Thursday, January 05, 2006

Aw, Bats!

Back in the 'golden age' of creep, even Archie Comics tried out some ghoulish ha-ha's. Though Tales Calculated To Drive You BATS only lasted seven issues (and one reprint special), and was a big, giant rip-off of 'Tales Calculated To Drive You MAD', I still think this is one lost gem of a comic series. I stumbled onto issue 6 (the one with the giant ape) on an American road trip over a decade ago, and was immediately smitten. The bulk of the artwork is by Orlando Busino, and the stuff is really teriffic... almost too cute in places, and decidedly gruesome elsewhere. As always, Fred Hembeck has some great insight over on his 'Fred Sez' blog..."An odd fact concerning BATS: while the rest of the four-color field was blatantly denied the use of vampires, werewolves and the undead due to the highly restrictive directives of the Comics Code Authority, BATS, no doubt due primarily to the obviously tongue in cheek manner in which they treated these otherwise undesirable characters, managed to get a pass and fill their pages with these hairy, toothsome, gauze-wrapped protagonists." Part of the charm, of course, is getting to see those classic Archie babes in weird, wild monster stories. Writer George Gladir, who would go on to co-create Sabrina the Teen-Age Witch (more on her later), was particularly adept at MAD style fake ad's and news with a monster twist. I plan to post samples here at Monsterama on a semi-regular basis. Trust me, the stuff is great!