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Sunday, April 02, 2006

EC - The Kidnapper (Crandall)

The Kidnapper
art by Reed Crandall, story by Al Feldstein
Shock SuspenStories #12 (1954)

Every now and then EC would have a story where, for whatever reason, they decided that contractions were bad, and all the dialogue and narration would be mostly contraction free. I am not sure why they did this, but it is often awkward to read.

Anyway, this story has two lower-class parents welcoming their first son to the world, a boy with a distinctive birthmark on his hand. Doctor's also inform them that this will be their only child. So, like the good parents they are, they leave him alone on the streets of their "litter-strewn" "slum-canyon" while they eat lunch, and are shocked when he vanishes. The parents grow increasingly desperate as time goes on, with the wife going slowly insane. The doctor suggests if she doesn't have another baby she'll lose her mind completely, but of course they're not suitable for adoption in their state. The husband even considers buying a black market baby, but that's out of his price range. Finally he spies a carriage alone on a suburban street (seriously, parents those days) and tries to snatch the baby, only to be beaten to death by the much more vigilant suburban by-standers. Of course, on the hand of the baby he tried to snatch...

Not bad despite the sometimes awkward scripting, and Crandall does a good job on the settings and on the mother's increasing desperation and plunge into insanity.

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