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Friday, March 25, 2005

EC - Strictly Business (Orlando)

Strictly Business!
art by Joe Orlando, story by Al Feldstein
Shock SuspenStories #4 (1952)


Joe Orlando was a fixture of the EC sci-fi and horror books, and of course later was a long-established editor at DC, helming some of their more innovative 1970s titles.

In this story, set in the distant future of the 21st century, Dianne answers an ad from Alec, who offers her a job to act as his wife for three years for a healthy salary (as we're told, in this future all marriages are temporary and have to be renewed every three years). She takes the job, enjoying living a life of luxury, but gradually finds herself falling in love with Alec, who still shows no interest.

Finally, as the three years end, Dianne makes a last ditch effort by claiming she'll claim to be pregnant, which automatically renews the marriage. After all, who would believe that he hasn't shown any physical interest in such a gorgeous woman in three years. Alec finally reveals that the reason he's shown no interest in her for all these years is...

No, not that, this was published in 1952. It turns out Alec is really a robot, part of a group that has integrated into society planning a takeover, needing a wife to complete his cover.

Yeah, I think the other ending would have been better. Still, that's some nice artwork, isn't it? He does some amazing work with spot-blacks, obviously influenced by some of the better comic strips of the 1930s.

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