([identity profile] wrote in [community profile] scans_daily2009-07-05 22:45

Those with body dysmorphia phobias may want to avoid this post...

As an example of an artistic style being used to make the horrific REALLY disturbing, I present this delightful little parable from November 1951's Marvel Family 65 - "The Melting Mystery" (A 21 page story, which I think I make in under the 1/3 issue limit)

Gaylord Tinzborough... isn't that just THE most wonderful name?

Oh and the affectation here, believe me, we have not yet begun to see affectation in this fellow.

When he gets to the ninth story cold water slum apartment he has to live in, he is cornered by his miserly skinflint of a landlord Mr McPinchin. He's two cent shorts on the rent, so in cold fury, and relying on the law being on his side, he kicks Gaylord, who falls down a flight of stairs. Mary Batson, passing by on a charity visit, changes to Mary Marvel to save him. She also gives McPinch his two cents, though she is clearly NOT happy with him, and for two more cents she would probably do something to him she would regret.

Mary does NOT approve of the slums, and Gaylord agrees. He explains he's an artist, a brilliant artist, a brilliant artist with a mission.

Oh this is going to end well isn't it?

Outside, Freddy Freeman is selling papers from his newstand, when the papers suddenly start becoming more fluid, literally dripping out of his hands. And more things are going weird....

Again, in this era, the Marvel's were distinct personalities from the Batsons and Freddy so often referred to their other selves in the third person..

Mary has also found things becoming softer and more fluid, her handbag strap pulling like soft taffy... They meet up, and decide to take the matter to Billy, or to Captain Marvel at any rate...

Saying SHAZAM!, Captain Marvel joins the other Marvels in investigating the weirdness.

You'll note that the writer never misses a chance to say his full name either... Gaylord Tinzborough... Gaylord Tinzborough Say it with me children... Gay Lord Tinz Bo Ro,,, don't you feel better just for saying it out loud? :)

This is the sort of thing Scrooge McDuck probably has nightmares about too?

The Marvels immediately realise the dangers the city could be facing, and go on patrol to try to stop things, they'll worry about the cause later, there are innocent lives at risk.

They encounter, again, McPinch, who is going entirely apeshit over the damage being done to HIS slums. He ends up blaming the marvels for CAUSING all the trouble. He even sics the Police on the Marvels, who, as is their wont, decide to dodge the problems that would cause by reverting to Billy, Mary and Freddie.

Mary finally remembers Gaylord's ranting about "changing the slums", and wonders whether he might be more than just a crank. Having no better leads they go to visit him.

You're randomly destabilising the basic molecular cohesion of matter, but that's okay because "you're not evil"... uh-huh...

And now we find the REAL flaw in the artistic temperament... they don't take criticism terribly well.

Okay, I should have warned you that this is where this story gets REALLY effing gross. Even just the implications are horrible...

Alas, at this point, the machine breaks down, and will take some time to fix, but as Billy and the others realise the ray is still affecting them, and by the time it's fixed all three will have melted into puddles of goo (Billy, while poking his nose to watch it buckle under his touch, imagines his soon to be fate of a vaguely Billy coloured lump like a melted candle was too disturbing to even include)

Since they can't say their words, they know they have to get to the subway tunnel where Shazam can manifest, as only he can possibly save them in time... But it's not going to be easy...

Shazam isn't there, and with their vocal cords too soft to make any sound, it's up to Billy to summon up a last reserve of strength and lift the torch to light the brazier that will also summon Shazam. He manages it and Shazam sends the lightning bolts. Luckily, rather than turning them into fried puddles of goo, it transforms them and the Marvel Family are unaffected by the ray.

The return to Gaylord's and find he still hasn't fixed the machine...

Well, at least SOME good will come of this, no?

I love this page, it's so... insane! Word to the wise, if an artist takes it upon himself to modify the molecular structure of your city, PRAY that he's not a sodding Abstract Impressionist with a Dr Seuss fixation, as it'll just lead to tears....

Finally, the Marvels realise that there might be a bright side to this... Telling McPinch (Who has turned up again, like the proverbial bad penny) to stop Gaylord if he so much as TRIES to touch the machine again, they set out on a rather unique for of urban renewal.

I REALLY hope they'd managed to evacuate everyone first.

Awww... is there any sight more precious than a happy slumlord?

As it turns out, Simon McPinch realises that investing money in his properties won't COST him money as he can GET more money for them (I suppose he's already been through some sort of penance as all his OLD money went gooey on him) and he and (SAY IT ONE MORE TIME KIDS) GAYLORD TZINBOROUGH! go into business together, designing new estates based on the Marvel Family design ethos, with the money the Marvels might reasonably be epxcted to earn for their designs being paid to charity.

So Capitalism triumphs, the poor tenants already living there will now have to deal with significantly higher rents as the properties are now more desirable (but their incomes will probably remain the same), the millionaire slumlord makes more money and the artistic genius has to just deal with the fact that no one likes his art.

So it's a happy ending for... well, pretty much nobody except the Marvel's chosen charities, unless rent control can be introduced AFTER the fact.

For some reason this whole story made me think of an advert in the UK, I hadn't seen in YEARS, luckily Youtube came through, it's almost as freaky as this story!