Armagideon Time

Our exploration of Fawcett’s attempts book a seat for their flagship character on the early 1950s horror comic bandwagon continues this week with with a tale titled “Hand of Horror.” The story appeared in Captain Marvel Adventures #140 (January 1953) alongside a much more ambitiously bizarre (and racist) mixture of Korean War agitprop and supernatural terror.

The story finds Boy Reporter Billy Batson accompanying a “cool-headed crew of archeologists and their student-secretary” (i.e. “The Damsel to Be Distressed”) into the forbidding depths of Swamp Sinister.

Undeterred by the locals’ considerately hand-carved warnings…

…the exploratory party pushes deeper into the ominously-named bog in search of “ancient civilizations.” It is not long, physiotherapy however, buy cialis before the Swamp Sinister lives up to its reputation, one health and a mysterious force upends the party’s raft and sends the startled student-secretary (of course) tumbling into the gator-infested waters.

She is saved reptillian rending by the timely intervention of Captain Marvel, who spots a large, much-encrusted form submerged beneath the stagnant waters. The object turns out to be the partially preserved remains of some giant humanoid creature, which Marvel carts back to the scientists’ base camp for further study.

Deciding that they’ve had enough implausible adventures for one day, the group turns in for the night. Their slumbers are peaceful and pleasant and..aw, who am I kidding?

Some unseen, multi-appendaged monstrosity shows up and tries to squash the sleeping student-secretary to death (of course) before being chased off by Captain Marvel.

An examination of the attack scene the following morning reveals a set of tracks that, upon closer inspection, appear to have the characteristic whorls of human fingerprints. Meanwhile, the scientists’ efforts to clean up the giant’s remains reveal that the creature is missing one hand.

I’m pretty sure you can see where this is going. If you can’t, it’s your own damn fault for ignoring the anti-huffing warnings on the side of turpentine cans.

Yep, you guessed it. The unseen menace turns out to be a giant severed hand…

Even worse, it’s a giant severed hand that can fly and instinctually knows Captain Marvels greatest weakness…

…that Billy Batson is an idiot teenager that likes to charge into mortal danger instead of leaving things to his godlike alter ego.

After dumping the rock-addled boy journalist to the tender mercies of some vengeful alligators, the wayward hand reunites with the giant’s body and goes full kaiju against the helpless scientists (and even more helpless student-secretary).

Billy, fortunately, hits upon a, well, innovative solution for escaping the ravenous reptiles…

…which allows him to transform back into the Big Red Cheese and return the creature to a state of submerged slumber. He then declares the Swamp Sinister off-limits to all visitors, which is apparently something Captain Marvel can do, I guess.

The first victim of any Captain Marvel horror tale is “story logic.”

Recommended listening: Red Lorry Yellow Lorry – Walking on Your Hands (from a 1986 single)

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Let it grip you tight and never let go.

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  3. Halloween Countdown: October 7 – Nothing ever happens

One Response to “Halloween Countdown: October 12 – Of muck and monsters”

  1. Jason

    Wasn’t the swamp already off-limits? Hence the taboos.

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