Comic Fandom Monthly, No. 2 (October 1971), page 12-13


Dublin Core


Comic Fandom Monthly, No. 2 (October 1971), page 12-13


Continuation on the previous article about the Heap and the beginning of an article about censorship in fiction.


Joe Brancatelli


Comic Fandom Monthly, No. 2 (October 1971)




Norman Masters
Fredric Wertham



there are too many precise details to Man-
Thing for the kind of origin he and the Heap
had. Both Heaps in their amorphous blobbish-
ness, seem more appropriate.)
How did the original Heap stories compare
to the current one? Not as smoothly told,
but I'll probably always be fond of that
first one. The story opens with a stubborn
father and his son, who the Count accuses of
being a coward. Franz, due to his father's
folly, is bitten by werewolf, therefore be-
coming a werewolf himself. Later he becomes
a World war I pilot who crashes because he's
forced to fly when the moon is full (and, of
course, turns into a werewolf at the control
panel). His old friend, Eric Van Emmelman,
watches his crash, which leaves him open to
be shot down, which he is. Emmelman plunges
into the swamp of Nassau and emerges as the
Heap. Then he is drawn back to Hungary.Then
he extracts retribution on his friend's fat-
her, and, on the last page, is attacked by
a wolf which he chokes to death. In the last
memorable panel stands the Heap, holding the
body of his dead friend Franz, the werewolf
Surge lifted from him because his father is
The story was a little weak in its lack
of adherence to typical werewolf lore, but,
if nothings else, in simply breaking the set
pattern it maybe gains thereby.
The only other original Heap story I have
is in the Oct. l95l issue of Airboy. It's
pretty inferior. The Heap battles a plant
gone wild. This scienctist's assistant, see
is going to prove he's the greatest boton-
ist in the world... However, when I chanced
upon that issue, my susceptibility to the
emotional aura that makes for a personal
golden age was gone.
The new Heap--in Heap #1--had its touch
of human pathos, as did that first Heap saga
I read. The blind girl bit (in Heap #1) is
an old plot device, but it works, occasion-
ally on this heart of anthracite...
I also happen to enjoy the villains the
new Heap is dealing with for--again--I sus-
pect have become nostalgic reasons. There
were few chances to read comics between l952
and l957. In the earliest of them, about the
only time there was any opportunity was when
our whole family went over to visit Uncle
Marion's (who let his kids buy and own com-
ics). About one time a year, we would get
over there to visit, and I, hardly able to
restrain myself, would start looking around
the place for comics, throwing myself into

Opposite: Top: Hillman's Heap as he appeared
in 1955. Bottom: Skywald's Heap in 1971. All
characters C , 1971 their respective publis-
hers, aZZ rights reserved.

the spell of those multi-colored pages as
soon as I latched on to a couple. Trouble
was--all Uncle Marion's kids bought were the
awful horror comics--and I hated them. But
being as they were the only things available
at the moment, I still read them, filled
with dread, praying for just one happy end-
ing. (one time I thought--this one has to
end happily! The guy's telling it in the
first person, so he still has to be alive
at the end; so for once everyone isn't going
to be horribly killed off! Ah, but I was in-
nocent and naive then. Indeed he was alive
at the end--or should I say it was alive at
the end--but when he saw his reflection he
sure was wishing he wasn't...) I would have
nightmares after coming home from Uncle Mar-
ion's those times (the most memorable being
swept downstream and drowning in a river of
blood), but at this late date in time, al-
most 20 years later, even those frightfully
dreadful pages have taken on an aura of nos-
tolgia. At any rate, villains like the Scy-
the and the Horror Master (particularly that
latter with the page of resurrected corpse-
portraits of Rasputin, Hitler,Caligua, Luc-
retia Borgia, etc.) have a reminiscent air
of those old pages I detested so fully then.
Ah yes, those evocatively mouldering flesh-
dripping corpses... I
So I guess I mainly like the Heap for old
time's sake--which, I have to admit, is as
good a reason as any. I have reservations a-
bout whether it's really any good or not--
measured son any scale of quality--but why-
bother trying to evaluate it that way, any-
way, if you're enjoying it.


DR. WERTHAM is one of the foremost psychiatrists in the world and generally recog-
nized as the authority on violence, a field he has pioneered for years and about which he
has written many books, articles and essays. His most recent work is A Sign For Cain: An
Exploration of Human Violence.

If the trumpet give an uncertain sound,
who shall prepare himself to the battle.
I Corinthians

We live in an age of classified movies and classified information. The juxta-
position is not as far-fetched as it seems. A lot of classified material in Washing-
ton deals with violence, and so do many films. We haven’t much chance to ask
questions about classified information (Green Berets, etc.); but we can question
the rating system of presentations on the screen.
What the classification of movies has accomplished is that it has pacified
critics. That was its purpose and that is its achievement. In reality the rating
system is a mixture of makeshift and make-believe—-makeshift because it is not
by any means a decisive step, and make-believe because it claims to be one. It
means trifling with serious problems while leaving the issues unresolved. As
Bertolt Brecht wrote:
“We are left to see perplexed and nettled
The curtain down and no questions settled.”
In the background of movie classification and its evaluation after a year’s time
are two extreme social attitudes, two pressure systems one might say, meteoro-
logically speaking. One is moral indignation, which the philosopher Max Scheler
has said is part of middle-class psychology and often represents a disguised form
of repressed envy. This attitude asks for repression a tout prix, legal repression.
At the other extreme is the fashionable pseudolibertarian view according to which
films are merely fiction and therefore harmless; that they have no bad effects and
whatever effects they may have are too trivial to bother with. Moreover our dem-
ocratic freedom demands that “we must run the risk of a child seeing a hurtful
movie.” All this has been said and written many times. What is asked for by
this attitude is the complete absence of all restrictions, voluntary or legal. It is
very much like the escapism of absolute pacifism, which leaves untouched all
concrete questions about why wars start and why they can’t be ended.
If you speak to the average solid intellectual about the excess of brutality and
cruelty in some movies and indicate that there is a problem, the chances are--
as I have often found—-that he will immediately respond “Censorship is not the
answer.” This is true enough. Censorship is not the answer; it is not even the
question. Speaking of movies Al Morgan, the former producer of the Today show,
recently wrote: “We react to one word the way the Wolf Man used to react to a
sprig of wolfbane over the heroine’s door. The word of course is censorship.”
To balance it off, he suggests introducing another word, responsibility.
There is little display of responsibility in the rating system. With one stroke it
sweeps all problems under the rug. It does not admit that there is anything what-
soever wrong. It merely wants to appease the “unnecessary concern” of parents
and Nervous Nellies like myself. Far from attempting to change anything, it
preserves the status quo with its inevitable crescendo of what is euphemistically
called permissiveness, or naively, liberty.