Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Poe 1965, Pt. 6

(Continued from Poe 1965, Pt. 5)

WAR-GODS OF THE DEEP
     (A Movie Classic  /  Conclusion)

Dell Comics were, for many years, the single BIGGEST comics publisher in the country.  Their material was so aggressively family-oriented, that they never even got involved with the Comics Code (and had no problems with distribution, apparently).  Much of their output was in "licensed" characters and series, as well as movie adaptations.  Which brings us to this one.

We finally reach the last of the 5 Dell "Movie Classics" devoted to American International Pictures' POE series, which features an adaptation of the 1st of the post-Roger Corman films.  This features an adaptation that had not been done before in comics...

     "THE CITY IN THE SEA".

Following in the footsteps of Corman's THE RAVEN, the film takes its inspiration from one of Poe's POEMS-- using it as a springboard for an otherwise entirely-new story.  Unlike the previous 8 films, this one had to do without Roger Corman, Richard Matheson, Charles Beaumont, Les Baxter...  at least they had Vincent Price, but I have a feeling even he was feeling lost in this one, and wondering "Why did they bother?"

That's not to say there aren't some interesting ideas here... it's just that most of them seem to have come from Jules Verne, not Poe.  There was a whole run of "psuedo-Verne" films in the mid-60s, and this one seems to have been inspired in equal parts from elements of both 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA and JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH, with a bit of James Hilton's LOST HORIZON thrown in for bad measure.

CITY UNDER THE SEA was released as WAR-GODS OF THE DEEP in the U.S.  Go figure.

John Tartaglione, who did such a wonderful job on the comics adaptation of THE TOMB OF LIGEIA, returned for this one, joined this time by Dick Giordano, who did an even better job on the inks than Vince Colletta did on the other one.  It would prove to be Dell's final foray into Poe-related material.

WAR-GODS OF THE DEEP
photo cover   (Dell  /  July-September 1965)
"WAR-GODS OF THE DEEP"   
     (inspired by "THE CITY IN THE SEA")  /  Version 1
Adaptation by ??  /  Art by John Tartaglione & Dick Giordano
Page 22  /  "And now...  the EPIC conclusion!"
Page 23
Page 24
Page 25
Page 26
Page 27
Page 28
Page 29
Page 30
Page 31
Page 32
The real problems with this story are the lack of character development, the lack of logical actions on the part of the villain (I absolutely despise people who simply CANNOT be reasoned with), and the confusion regarding the locations of one part of the underwater city and another.  For example, the heroes travel underwater to reach the shrine, yet walk only a short distance from there to the rest of the city.  At the climax, they must walk underwater to reach the SAME shrine, and yet are only a short stairway walk back to the surface.

The best thing I can say about the comic-book version, is that the interminably-long and dreadfully-boring underwater climax is reduced to a mere handful of pages, which certainly take less time to read than they did in the movie to watch.

Here's the painting (before text was added) for the poster
     for "CITY UNDER THE SEA"...
And that concludes the Dell Movie Classics section of my POE blog project.  Following a short interrmission, we'll be back with the beginning of the REAL "Golden Age" of POE comics adaptations.  I can hardly wait!

Copyright (C) 1965 by American International Pictures.

Scan of WAR-GODS OF THE DEEP
     from the Heritage Auction site.
Scan of WAR-GODS OF THE DEEP interiors
     from the Pappy's Golden Age Comics blog.

Restorations by Henry R. Kujawa

For more:
Read about Edgar Allen Poe at Wikipedia.

Read about American International Pictures at Wikipedia.
Read about Jacques Tourneur at Wikipedia.
Read about Charles Bennett at Wikipedia.
Read about Louis M. Heyward at Wikipedia.
Read about Vincent Price at Wikipedia.
Read about Tab Hunter at Wikipedia.
Read about Susan Hart at Wikipedia.
Read about David Thomlinson at Wikipedia.
Read about John Le Mesurier at Wikipedia.
Read about the film at Wikipedia.

Read about Dell Comics at Wikipedia.
Read about John Tartaglione at Wikipedia.
Read about Vince Colletta at the Wikipedia site.

Read about Basil Rathbone at Wikipedia.

Read about THE CITY IN THE SEA at Wikipedia.
Read the complete poem at the Classic Literature site.

Hear the Basil Rathbone recording!

Read the John Tartaglione CITY IN THE SEA adaptation!
See the Frank Frazetta CITY IN THE SEA illustrations!

See my Edgar Allan Poe overview at this very blog!

(Continued in Poe 1965, Pt. 7)

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