Sunday, March 21, 2004

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I've been digging again in the box my Mom found in our basement, which was full of old, coverless, beat-up comics which I did not deem to be in collectable condition waaaay back long ago when I started collecting comics for real. I had found an old copy of Eerie 8 in that box, which contained one of the stories drawn by Jerry Grandenetti that had blown me away as a kid, and I posted a page and a synopsis of the story in question. So digging in the box again, I unearthed another coverless, yellowed Warren mag, this time Eerie 9, which featured my favorite Goodwin/Grandenetti story, "Rub The Lamp", and there was no way I was gonna not post a page from it. "Lamp" is basically a spin on the old "Monkey's Paw" type tale, in which our protagonist, a lamp collector named John Coates, finally acquires the one object he's searched for for years- Aladdin's lamp.Of course, he has more than a collector's interest...he wants to use its wish granting powers to make himself and his wife rich. So he ducks into an alley, rubs the lamp, and wishes for the staggering sum of $50,000 dollars. Whereupon nothing happens, and he flings the lamp away in disgust. However, on his way home, he is dismayed to find (in the scene above) that his apartment cought fire, due to faulty wiring, and his wife died in the blaze. The next evening, the dejected Coates is presented with a check by his insurance agent for $50,000 dollars. From there on, things go from bad to worse as Coates goes back and finds the lamp, and makes two more wishes- and gets more than he bargained for each time.

Grandenetti was just out of his mind doing this stuff back in this period- it's full of skewed, vertiginous perspective shots, lettering that fills up backgrounds rather than word balloons, some gorgeous wash effects, and of course his trademark expressionism- few could depict lunacy, tension and desperation as effectively as Mr. Grandenetti, especially in those days. I see, looking back, that it was work like this (and, of course, others like Eisner, Adams, Kane, and more) that led me to want to practice drawing and be a comic book artist when I grew up. Of course, I never acheived that goal, but that's my fault and certainly neither here nor there.

I really wish that someone could collect all these great Grandenetti stories from the 60s, both in the Warren Magazines and DC comics like The Spectre as well, so people could check it out for themselves and perhaps stimulate some interest and recognition for this underrated and forgotten creator. Hope springs eternal, as they say...