Wednesday, 7 December 2011

It's just comics- part 13

This time around, I'm analyzing the bejesus out another whole romance comic. It's a fable on a grand scale, by which I mean it isn't the complicated life made simple, a shepherd and nymph, a tortoise and hare, though one of these animals gets a passing mention. This appeared the same month as the previous, in a different one of Quality's 14 romance titles. It could well be another piece from the anonymous writer I looked at last time, because this one also sent me on a search. He may even have walked in with both scripts on the same day. If he wrote more, I haven't found them yet, but it would be nice to do so. The penciller and inker appear to be the same too, Sam Citron (?) and the 'tidy hair' inker, though he isn't given a lot of hair to work with in this one. The story is titled 'Turmoil.' Untypically, it's written in the third person.

Franklin Pierce is in the doldrums.

Heart Throbs #7 Aug 1950, lead story, 9 pages.

We get a bunch of financial-world references: "International Reaper... General Dyes... United Communications... I've got a finger in every one. I can't lose, can I, Hughes?" he laments to his personal secretary,
"I don't understand, sir. Your investments are very sensibly distributed."
Pierce gets all the classical allusions out in one rush: "I've tried to lose, but I can't! I've got the Midas touch! I'm a tin-horn Croesus turning to yellow gold against my will. I'm like the tortoise who died of shame because his shell was studded with jewels."

(I did a quick search and found: the Indian moral tale of the Sadhu and the tortoise, here compressed to a couple hundred words),
"What kind of king am I? I have all the wealth and power any king can crave. Every pleasure and comfort is mine, yet I feel alone and lonely. Friends, I have none! I cannot trust my ministers and courtiers. All are crooked and double faced. I need a friend close to me." The king summoned his advsiors and sent them to find a certain honest man...
“Most revered sage, are you Sadhu Shubhananda?" The Sadhu slightly nodded his head. The ministers told him: "Kindly, know that the king has sent us to call you to his palace. He wants you to be his friend and trustworthy companion. The King offers you all his possessions, his wealth, his comforts, his pleasures”
"Do you see that tortoise over there, so still, so quiet? This tortoise, though so quiet, and so still, is fully alive, and enjoying the sun, the water, the nights and days. It's free. Has the King any such tortoise in his palace?"
"Oh, yes!" The envoys replied, "The King has a big tortoise like this in his room. It is studded with gold, diamonds, pearls and precious gems. It’s worth a fortune."
"Hmmm! Now, tell me," asked the Sadhu: "Do you think that this tortoise over here would like to exchange places with that tortoise in the King's palace?"
There was a long silence.

After another dreary day on Wall Street, Franklin Pierce heads for home.


He confides in his friend Dr. Lister:


He tells Lister he wants to find a simpler life.
"Socrates, Plato, Aristotle," says Dr. Lister, "Great guys, all of them. They spurned material things and wove a philosophy of simplicity that lives till this day."
And then there is Donna, first appearing at the bottom of page 3 of her own story:


"He kissed her, searching desperately for a spark of compassion and sympathy, but he found only a coldly yielding body built around a core of tempered steel."



The circular panel is a '40s thing that is fast going out of style by this time, but the artist can't pass up the chance to do this little trick he's thought of, in which the embracing couple form a heart-shape. Note also how the artist gives us quite a different treatment of the appearance and body language of Donna, agressive and decisive, in comparison to Helen, dignified but uncertain, in the previous story.


Come away with me and leave all this behind, he says. Not on your Nelly Duff, she replies, or words to that effect. The millionaire gives Donna the whole kit and kaboodle. Then he parks the car at a desolate strip of beach


He arranges the telltale clothes and walks off along the beach. The moon looks like it's in the script. Identifiable with the feminine principle, it emphatically rises on a new era in the Pierce fortunes:


Donna takes over from here.


Nothing short of the ruination of everybody else will make her happy.


Her rapacious actions create tremors in the world's money markets.

"Like a stalking panther, beautiful, graceful, deadly, she took the diamond studded, continental society by storm." She's going to have her turtle and eat it too. In Paris she finds herself introduced to the one industrial magnate she hasn't been able to topple.


Edward Dubois. She gives him the sweet talk, and the glad eye, and when the sweet talking's done,


She tells him that she'll never forget the amazing stories he told her about his intriguing financial manipulations. and how she envies a man of his cunning. Then she nips down to the telegram office. "there will be an extra charge for the coded message," the clerk tells her. And the deed is done.


Dubois pulls out a pistol and is seized by the gendarmes just as he is about to murder the American financier.


The bystanders at the airport shun her. Her reputation has preceded her like a consuming fire of suspicion and disgust. When she gets home, everything is falling apart:


Even Hughes is packing his bags.


'I have everything I can ever want! I'm rich, rich, rich!'


Tormeneted by her reverie, Donna faints, and in a moment of touching theatricality, Franklin, waiting in the wings, steps from behind the curtain to catch her. She has come to realize that her love for him is more important than all the other baloney. As with the other story, there was an obligatory clinch, but again early in the piece instead of here at the resolution. I find myself moved by this guy's faith in Donna, based on nothing that is mentioned in the story, and I like the fact that this isn't spelled out.

Again with the moon. It emphatically descends as together they disappear along the beach where before he had done it alone.


'They walked away into the night, leaving behind them turmoil and confusion, knowing that somehow a pattern of new life would form from the shambles of the past.'

The story in full at the Digital Comics Museum

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Michael Evans said...

That's just magnificent.

7 December 2011 5:47:00 pm GMT-5  

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