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Saturday, May 20, 2006

EC - Close Shave (Crandall)

Close Shave
art by Reed Crandall, story by Otto Binder
Weird Science-Fantasy #27[#5] (1955)

This is one of my favourite Crandall stories from EC. Some really great detailed artwork which tells the story nicely, despite sometimes being weighed down by the lengthy captions. Binder had some imaginative plots, but he can lay on the florid prose at times.

This story opens with Jay, in his solar apartment, breaking up with his fiancee Vida, claiming he's not the man she thinks he is. She tries to figure this out, thinking back on their relationship and how she was attracted to his devotion to social justice, like discrimination against aliens like the ape-like Ganymedians.

As she ponders the situation, news breaks that some Ganymedians had been passing as humans by shaving off their hair, and could inter-breed with humans, and they're being stripped of their rights. Vida returns to Jay, expecting him to lead the fight against this, and he finally reveals he's one of those "passing" Ganymedians. Vida reveals that she's one of them as well....

But of course, what makes it art is the final twist, the fact that Vida is lying, and is in fact human.

A nice parable, alluding to some of the issues of the 1950s without being too preachy, and a few nice twists. I do think it would be better with less florid captions, but still good, and some amazingly detailed art by Crandall.

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