Nov 7, 2015

The 40 Years fo Comics Project - Day 256: Dead of Night #11, August 1975


I'm not sure how much attention is paid to the Marvel Comics horror renaissance of the mid-seventies, but it seems to me to be a fairly important moment for that genre. Though horror comics had their heyday in the decade or so before Wertham got his slimy claws all over the industry, Marvel's introduction of horror characters into their superhero universe side-stepped the problems of the Comics Code and gave us a Vertigo-esque corner of their shared universe a full 15 years or so before DC made their own dark space for dark superheroes. The likes of Hellstrom, Man-Thing, Bloodstone, and other B-listers in the Marvel U find their apotheosis here, and I've been tentatively exploring these creepy old stories for a few years now.

According to the Marvel Wikia, The Scarecrow who appears in this issue, also called Straw Man to differentiate him from the villain Scarecrow, has had a handful of appearances, is a weird spirit who opposed the demon Kalumai, and has never really had a go of his own as a character. Really, at least from this reading, he seems more like the sort of character around which a story might be hung, but not necessarily told. He manifests through a painting, so perhaps stories following the painting, rather than the character, would make this silent (aside from his insane laughter) spirit a more compelling character. Of course, had Dead of Night lasted beyond this issue, we might have seen him develop more fully. The sporadic appearances he makes over the next decade or so seem to do little to flesh him out.

Which, really, means that we'll likely have a film treatment some time in the next 5 years or so, and controversy over the lack of remuneration that creator Scott Edelman will get once Disney starts marketing little plush "Marvel's The Scarecrow" dolls, and everyone will come away from the theater saying "It was a lot better than I thought it was going to be. Disney really are getting these Marvel movies right!"

Or not. Whatever. Okay, on to more random comics tomorrow. See you then.

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