Sarah Palin is horror-fied in ‘Tales from the Crypt’

Oct. 18, 2008 | 6:36 p.m.


"Tales from the Crypt" is about to take a whack at the nation’s most famous hockey mom.

The next issue of the horror comic book has Sarah Palin, GOP vice presidential candidate, depicted on its cover swinging a hockey stick and rousting the ghoulish "Crypt" characters made famous in the book’s gory glory days back in the 1950s.

"Didn’t we get rid of you guys in the 50’s?" the Alaska governor asks with a sneer as she scatters the Vault-Keeper and his creepy mates from a stone castle doorway. The poltician is wearing a campaign button that reads "Palin-McCain" — as well as a red top with a plunging neckline.

The cover is a reference to two instances of content debate, one that played out on a national stage and the other a seemingly minor moment in Alaska that has been made major by the current political season.

"Tales from the Crypt " became one of the signature names in horror and American pop culture after five years of memorable mayhem that ended in 1955. That was after months of intense pressure and new industry regulations targeting the lurid comics, spurred by televised Senate subcommittee hearings on juvenile delinquency and its causes.

Palin, meanwhile, has taken heat for some overtures she made in 1996 while as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska. Criticized after reports that she sought to ban books from a local public library, the GOP candidate has said that on two occasions she asked "a rhetorical question" about removing objectionable books from shelves, but that she never pursued it or mentioned specific titles.

But any White House candidate who even entertains a conversation about book banning is a natural enemy to "Tales from the Crypt," according to Jim Salicrup, editor-in-chief of Papercutz, the publisher that revived the classic title about 16 months ago. "This was not a partisan thing. People tend to think of everything as black and white these days — you are either for or against one of the parties 100%. But for us this was about the history of EC Comics, the original publisher of ‘Tales from the Crypt.’ Anyone who knows that history knows that even of whiff of banning books is going to get us angry."

Johnny_craig_cover_crime_suspenstorSalicrup may have a sense of that history, but "Tales from the Crypt" isn’t the book it used be. And Papercutz isn’t putting out anything like the old EC Comics (such as this nasty 1954 classic on the right, with its infamous cover by Johnny Craig).

The Palin cover on "Tales from the Crypt" issue No. 8, for instance, is far closer to "MAD Magazine" in its caricature style and spoof sensibility than the old EC issues with their lurid carnage and moldering corpses. Papercutz specializes in "all ages" comics and published "Nancy Drew," "The Hardy Boys," "Bionicle "and "Classics Illustrated" as well, and its resurrected "Crypt" is far sunnier than its long-dead namesake. The comic book line has favorable reviews, too: The Boston Herald, for instance, said of the less-musty, less-messy "Crypt": "Along with chills and laughs, this tale delivers a smart, sharp jab at celebrity obsession — proving once again that comics are for smart kids."

Parents of young readers may feel better knowing the meat cleavers don’t get used in the "Crypt" revival, but how will they feel about an overt (and one-sided) political parody intruding into the new issue? There’s also an editorial in the Palin-cover issue that was written by Cathy Gaines Mifsud, daughter of the late William Gaines, of EC Comics fame. She also echoes the "this is not partisan" mantra: "Tales From the Crypt is not endorsing any political candidates, nor are we attacking any candidates. What usually seems to be behind banning books is an attempt to repress ideas that may offer alternative political views. This is not only un-American — blatantly violating the very concept of free speech — but it is assuming that people are unable to come to their own informed conclusions."

Salicrup and his team notified retailers in advance about the hot-button comic book on its way to their stores. Most reacted with a shrug, but Dr. No’s, a store in Marietta, Ga., not only declined to carry the book, Salcirup said, they canceled their orders for the entire Papercutz line. Salicrup said that’s the cost of taking a stand. "That’s their right, just as it’s the right of any retailer or library or publisher to make decisions about what is appropriate. It’s not the decision of politicians. That’s our point."

— Geoff Boucher

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Cover of "Tales from the Crypt" No. 8 courtesy of Papercutz.

Crime SuspenStories No. 22 from May 1954 from 2002 handout art from Gemstone Publishers. 

More in: Uncategorized, EC, Politics, Random Silliness


14 Responses to Sarah Palin is horror-fied in ‘Tales from the Crypt’

  1. Mrs. Walton says:

    Tales from the crypt and Sarah Palen is typical of closed minded, intolerant liberals. You are
    jealous of her beauty and intelligence. I pity you all.
    Mrs. Walton

  2. r Tray says:

    Mrs. Walton, if you think Sarah Palin (not Palen) is intelligent, then I reserve the pity for you.

  3. Helena says:

    Dear Mrs. Walton,
    I also am beautiful…and far more intelligent than Sarah Palin.
    We are not envious, nor are we jealous…though I know you would like to think so.
    We simply do not want our country to fall into the hands of a vindictive, manipulating, eye-winking ,grossly ambitious woman who would make us even more a mockery in the eyes of the world…not to mention taking this country straight to hell.

  4. Almost Angeleno says:

    And Mrs. Walton's comments are typical of the illiteracy found in Palin supporters. This time you attribute her qualifications for VP/President as having both brains and beauty. And what was the reason you picked Bush for in 2000/2004…because he was the kind if guy you could have a beer with?
    I pity YOUR ignorance and stupidity.
    A Tolerant Liberal.

  5. Tie Roll says:

    Anyone who thinks Sarah Palin is qualified to lead the country to anything other total disaster is just as delusional as she and John McCain.

  6. notalex says:

    Mrs. Walton,
    If you can get your son Luke to stop sucking, and your husband Bill to shut up, I'll vote any way you tell me.
    Not Alex
    PS: If Sarah Palin is smart, then I must be a genius.

  7. Nosferatu says:

    I vant to see a demonstration of this so called "Intellligence" . Ha ha ha ha !

  8. maxie says:

    It says that people under 13 years of age cannot participate in this message board. One person of such age obviously did participate; if you cannot figure out which one I refer to, you may also think SP is intelligent.

  9. Chris says:

    since when does teleprompter reading qualify as intelligence? i'm from Hollywood, and even here we won't go that far.

  10. Great to see my comics cover make the LA Times site. Oddly enough, when I drew this, I was thinking it could easily be seen as pro-Palin. Republican President Teddy Roosevelt once said, "Speak softly and carry a big (hockey)stick". Besides, when you're in politics, it's best to remember it's better to be the subject of a joke– than to be the joke itself.

  11. Geezzz says:

    Imagine Sarah Palin reacting to Flavor Flav's show Nite Tales… its not the show that scared her but!!

  12. mdk says:

    How classically foolish. Estes Kefauver (the Democrat Senator from Tennessee) is the one most responsible for the attacks on William Gaines and his publishing outfit. He was attacked not by RIGHT WING but by LEFT WING kooks and whatever oppresion he underwent was due to what we call today PC. His comics were attacked for their supposed effects on youth, much the same as Tipper Gore's assault on music lyrics. Only those who cannot comprehend who the enemy is would attack Palin in preciscely the same way that William Gainres was attacked. But Liberals are like that, not much smarter than those who cried Arbeit Macht Frei! while leading their countrymen to the REAL CRYPT OF TERROR.

  13. brettstrodamus says:

    MDK, don't be so simple…work does make you free. Now get back in line, shut up, and march.

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