Sucker Bait: And Other Stories illustrated by Graham Ingels
Hardcover – Fantagraphics – Feb 2014 – 216 pages
Even 60 years after their original release, in an era of explicit horror, EC Comics superstar Graham “Ghastly” Ingels’s grisly pages retain the power to shock. His loving depictions of the endless corruption of flesh and nature made him the go-to guy for stories involving swamps, maniacs, and dismemberment — and all three combined to best effect in one of the standouts of this collection of his stories: “Horror We? How’s Bayou?” — considered the single most spectacularly drawn of all of EC’s horror stories, with a climax that would give body-horror king David Cronenberg nightmares.
Ingels specialized in depicting the unimaginable. If you ever wondered what the vengeful, decaying corpse of an elephant stomping a woman to death would look like, it’s in here (“Squash…Anyone?”). Or living rats sewn into the bodies of a tyrannical king and queen (“A Grim Fairy Tale”)… or the results of injecting a “poison-pen” letter writer with literal poison and reducing him to, in the words of Al Feldstein’s script, a “foul-smelling, oozing pool of putrescence” (“Notes to You!”).
One of the two Ray Bradbury adaptations in the book, “There Was an Old Woman” (about a deceased crone who simply refuses to stay dead) provides the closest thing to a note of sweetness that you’ll find here — perhaps with the exception of the genuinely romantic “A Little Stranger!” and its loving marriage between a dead vampire and a dead werewolf.
Sucker Bait And Other Stories features 25 classic stories from Tales From the Crypt, Shock Suspen-Stories, Vault of Horror, and Ingels and his “Old Witch” character’s special showcase Haunt of Fear — plus the usual fascinating historical, critical, and biographical material.
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