Monday, June 10, 2013

Comic Review: House of Whacks (Eh!, Charlton Comics)

In 1953, Charlton Comics released the first issue of Eh! (Dig This Crazy Comic), a humor book in the vein of Mad. The first issue is manic and relentless, with visual gags shoved into every nook and cranny available (just look at the splash page below!). Surrounded by the other generic and forgettable stories is one called "House of Whacks", which while it's nothing too special today, is exactly the sort of thing that would have thrilled me as a lad.


Elmer Vampire is a young boy who comes from a very prestigious vampire family, however he is the black sheep. He's not frightening, he's not dangerous, and he's not a very quick study. This results in him getting kicked out of Vampire School. His parents, concerned about the family image, quickly enroll him elsewhere.

First in Ghoul School, to learn how to murder and consume flesh. When that doesn't work out, they enroll him in Monster-Werewolf School, only little Elmer is no better at being a werewolf than he was at being a vampire.

HOUSE OF WHACKS - Elmer at the Wax Works

Elmer is finally disowned by his family, and he strikes out into the world on his own, arriving in the Big City. He tries his hand at a number of different careers, but finds that he is not cut out for any of them. He finally lands a job at a wax works which, through a comedy of errors, leads to him becoming an actor in horror films with titles such as:

The Worms Crawl In
One Short Bier
The Stripped Crypt
The Little Red Ghoulhouse
Bring Me The Hatchet, Grandmaw, I Want To Be A Cut-Up!

In the end, he becomes a huge success, and he regains the love of his parents. But at night, when nobody else is around, Elmer acts normal. "Because first, last, and always...he still is a very nice vampire!"

As a special, added bonus, there were a few beatnik-esque gags that cropped up in some of the panels.

HOUSE OF WHACKS - Beatnik #1HOUSE OF WHACKS - Beatnik #2

To be truthful, the artwork is a little rough and the pacing is all over the place--the page count is far too long for the content--but it still makes me nostalgic for the earlier days of my youth...even though I wasn't born until 26 years after this comic debuted.

EH! #1 can be read in its entirety, free and legally, at the DIGITAL COMICS MUSEUM.


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