Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Demonology #11 - Baron Von Evilstein!

The eleventh issue of Jack Kirby's The Demon begins a fascinating trilogy, my personal favorite story from the series and a real shout out to the Universal classics which Kirby clearly was much impressed by.

The action beings when the Demon encounters people fleeing a park in Gotham City. He quickly finds the reason, a giant humanoid who promptly attacks him. But the battle is cut short when a short hunchbacked bearded man named Igor appears uses a sonic device to subdue the creature. When the Demon seeks to interfere the man uses gas to subdue him and he changes into Jason Blood.

The scene shifts to a hidden lab of a scientist named Baron Von Rakenstein but who seems to appreciate his nickname of "Von Evilstein". He and his crooked aide Igor strap Jason to a lab table and suspend him vertically, as now he seems to be part of their plans.

The scene shifts to Harry Mathews and Randu Singh who are waiting at a hospital to see the recovering Glenda Mark. They make excuses for the missing Jason but are worried.

Back at the lab the giant creature finds Jason and frees him from his bonds. But Von Evilstein and Igor appear a weapon called an "Electric Lash" to force the "Monster" to stop. The plan proceeds with Jason as he's has his head encased in a metal helmet while  Von Evilstein subjects him to fire and other torments. But his demonic nature spares him. We get a glimpse of Von Evilstein's lab filled with unfortunate animals who have been his test subjects.

Harry and Randu seeking some sign of Jason go to a Para-psychology Institute seeking Alan Hunter who oversees many practioners of E.S.P. They meet there a girl named Carver who is in contact with a tormented soul. That soul is the "Monster" created by Von Evilstein.

Meanwhile Von Evilstein makes preparations to take off Jason's head and attach it to his humanoid.

It's a real cliff-hanger as Jason seems in legitimate danger. The story is clearly inspired by the Frankenstein saga and the "Monster" seems to be a Kirby-ized rendition of the classic creature look with lots of additional studs and electrodes. Baron Von Evilstein reminds me of Lionel Atwill as he looked in Son of Frankenstein and of course Igor is the spitting image of the classic Bela Lugosi creation.

There's seem to really be a rhythm now to the Demon tales, and this is one of the best yarns yet.

More to come.

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  1. The bright red-and-yellow colors of the Demon really does make him stand-out nice…Also, I used to like the way Entrigan would reply in a rhyming way when speaking…For as stilted sounding as Kirby’s dialogue could sometimes be – I always thought the Demon’s speech pattern fit the character in a unique way…I remember a Norm Breyfogle-drawn appearance in Detective Comics in particular (can’t recall the scripter now) – where the rhyming patter worked really well against the more stoically-expressive Batman.

    1. I always found the bright colors off-putting, not creepy enough at the time. I've changed my mind and find them lurid now, properly scary.

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