… practical.


As for poor Vampi, she seems to encounter tentacles wherever she goes.

Vampirella no. 62 (August 1977), cover by Spanish artistEnrich, whose real name was Enrique Torres-Prat.

The cover story, Starpatch Quark & Mother Blitz (scripted by Bill DuBay and illustrated by Jose Gonzalez), contains some spectacular, spiky, nasty tentacles.

I tried saying « prasptam… hoodjum… billigam… POOT! », but no tentacled creature materialized. How very disappointing. I’d also like to know what kind of slap makes a « SPAKKT! » noise.

The non-librarian girl in question is Vampi. Her eyeballs get ripped out by some vengeful queen and get accidentally conjured onto the desk of some random girl with an abusive husband, during which time blind, suffering Vampi is kidnapped by aliens while a handsome youth uses his father’s psychic connection with Vampi’s eyes to watch through them as they are retrieved by a tentacled monster, and… oh, never mind. Go read the story yourself.


The original cover art of Vampirella no. 105 (May 1982), painted by Enrich. It was printed much darker, so one can barely see tentacles. Fuck that, I say! Let us admire the green creature in its full glory! (And its unfortunate slight family resemblance to Jabba the Hutt…) His gaze seems to be appraising Vampirella – “hm, I wonder if she would be as tasty a snack as she looks?”

The printed version of said issue.

The cover story sounds like fun… let’s take a peek.

I’m sorry, but that is not what “Blobs and Behemoths” made me think of. I was expecting something in the class of Cthulhu, not an overweight human walrus with tentacles! Panel from “Horrors of Heartache City”, scripted by Bill DuBay and illustrated by Jose Gonzales (apparently this team specializes in tentacles).

« You’re worried that little Orphee is thinking of making a meal of that luscious girl…? He’s turned down everything from the choicest prime rib to the slimiest of insects, which leads me to believe that he filters nourishment from the very air! »


So much for scientific theories.


I think I promised you some men fighting tentacles. Sigh, so be it.

Eerie no. 66 (June 1975), cover by Manuel Sanjulian.

Eerie no. 111 (June 1980), cover by Ken Kelly. What’s scarier than an old wizard with a majestic beard whipping in the wind? An old wizard whose head is attached to tentacles, obviously.

1994 no. 19 (June 1981), cover by Jordi Penalva. I am totally fascinated by the girl’s expression. Whatever the tentacles behind her are doing, they’re doing it right. As for the guy, he looks like a sanctimonious asshole, from his scowl to his hairy legs.

I had to know what the hell is “The Holy Warrior” about. “Godless commie heathens”? Oh, very subtle, 1994. Given the mention of kicking the living crud out of ’em, it’s tempting to assume that this is satire… unless the author has an amputated sense of humour. I couldn’t find any scans of the story online, but someone on a Very Creepy Blog kindly summarized it as:

“Third is “The Holy Warrior!” by Delando Niño (art) and John Ellis Sech & Bill DuBay (story). This story takes place in a future where there are Jesus clones. Our hero, the Holy Warrior, is seeking to rescue one, which is just a child, from communist enemies. He is able to do so, but the two of them are so hungry that he ends up killing the clone and eating him! Quite a bizarre and heretical ending for this story.”

And I thought that Vampi story was written by someone on drugs. Same author, mind you (Bill DuBay) – there’s definitely a pattern… of nonsense, balderdash and malarkey.

By the way, you can read a bunch of Warren publications online – for free! – here.

~ ds

Tentacle Tuesday: Warren and Its Many Tentacles

Welcome to Tentacle Tuesday! Today’s edition features beautifully painted covers from series published by Warren, and oh boy oh boy, are there are a lot of tentacles to be found there! To borrow a title from the first cover we’ll be ogling today, “THE SLIMY, CRAWLY SLITHERING GROPIES DO TERRIBLE THINGS TO PRETTY LITTLE GIRLS!” It’s a tad lacking in subtlety, but summarizes the state of things quite nicely.

On with the show…

1994 no. 12 (April 1980). The cover was painted by Sanjulián (his real name is Manuel Pérez Clemente), a Spanish painter who started working for Warren publishing in 1970. The girl’s demure pose coupled with her terrified eyes is quite striking.

1994 no. 20 (August 1981). Cover by Nestor Redondo, an exceptional Filipino artist.

I wouldn’t expect cephalopods to care for patriarchal, machismo standards of female purity, but apparently Lecherous Groatie (great nickname) wants his maidens virginous (which isn’t even a word, you guys). “Little Beaver!”, you say? Way to go in being offensive to both tentacled creatures *and* Indians. This issue also contains the story “The Russians Are Coming… All Over America!”, a title which I, for one, find hilarious.

1994 no. 25 (June 1982). Cover by Lloyd Garrison. Aaah, a rare silent cover. It’s clear enough: Ukranian Santa will surely rescue the maiden, if he doesn’t get too distracted by her ass or Chinese-takeout container-inspired undergarment.

Leaving 1994 behind (although technically we’re going back in time), and moving on to Eerie, we get to tentacles that look like worms coming out of a lumpy, squishy brain – the joy of any good anatomical pathologist.

Eerie no. 76 (August 1976). The cover the aforementioned Sanjulián, who has quite the talent for painting extremely realistic textures, as demonstrated by this rather unsettling cover.

One understands the guy’s desperate attempts to get free, but why is the woman so placid, serenely exposing herself to the creature’s grasp? I guess Tentacle Tuesday doesn’t have the same effect on everyone. Interestingly, Sanjulián seems to have tweaked his art  for the cover – here’s his original painting, in which the girl’s face is clearly visible.


Let’s visit good old Vampi and see what sort of cephalopod encounters she’s had.

Vampirella no. 101 (December 1981); art by Noly Panaligan (who, by the way, is another Filipino artist).

The tentacled creature in question is the “star-beast” advertised on the cover – an alien (suspiciously similar to an octopus) who, as usual, tries to take over the earth by breeding (which for some reason involves a lot of nude & nubile college students as sacrifices) and is killed when Vampirella crashes a car into it. Starting on an epic, inter-planetary scale and ending it all with a banal road accident is a bit of an anti-climax.

Is this Vampirella’s last encounter with tentacles, you ask? Don’t be silly – of course not. As the Russians say, « and yet again the little hare will go out for a walk. »

Vampirella no. 95 (April 1981), cover by Ken Kelly. “O Mr. Walrus-with-tentacles, please don’t hurt little old me!”

More? Well, okay, one last cover.

Creepy no. 67 (December 1974), cover by Ken Kelly (not one of his better efforts, to be honest). We’ll return to sweet ol’ Bowser on another occasion.

Could I continue? Yes, absolutely… so expect Tentacle Tuesday: Warren part 2 at some point.

~ ds

Blink-and-you-miss-it: Terrance Lindall, Warren cover artiste

« How do I get myself in these situations? »

As the close of the 1970s neared, James Warren‘s magazine empire was inexorably crumbling. I like to imagine that it was decided, in desperation, that a little fiddling was in order… just a smidgen. Some enlightened soul (my pick is new editor Chris Adames) got the notion to bring on board Terrance Lindall (1944-) to produce some covers for the magazines. He painted a mere five, but made each one memorable, to say the least, evoking justified comparisons to Matt Fox, Lee Brown Coye, sans oublier the venerable Hiëronymus Bosch.

Well, then, let us bask in the comforting, bucolic visions of Terry Lindall at Warren, in their order of publication. Makes you want to pack a picnic lunch and go for a leisurely ramble through the countryside with your faithful Hound of Tindalos.

Creepy no. 108 (June, 1979.)

Eerie no. 103 (August, 1979.)

Creepy no. 116 (March, 1980.)

What do you know? Terrance Lindall actually manages to make perennial fanboy wankbait Vampi look downright classy. This is Vampirella no. 86 (April, 1980.)

And all too soon, it’s over, with Creepy no. 127 (May, 1981.)

Oh, how Creepy’s long-time readers must have wailed and moaned at these singular, quease-inducing mise-en-scènes! “Bring back Boris Vallejo!”

Nowadays, Lindall earns his keep as co-director and chief administrator of the Williamsburg Art and Historical Center in Brooklyn, New York. Doesn’t he just perfectly look the part?


The new kid’s mini-bio, as it appeared in Creepy 108 (June, 1979).

If you’re craving more Lindall visions, who am I to discourage you? Slide on over to http://www.escapeintolife.com/artist-watch/terrance-lindall/