Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Selling for about $1200 at auction on 15 May 2011 was a page of original art that appeared in James Warren's Creepy #27. The image is 14.5" x 20.5" and is rendered with pen and ink on illustration board.

Following is the description of the lot: 

(Warren Publishing, 1969) 14 ½ in. x 20 ½ in. Pen and ink on board. Original comic artwork by Tom Sutton for “Creepy’s Loathsome Lore” which appeared in Creepy #27, and depicting Boris Karloff in his signature roles in Frankenstein, The Mummy and The Raven. It features Karloff seated with Jack Pierce applying the Monster makeup and being swathed in gauze as the Mummy. Text by Forrest J Ackerman and inscribed by him along the upper margin, “KARLOFF! Man of a thousand faces – from Mummy – slow to swift death from invisible ray’s flow! Ackolyte Forrest J – 1993.” Tom Sutton’s career is synonymous with his work for the horror comic, Creepy. Slight glue residue at the top edge and upper center, light smudging at the margins. A wonderful association between these two icons of horror.

As described, the artwork is attributed to the late Tom Sutton. Unfortunately for the buyer, this is incorrect. The art is by Tony Williamsune (a.k.a. Tony Williamson, Tony Tallarico) and his penciller Bill Fraccio. There are feature stories by both Williamsune and Tom Sutton in this issue, and one only has to compare the two for a definitive answer. Not to fret, however. This nicely rendered artwork has the added bonus of an inscription by Forrest J Ackerman, the person who scripted this particular installment of Creepy's recurring one-page feature, "Loathsome Lore", making it a treasured addition to any monster fan's collection.

Below is the page as it was printed in Creepy's June 1969 issue. While the likeness of Pierce is well done, artistic license was taken with the rest of the scenario; it is unlikely that either one of them spent much time -- if any -- in folding chairs, and Pierce is always pictured wearing a barber's smock when applying makeup, not the safari shirt and cravat seen here. Also noteworthy is the addition of the photo of Karloff's face as the Frankenstein monster to the, ahem, heading.


Sunday, December 7, 2014


The photo shown above appeared in the September 1937 issue of SILVER SCREEN. The caption reads, "John King being made up by Jack Pierce, expert." Anyone familiar with the singular visage of Jack Pierce will know at once that it is certainly not him in the picture. It is instead, most likely an assistant, or even someone merely posing for the publicity shot.

Considering the date of the magazine, the photo is probably from the Universal Picture, THE ROAD BACK, released on 1 June 1937. Scripted by Charles Kenyon and Erich Maria Remarque, it was the sequel to the Academy Award-winning ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT. James Whale was the director, and this was the next film he made after his personal favorite, the musical SHOWBOAT. Other familiar Universal production personnel were involved with the making of THE ROAD BACK, such as Charles D. Hall as Art Director, John P. Fulton creating the special effects, Charles Previn as Music Director, and of course, Jack Pierce heading up the makeup department. For Universal's horror fans, familiar faces seen acting in the film were: Frank Reicher, Lionel Atwill, E.E. Clive, Dwight Frye and Edward Van Sloan.

Another note for fans of Universal's history: soon after the release of Whales' SHOWBOAT, Carl Laemmle was forced out of his company for financial reasons. His son, Junior Laemmle, followed suit. The Laemmles exited the studio that their name created in the early days in Hollywood. It also heralded the end of the classic horror era that Universal created a little over a half-dozen years before. Pierce had about another decade to go until he too was shown the door.