art by Bernard Krigstein, story by Carl Wessler
Valor #2 (1955)
Some later Krigstein work this time, on another story set in ancient China, which is a theme that fits some of the influences in his art. He seems to really delight in the details in the ornate backgrounds and clothing, and uses an interesting open style with some sparse inking which works well with the colour.
This story is set in what we call 1122 BC, where we meet the poets in the Teahouse of the Lotus Bud in mourning for the recently deceased Emperor, only to find that the new Emperor has outlawed poetry or any other idle waste of time. The poets protest and are beaten, except for one who hid during the battle. They cast that one out, and attempt to reason with the Emperor, only to be killed by his army. Soon after, the Emperor is approached by an attractive young woman who claims to admire his beauty, and who he takes alone into his chamber. Turns out "she's" that "cowardly" poet (in quite a remarkable disguise given how Krigstein draws him) and kills the Emperor and slips out.