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Sunday, April 23, 2006

EC - The Screaming Woman (Kamen)

The Screaming Woman!
art by Jack Kamen, story by Ray Bradbury & Al Feldstein
Crime SuspenStories #15 (1953)

Kamen was the most frequent adapter of Bradbury's stories at EC, drawing about a quarter of them. His work fit the subject matter of this particular story nicely, one of those creepy Bradbury pieces which looks at the darkness underneath the bland uniformity of 1950s suburbia. The story features young Margaret, who hears a buried woman screaming while on the way home with some ice cream. At home she has no luck convincing anyone that she's telling the truth.

There's some parenting skills for you...

Margaret doesn't give up, despite many obstacles in her way, until she's lucky enough to find the one clue that would convince her father, the lyrics to a song the buried woman (who happened to once be engaged to Margaret's father) sings that no one else would know.

It's a very odd story, since the behaviour of the parents seems oddly cold and cruel even before they have any reason to think Margaret is making it up. There's also the conspicuous dropping of the song clue in the dialogue which seemed forced. Still, the Kamen art does do a good job with the setting and the characters, and there are some good bits of scripting that serve to add to the creepiness.

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