Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Mansion of Evil -- Joseph Millard
What was the first graphic novel? I don't have a clue. Here's one from 1950. It's a Gold Medal Book, written by Joseph Millard. There's no credit for the art. Maybe he did that, too.
I'm not sure what prompted GM to publish this. Maybe no one was sure who the audience for paperback originals was, and someone had the idea that maybe comic book readers would find the new format appealing. Anyway, what we have here is a full-color comic book with about the same number of pages as a Gold Medal novel.
Maxwell Haimes, a famous artist, happens to see Beth, who's a double for the wife he's recently murdered. Since no one knows the murder's taken place, Haimes believes that if Beth has an "accident," he can cover up the murder. So he kidnaps her and takes her to the Mansion of Evil. After that it's a race against time for Beth's fiance and the cops. Can they save her? Sure.
Along the way we're treated to a portrait of Laura (the dead wife), which of course shows the dead woman's startling resemblance to Beth. (Where do these writers get their ideas?) We see the secret room in the basement where Laura is buried. We get car wrecks and near escapes. It's not V for Vedetta, that's for sure, but it's kind of fun it its dated way. I even like the art.
After looking this one up on abebooks.com, I can't recommend that you check it out. Way too pricey.