Saturday, March 23, 2013
WEIRD TALES OF FANTASY AND HORROR!
to November 1954. Published by Charlton Comics, the title doesn’t
seem to have had an actual character or host named the Thing. The
title may have been inspired by The Thing From Another World, the
1951 movie based on John W. Campbell’s “Who Goes There?”. The film
is widely considered to be one of the best science fiction movies
of all time.
The Thing #1 [February 1952] was wholly drawn by the artistic team
of Albert Tyler (pencils) and Bob Forgione (inks). However, their
inside cover contents page art has the signed credits reversed and
the Grand Comics Database opines that the duo might have switched
jobs for that page.
The GCD lists no writer credits for the issue, but it is known that
Walter B. Gibson, author of over 300 pulp-magazine novels of The
Shadow and also an incredible number of other works, wrote for The
Thing in 1952. Here are the GCD contents and synopsis of the first
“The Creature From Dimension 2-K-31" (9 pages). Soldiers fight an
otherworldly shape-shifting alien creature during the Korean War.
That sounds more than a little like The Thing From Another World,
which bolsters my speculation as to the origin of this comic book’s
“Grunwald” (7 pages). Three men fight to maintain their sanity when
they are trapped in a lighthouse and besieged by thousands of
hungry, murderous rats.
“Nightmare” (7 pages). A serial killer randomly decapitates his
“Hellfire of Doom: (7 pages). A killer blackmails a city by causing
people to spontaneously combust.
To the best of my knowledge, these stories have not been reprinted
anywhere. Later issues would feature some interesting early work
by Steve Ditko, but the future co-creator of Spider-Man and Doctor
Strange would not make his first appearance in the title until The
Thing #12 [February 1954].
Keep reading this bloggy thing of mine for more vintage comic-book
covers from my birth month of December 1951.
My reviews of cheesy monster movies have proven very popular among
my bloggy thing readers. When I reviewed Spiders and mentioned the
lead actress also appeared in Mansquito, Ty Kieth insisted I review
the film. Feeling a sudden deja vu, I checked my “Tony’s Online
Tips” archives and found I had already reviewed Mansquito way back
on March 24. 2005. Here’s what I wrote...
"Hey, Mansquito! Take this!"
...says the police detective with the unkempt hair as he sends an
armor-piecing bullet into oxygen tanks at a hospital savaged by the
blood-sucking title star of this 2005 sci-fi movie. It would
probably be impolite of me to mention this early in my review that
only *female* mosquitos suck blood.
Mansquito  made its debut on the Sci-Fi Channel earlier this
month. The set-up goes like this:
Deadly virus carried by mosquitos. Scientists - including the
principled heroine played by Musetta Vander - try to find a cure by
manipulating the DNA of other mosquitos. Typically callous head of
research lab gets a mass murderer sprung from death row to test the
serum on, this without the knowledge of the heroine. Oh, yeah, her
detective boyfriend is the one who busted the murderer.
Murderer escapes in lab. Kills guards and heroine's assistant
before some sort of nuclear rotisserie blows up. Murderer catches
the worst of it and changes quickly Into...Mansquito! Heroine gets
smaller dose and starts changing slowly.
The creature suit isn't bad and there is some creepy fun to be had
at first. Near the movie's end, director Tibor Takacs goes too
heavy on the gore; heads and limbs go rolling all over the hospital
where the heroine is being cared for.
The hair of Corin Nemac - he plays the detective - has a life of
its own with a clump of it constantly falling over his forehead. I
guess he had to do something to get noticed. That Mansquito is such
The funniest moment in the movie - and you can only watch this
movie for laughs - is when I realized where I'd seen Vander before.
She played the mantis-lady on the first-season episode of Buffy the
Vampire Slayer wherein Xander Harris nearly got eaten. Is this not
the worst possible typecasting? To be the actress directors think
of when someone turns into a giant bug?
I was going to give away the ending, but, what the heck, this
stupid movie is actually worth seeing just for the fun you can have
making sport of it. If I rated it on any other basis, it wouldn't
get more than one Tony (for the creature suit). But, as your very
own Mystery Science Theater 3000 home game, I give it a respectable
three Tonys. Hey, Mansquito!
Back then, I was still rating comics and other items on a scale of
zero to five Tonys. I don’t do that anymore.
There’s something I should make clear since it’s obvious I will be
reviewing more cheesy monster movies in future bloggy things. Yes,
I make mockery of many of these films. But I mock them with love
in my heart. Cheesy monster movies are one of the great pleasures
of my life and I like to share them with you.
Though I may disparage their works, I have nothing but love for the
makers of these movies. They are the heroes of their small budgets
who do remarkable things with what little money they have, filming
scripts that aren’t exactly Shakespeare. Most of them are just as
sincere in their love of these kinds of movies as I am. They are
brothers from another probably monstrous mother.
Though I’m not a big fan of Facebook groups, I recently requested
membership in and was accepted by the Fans of SyFy Original Movies
group. There’s all sorts of news and lots of love for the movies
on that page and I’m enjoying the heck out of it. I recommend it
to all of you who enjoy my monster movie reviews.
I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.
© 2013 Tony Isabella