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Saturday, February 05, 2005

EC - Death Must Come (Feldstein)

Death Must Come
8 pages, art by Al Feldstein
Crypt of Terror #17[#1] (1950)

This book took over the numbering from CRIME PATROL, and soon was re-titled to TALES FROM THE CRYPT, the flagship of the EC horror line.

Feldstein is obviously better known as a writer/editor for EC, but he did draw a few dozen stories in the early years, as well as many covers. His art is interesting. He's obviously a lot less stylish and flashy than the EC artists who are bigger names, but his storytelling is clear, his faces are easy to read and he does sometimes come up with something visually inventive.

This story features a pair of scientists who come up with a method of maintaining youth by using a gland taken from the spleen of a younger person. One of them insists that it be tried on him, and they do the grave-raiding so common in EC stories to get the gland for a recent accident victim. We follow them through the years, as one man gets older and the other stays young, but needs replacement glands at a faster pace. Finally the older man refuses when the younger suggests using a child's gland. The older man is killed, and the younger lures in a messenger and kills him to steal his gland, but winds up rapidly aging and dying when he finds (for no reason explained) that the messenger's spleen was missing the gland.

Obviously this early in the EC "New Trend" they were still feeling out the storytelling, but this was a good early trial, and I thought Feldstein handled the aging of the characters well.

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