Tuesday, November 13, 2012
TONY’S BACK PAGES: CRIME DOES NOT PAY
Dark Horse has been reprinting the earliest issues of the legendary
Crime Does Not Pay (see yesterday’s bloggy thing). But my equally
legendary Vast Accumulation of Stuff recently yielded an issue from
the last year of the title’s 13-year run.
Crime Does Not Pay #141 [January 1955] is very different from those
earlier issues. The cover has a dedication to “all law officers in
our war against crime!” Publisher Lev Gleason and producer Charles
Biro are credited on the cover, but editor Bob Wood’s name was no
longer there. A few years later, Wood would go to jail for killing
his lover in drunken rage, but I suspect his bad habits had already
made him a less-than-desirable contributor to the title.
The cover is less busy and much less violent than the early covers.
The criminals are depicted as confused and fearful. No glamorizing
them in 1955. Not with the outcry against comic books in general
and crime and horror comics in specific.
Inside the issue, the stories and art are also far tamer. Deaths
rarely occur on stage...with one of the rare exceptions being a
rooftop battle in “The Violent Saga of the Ambitious Hank Dorish.”
The writing and art are competent but determinedly subdued. Save
for a story drawn by Joe Kubert, this is unexciting work. Even in
the Kubert story, the demise of a bootlegger in a pit of alligators
is not shown. Since the bootlegger knowingly sold poisonous booze,
his fate is deserved. Showing his death wouldn’t raise an eyebrow
today, but 1955 was a perilous time for comics publishers.
Who knows what wonders my VAOS will next reveal to us? We’ll find
out in future visits to my back pages.
I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.
© 2012 Tony Isabella