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Monday, October 23, 2006

Spooktoberfest Special: The Spine-Tingling Terror of the Demon!

The world of Jack Kirby is not a subtle one. How do I know this?

Let's just call it a hunch.

My pal Scott has always said that the most terrifying thing he can imagine would be getting trapped in an alley with Ghost Rider on one end and Etrigan on the other, and after reading The Demon #13--the October issue, no less--I'm inclined to agree with him. Especially considering that Etrigan spends the majority of this issue just busting through walls and making pretty specific threats against the best-named villain in the history of comic books, BARON VON EVILSTEIN.

Admittedly, his real name is actually Baron Von Rakenstein, but since he's pretty busy unleashing an army of horrific monstrosities from a secret laboratory beneath Batman's hometown, he doesn't exactly rush to correct anybody.

But lest you think that he's just another misunderstood scientist whose well-intentioned experiments in demonology went awry, let's have a look at page two:

Yes, if the name alone didn't tip you off, the monocle, the moustache with four total inches of head clearance, the hunchbacked assistant, and what appears to be a leprechaun skeleton dangling from the roof ought to give you a pretty good idea of why he goes by the nickname.

The beauty of the story, like most of my favorite Kirby stories, is that it's esssentially 22 pages of utter chaos that--once you get past the opening splash pages and eliminate the subplot revolving around one of Evilstein's misshapen creatures finding love in the big city--can pretty much be explained in about five panels, each of which contains the sum total of information for the entire story. It's like a hologram, only with more explosions. Explosions that, for some reason, go "Spoossh."

To that effect:

Which leads to:

(This guy, incidentally, is not techincally essential to the plot, but he is yet another example of one of my favorite Kirby tropes, The Incredulous Bystander. Often seen while someone is "crashin' thru," he's a guy who is freaking out so hard at what he's seeing that he cannot believe it. The background crowds of OMAC are almost entirely composed of these guys just standing around gawking while OMAC beats up... well, just about everyone else, really.)

But then!


And that's how the Demon turned Baron Von Evilstein and Igor into vultures.

To be honest with you, I really have no idea how that last one happens, but, well, like the man says...

...it's probably best if I just assume it worked out for the best.

More Chills and Thrills From Spooktoberfest 2006!

| The Relatively Serious Review of Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service (With Bonus Flamewar!) |
| The Mind-Melting Horror of Halloween With Tarot |
| The Horror of Haunted Love! |


Blogger Corey said...

While The Incredulous Bystander is awesome, I like to think that he's that exciteable about everything.

Because really, when you live in a city where a homocidal clown builds a house shaped like his face and can only be stopped by a man in bat-colored tights, not much should rattle you.

A demon leaping out of a sewer in persuit of a devastatingly facial haired man should be standard operating procedure.

10/24/2006 2:19 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, Baron von Evilstein has to be the best named character ever to exist in human fiction. And damn, that Demon logo from page one, is really one of the best.

Also, on the cover of this very issue, what do we find?
"I'm unleashing every terrible thing your mind can think of! Can you take it?
Nice choice man!

10/24/2006 2:42 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man, look at that double-page spread! Absolutely gorgeous. Kirby never ceases to amaze.

10/24/2006 3:13 AM

Blogger Unknown said...

Doom! Doom is the destiny for both of you

So Baron von Evilstein and Igor go on to somehow fuse together and rule Latveria, eh? Well, I guess the Baron and the Doctor both share the same middle name.

10/24/2006 7:31 AM

Blogger SallyP said...

There is such a magnificently horrible fascination to this whole issue. I mean really...Baron Von Evilstein? I WAS planning on being an evil overlord and ruling the world with my evil minions, but this...this is truely a spectactularly ridiculous name. Except that I want to be a Baroness.

(Cue: evil laughter)

10/24/2006 9:25 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn, that's some fine Kirby there.

The leprechaun skeleton, though...that could have a come from a child, or maybe a midget. Pick whichever option you prefer, depending on how you feel about fairy shoemakers, children, and the vertically challenged.

10/24/2006 10:59 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this Etrigan experimenting with free verse, or did he not use to rhyme? It's like Big Blue's x-ray vision. I know he didn't start off with it, but I can't imagine him without it.

10/24/2006 11:43 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


I haven't got past the 1st pic and I had to post how AWESOME a name that is!

THAT is KIRBY for "subtle".

I can't stop smiling now.

Frankly I don't know if I should even READ the rest of the post.
Can Sims TOP "Baron Von Evilstein" for pure yuks per mile?

I dunno.
I guess I'll HAVE to find out.


10/24/2006 1:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, my sweet Kirby!
How awesome thou werest.

I would have just died if one of the vultures had a monacle and the other a pronounced hump.

Now and forever.


10/24/2006 1:10 PM

Blogger Mark Kardwell said...

I've got this in a box up in the attic, but god, how I want it in an over-sized glossy hardcover reprinting every issue. How come wishy-washy KAMANDI gets a series of archives and THE DEMON and OMAC don't? Let's face it, they could both be "done in one" deals anyway.

10/24/2006 6:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

the best-named villain in the history of comic books, BARON VON EVILSTEIN.

On first glance, I read the ne'er-do-well's name as Baron Von ELVISstein. I must say, I was ever-so-slightly disappointed Etrigan didn't wind having to fight animated, demonic peanut-butter-and-nanner sammiches or something.

10/24/2006 8:23 PM

Blogger Chance said...

I've always liked Kirby, but this particular spread shows that he really is The Awesome.

10/25/2006 4:25 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Is this Etrigan experimenting with free verse, or did he not use to rhyme?"

I believe Alan Moore added the rhyming in Swamp Thing.

10/26/2006 3:24 PM

Anonymous Jasper said...

Pretty worthwhile piece of writing, much thanks for the post.
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11/28/2011 1:15 AM


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