Saturday, 16 July 2011

Yet more Creepy Worlds of Alan Class.

Alan Class, Creepy Worlds, cover

Hi, gang, it's that wonderful time of year again, when the wise man makes like a Beach Boy, grabs his surf board and heads for where the palm trees sway, the girls are tanned and the breakers are as high as houses.


But such seaside antics can mean only one thing; stopping off at the coach station kiosk to stock up on comics for yet another delve into the Creepy Worlds of Alan Class.

But first, a warning to the unwary. Here be spoilers....

Alan Class, Creepy Worlds, mysterious house

We kick off with a fine upstanding couple who find they've won a house in a competition they never entered.

Being fine and upstanding, it's not long before they're conned out of the house by a pair of crooks but, before the dastardly duo can celebrate their triumph, the house blasts off into outer space - with them trapped inside it - revealing itself to be a spaceship placed on Earth to capture two specimens of the human race. The best thing about this tale is the hero seems pathologically incapable of removing the pipe from his mouth. I miss the good old days when you could instantly spot the good guy because he was the one pumping more toxic gases into the atmosphere than the rest of the Western World combined.

Alan Class, Creepy Worlds, abracadabra

Next up's the tale of a washed-up magician who, after being sacked from his latest gig, roams the streets of  his unnamed town and reflects on the days when he had audiences eating from his palms. While he's at it, he inadvertently thwarts a hold-up by making some real magic happen but is so wrapped up in self-pity, he never notices.

Alan Class, Creepy Worlds, a trip into the future

Our third tale brings us a test pilot who's more than a little concerned about where all this fancy new technology's leading us.

Like he should have worried. Upon flying faster than the speed of sound, he lands in the future and discovers it's a lovely place, full of happy smiley people, then returns to the present, relieved that the years to come will be so lovely and fluffy. Just as much as I miss pipe-smoking heroes, I miss the days when it was possible to time travel by going faster than the speed of sound.

Alan Class, Creepy Worlds, the ruthless racing driver

Next up's the tale of a ruthless racing driver who, after causing the death of a rival finds himself on a strange circuit he's never seen before, chased by the cars of dead drivers. Escaping from this nightmare sees him learning to smile for the first time ever. Given that the story starts with him killing a man, you'd have hoped the Dark Powers would've set out to teach him a slightly better lesson in life than how to smile. I suppose this shows why I'll never be one of the Dark Powers and have to leave such things to my glove puppet Crikey.

Alan Class, Creepy Worlds, Neptune's son

Now we move on to a sea captain with a knack for leading his men into danger only for it to always dissipate in the nick of time. At the tale's climax, we discover he's the son of Neptune, on a mission to throw loads of dosh his dad's way before being reclaimed by him. It's not what you could call a riveting read but the story's main charm is at its conclusion when various characters directly address the reader.

Alan Class, Creepy Worlds, dream girl

From the sea to the land, as we encounter a hard-up bloke who doesn't want to sell his island just to keep his nagging girlfriend happy. While he's lying around on that island, waiting for a prospective buyer to arrive, a bunch of olde-style pirates turn up with a beauteous female captive. Our normally laid-back hero defeats them and rescues the girl - only to wake and discover it was all a dream.

But then, miracle of miracles, it turns out his island's prospective buyer's the girl from the dream. It's a tale rather nicely drawn by Angelo Torres who I've never heard anything about but, going on his work in this and the previous Creepy Worlds I've reviewed on here, he had more than a little style about him.

Alan Class, Creepy Worlds, flying man

Next, a pilot repeatedly dreams of a man with home-made wings who keeps plummeting from the sky and having to be rescued by him. It turns out he's only dreaming he's a pilot and he is in fact Leonardo DaVinci.

Alan Class, Creepy Worlds, Nazi scientist

Now we get a Nazi war criminal who tries to steal a growth formula from his young assistant but gets his comeuppance when the walls close in on him. It's a slightly baffling tale and I'm not sure whether its climactic events are supposed to be only taking place in the war criminal's head or not. I do know he's got a strange approach to logic, being under the impression that putting a snake out in cold weather will make it disappear, rather than just causing it to lie around dead.

Alan Class, Creepy Worlds, Ben Parker visits the sphinx

Then there's the tale of old Ben Parker, who's no relation as far as I know to Peter Parker's ill-fated uncle. Instead he has a dull life operating the points on an underground railway. One night he returns home to find a mysterious stranger's out to show him the sights of the world. Parker awakes, two days later, to discover it was all a dream .

Or was it?

Alan Class, Creepy Worlds, parallel worlds

Next, in a tale credited to Joe Sinnott, a cop wishes his life was different and then, when he gets his wish, spends all his time wishing his life was like it'd been in the first place. Some people're never satisfied.

Alan Class, Creepy Worlds, the secret of immortality

Finally we get probably the best thought-out tale of the issue in which a greedy explorer decides to kidnap a mysterious old Oriental man who reputedly has the secret of immortality. But first he has to get past the old man's son. It's only when the explorer gets back to civilisation that he discovers the man he thought was the son is actually the one with the secret of immortality and that he's gone to all that trouble to bring the wrong man back. D'oh!

And so ends yet another journey into all the terror and intrigue that Grimsby can handle.

Well, admittedly, terror's a bit thin on the ground in this comic, and a fair chunk of the tales are more light-hearted than tense but, overall, I think that, thanks to its sheer quaintness, the story of the couple being swindled out of their house is my favourite. The tale being uncredited, I don't know if it was drawn by Don Heck but, if not, it certainly should've been. An honourable mention should go to the Angelo Torres illustrated story. Although it's a pretty  limp tale, it has by far the best art of the issue.


pete doree said...

Hey Steve, Angelo Torres was part of The Fleagle Gang, along with Frank Frazetta & Al Williamson, at E.C. They were like Neal Adams' Crusty Bunkers, in that they all contributed to the same strips, so you never knew who did what. He's been working at MAD since the '70's. A great, under-appreciated artist.

Steve W. said...

Thanks for the info, Pete. There are so many holes in my knowledge.

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