Friday, June 5, 2015

Artistic Hacks!

The cover by Johnny Craig for Crime SuspenStories #22 might arguably be the most notorious in all of comic book lore. The cover, defended by Bill Gaines before a congressional hearing as being in good taste since the blood dripping from the neck was not shown, is one of the images which lingers in the imagination.

It's a wonderful bit of staging by Craig with just the right things carefully hidden. I don't necessarily agree with Gaines that this cover is in "good taste" but certainly it could've been a good deal more gross with little effort. Love the detail which is so very evident in this Craig original artwork. Amazing. 

Here is a clever reversal of the circumstances presented in Craig's cover with the distaff side of the equation eking out a bit of revenge.

And here is Jimmy Rugg's homage in blistering color which does beg even more why no blood is dripping from that neck. Hmm.

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  1. I believe Gaines, when shown the cover and asked if he thought it was in good taste, replied "Yes...for a horror comic!" I suppose he had a point. We've seen a lot worse over the years, but I suppose, at the time, this was considered quite a shocking image by a lot of people. Perhaps the 'damage' that such comics did was to inure their readers to what was shocking. Perhaps that's damage enough,

    1. For sure the work of Johnny Craig is downright tasteful when cast against the excesses of the work of the time period. His clean lines gave an illusion of order and civility to even the most violent scenes. So Gaines was indeed correct, but the audience he addressed that day were not in the mood for such distinctions.

      I get that same sense sometimes when I watch something like Night of the Living Dead which is gory as all get out, but somehow the black and white presentation and the lack of funds make the choices seem downright subtle compared to the gore which dominated later entries in the series. It's all a matter of context.

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