Monday, May 07, 2007

Comic Book Censorship: Changed Ending

This story from Strange Mysteries #10 (1963, reprinted from Strange #2, 1957) is about Wilbur, a bland man who dies and is sent to limbo. He is unqualified for either Heaven or Hell because in life he was so bland he never did anything particularly good or bad, so he is barred from entering an after-life realm unless one of the deities agrees to let him enter. After hearing his appeals God and Satan both reject Wilbur and he gets a chance to return to Earth and live again, this time to spend the remainder of his life being more than a passive spectator.
What is worthy about the story to note is that the panel art seems to tell a different climax to the tale than the narrative. If the text is ignored, Wilbur appears angered and murderous, hands clutched preparatory to strangling the woman silhouetted in the upstairs window of the house. The images as drawn would fit the usual style of the "twist" ending common with the crime and horror comic books of a slightly earlier era. In 1957 when the story was originally published and in 1963 when reprinted, the Comics Code was in full swing and the story was likely to have been changed to have a happier ending more in line with comic book decency standards.



  1. "Martha's happiness truly BEGAN to START..."

    Changes or no, this is indeed great literature.

  2. You guessed right. Both versions of the story were examined in an issue of "Tales Too Terrible to Tell" (I think). Among the changes: Our Hero indeed planning to murder Martha, Total Beyotch Martha berating Wilbur's dead body instead of worrying aloud about him, and Satan drawn as a demon instead of a shadowy guy in a cloak. The censors were quite the busy little paste-up bees in those days!


Moderation enabled only because of trolling, racist, homophobic hate-mongers.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.