Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Most Frightening Covers You've Ever Seen--Rhubarb!!

I won't lie--I'm a dog person, not a cat person.

But I'm in a state of detente with felines. So please believe me that it's not ill-will that motivates this judgement.

In 1946 H. Allen Smith wrote the novel Rhubarb. He was a feisty stray cat who was adopted by an eccentric millionaire, and when the rich guy dies, he leaves everything to Rhubarb--including the Brooklyn baseball team!!

Silly, yes, but the book was popular enough to get two sequel books, and in 1951, a film adaptation:

Fun fact--a ridiculously young Leonard Nimoy has a teeny uncredited bit as one of the ballplayers. Other fun fact: 14 different cats portrayed Rhubarb in the film. Oh, the days before CGI...

Anyhoo, as happened with anything remotely popular during the era, Dell leapt in with an adaptation of their own in Four Color #423 (1952). But unlike the relatively benign drawing of Rhubarb on the movie poster, the anonymous artist on the comic cover chose to portray the wealthy kitty as a demon from hell:


Like the novels, Dell dipped twice more into the Rhubarb oeuvre:

AHHHHH still hideous and evil!!!!!

In Four Color #466 (1953), Rhubarb was stepping out at night to hang with his old homey cats, when he is hit in the head and gets...cat amnesia!! An imposter cat takes his place as team owner, hijinks ensue.

And then in Four Color #563 (1954)...


Ahem. Anyway, in this story Rhubarb is kidnapped by a circus and hypnotized to think that he's a dog.

Yes, that sentence is 100% true. Rhubarb is also hypnotized to think he's a seal.

I'm getting distracted here. My main point: unknown artist turns cut comedy cat into hellspawn on Dell covers!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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