Zombos Says: Fair
Welcome, dear readers, to another unbelievably gruesome tale for your morbid delight. Pull up a coffin and sit for a spell, won't you? Tonight, we look at another vain and feeble attempt to resurrect the dead. What's that you say? No, it's not good old Frankenstein up to his old tricks, nor voodoo zombies dancing in the moonlight. It's more diabolical than that! It's Papercutz' Tales From the Crypt, Issue Number One!
The office is quiet. The clock on the desk shows midnight as the sleepy-eyed artist finishes his work. Reaching for his long cold cup of coffee, he accidentally spills red ink across the freshly drawn page.
"Damn," he says out loud, but there's no one to hear.
Or is there?
"Hahahahaah!" cackles a mucous-filled throat.
"Who's that! Who's there?" says the artist, jumping out of his chair.
"Only us," replies another voice, as if clogged with fresh earth from a newly dug grave.
Gasp! The artist trips over his chair as he spins around. Standing behind him are two figures. They glare at him from the darkness his desk lamp can't reach. Their clothes hang in tatters, and moist earth drops in little clumps from their rotted limbs.
"Oh my god, you...you're..." The artist staggers backward in disbelief, raising his hands in horror.
"Yeah, I'm Feldstein, and he's Johnny Craig. Look, we're not entirely happy with what your doin' with our baby, the Crypt-Keeper." Feldstein's finger drops off as he points vigorously at the artist. "Not again, damnit! Now where did it go?" He motions to Johnny Craig while he looks for his finger.
"What he said," snarls Craig. "I mean, just look at that artwork for the first story, Body of Work. Are you kidding me? Jack Davis was so upset he went to pieces. Wally Wood's still back at the cemetery trying to put him together. Just look at these colors; bright, cheerful? And what the hell do you think you're drawing, a Picasso? And don't get me started on that storyline. Horror writer my ass! I'll admit it's kind of witty, and the tone of the story and art style work fairly well together, but that ending? C'mon, how original to use the old PG-standby, heart attacks. These are fiends, man! Thirsting for blood!"
"But I didn't draw the first story; I drew the second one, For Serious Collectors Only," pleaded the artist.
Feldstein stands up, grabs the tape dispenser off the desk, and tapes his finger back onto his hand. Then, in a fit of inspiration, he staples it for good measure.
"There, that's not going anywhere now. Now what was I saying? Oh, yeah. The Crypt-Keeper may be demented, but he's still educated. Who wrote those godawful word ballons for him anyway? You'd think he was a bit comic doing a dead vaudeville shtick the way he talks. Where's the puns, the biting sarcastic wit? From Ralph Richardson to this? I can't believe it. Even Kassir did a better job."
The artist cowered. "That's Salicrup. He did it. You can't blame me for any of that. I told him it was too juvenile, too pedestrian. All I did was draw the second story."
"That second story's a doozy, too. It's "250% more cursed" is right. How many times have I seen comic book stories about nerdy comic book collectors who live in their mom's basement? Gee, let me count those times on my fingers. Damn, ran out of fingers!"
Once more, Feldstein's overly dramatic hand gestures send another finger flying through the air. His pinky lands in the artist's coffee cup.
"Gross," says the artist, pushing the cup away in disgust.
"Damn, not again!" says Feldstein, reaching for the tape dispenser and stapler.
"He's right," says Craig. "These stories are so overly done and so predictable. Where's the witty but ironic endings, the twist of the fickle finger of fate? Tsk, tsk."
"There's no unique Tales From the Crypt look, either," says Feldstein. "No bold ink lines, or saturated morose colors, or salient looks of dread on fear-stricken faces. Where are the tombs, the crumbling cemeteries, the rotting zombies? Is this the best you got? All I'm sayin' is show the respect due, that's all. Don't just throw anything together and call it Tales From the Crypt. I want to see more effort put into the second issue or else."
Feldstein leans forward to emphasize his "or else." As the artist frantically jumps backward to avoid the snarling corpse, he trips over his own two feet, and cracks his head open on the edge of the heavy steel desk. His blood pours out from the large gash in his skull, mixing with the red ink already spilled.
"Damn, didn't see that coming," says Craig. "His artwork wasn't that bad, either."
Both Craig and Feldstein hurriedly stagger off. Light begins to enter the office windows. The clock on the desk shows 6 A.M., the time the artist usually goes to Starbucks for his morning cup of coffee. He won't be going to Starbucks today.
Well, dear readers, the poor artist has learned, only too late, that the comic book business can be murder. Perhaps he'll be drawing a pair of wings next. Hehehehehehe.
Thanks for the review, but just so there isn't any confusion--let it be known that both Al Feldstein and Jack Davis are still among the living.
Posted by: Jim Salicrup | August 03, 2007 at 05:40 PM