Chicago Spanking Review

Nights of Horror #4

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nights of horror #4

Nights of Horror #4 (1954). "Gar King", the supposed author, was really Clancy, the book's co-publisher. Art by Joe Shuster (click to double-size).

It is not known whether Nights of Horror appeared on anything like a monthly basis; since the publisher, "MALCLA," wasn't using a large printing company the way that comic books did, they didn't have any particular schedule to meet. It seems that they were all put out from June to September, 1954. Probably they were printed whenever Joe Shuster had finished the art and the printer could get around to it. Speaking of the printer, Eugene Maletta, he was actually half of the publishing team: according to him, the writer, "Clancy," approached him with the project, offering him 50% of the profits, thus "MALCLA" (MALetta/CLAncy) was born. It seems, then, that "Clancy" (if that's his real name) was the driving force behind Nights of Horror, and it must have been he who approached Shuster to do the art. Maletta denied to Craig Yoe that he (Maletta) had anything to do with Shuster's hiring, which supports this theory. (For more on the story of Nights of Horror, the reader is encouraged to consult Yoe's book Secret Identity).

That brings us to the question we posed last time: why did Shuster accept such a sleazy assignment? The fact is that both he and Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel had fallen on rather hard times, especially Shuster. For when they created Superman in 1938, they foolishly signed a contract with publisher Harry Donenfield that granted DC the ownership of what would become the most valuable super-hero property of all time. This inequitable arrangement was standard practice in the comics industry, and the publishers deserve our scorn for their behavior, but the creators have to bear their share of the responsibility - they could have held out for a better deal. Of the major super-heroes' creators, only Wonder Woman's Charles Moulton and Batman's Bob Kane did substantially better than Siegel and Shuster.

When the expiration date of their contract to do the Superman newpaper strip approached, Siegel and Shuster decided to sue Donenfield. In 1948 they lost the case except for the relatively unimportant matter of the separate Superboy character (Superman when he was a boy), and of course after that they could get no more work from DC.

joe shuster girl for sale spanking nights of horror #1

From Nights of Horror #4 (1954), exact publication date unknown. Taken from Secret Identity and posted by the Web-Ed on 03/15/2013 (click to double-size).

No one really knows how Shuster made his living during the early 1950's. He seems to have worked as a delivery man, and there are rumors that he did some science-fiction artwork, but it's unlikely he could have found much if any work in comics, for by 1952 the industry was already in trouble and in 1954, the year Nights of Horror came out, the implementation of the Comics Code only added to its woes (see our article The Effects of the Comics Code, Part 1 for more about this topic). Note that after 1956 even Bill Ward couldn't find work in comics, so there's no way that Shuster, with his failing eyesight and old-fashioned style, could have.

From the fact that the writer, Clancy, was the driving force behind Nights of Horror, and from Shuster's inabiility to get work in comics, it's clear that financial necessity and not a kinky streak lay behind Shuster's decision to do this kind of work. (Why Shuster didn't try to sell cartoons to Humorama before about 1960 is not clear; perhaps it was simply the low payment rates). The one bright spot for us spankos is that in the midst of the general B & D stuff, which ranged from boring to vile, were some decent spanking illustrations the next one of which appeared in issue #4.

The observer to our left is actually the spankee's husband, a man with definite voyeuristic tendencies (it was a forced marriage); the spanker himself appears to just be someone the husband brought in to do the job he should have attended to himself. While the overall composition is constrained by Clancy's "vision," Shuster does some of the details quite well. For example, the OTK position is halfway to good - that is, the spankee is attractively positioned well bent-over with her bottom raised high, but she doesn't seem to "fit" the spanker's lap terribly well (a problem that surfaced with some of the Humorama spanking cartoons as well). Shuster's spankees are drawn in much the same style as his Lois Lane and other female characters from Superman except they have fuller busts, which few could object to. Her panties around her ankles is a nice touch, and as we observed last time a bare bottom was rather daring in the context of an OTK spanking in 1954.

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