Thursday, April 13, 2006

EC - Yellow (Davis)

Yellow!
art by Jack Davis, story by Al Feldstein
Shock SuspenStories #1 (1952)

The war SuspenStory for the debut issue of this EC sampler title comes from Davis and Feldstein. Colonel Henderson's troops are cut off from headquarters because the Germans have cut their lines. At the same time he's told by one of his captains that his son, Lieutenant Henderson, is a coward. He reacts, naturally enough, with denial, insisting that his son be put in charge of the mission to restore their lines to HQ. The son of course runs off and abandons his men at the first sign of the Germans, so a court-martial is convened and the son in quickly convicted and sentenced to death by firing squad. The father tells him that the guns will be loaded with blanks, and they'll be breaking camp right after the execution, so if the boy plays dead he'll be able to get away. That allows the boy to face the squad as something other than a cowardly mess as the very real bullets take his life. That's one cold father...

A good story (based on an anecdote in a Bennett Cerf book, according to the EC index in TALES OF TERROR) and some spectacular artwork by Davis. I especially like the title page, with a 2/3 page shot of the cowardly soldier in full panic mode and the final image of him dying with a smile on his face.

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