Things That Frightened Me as a Child, Part 9

This one ties in to two others! Madness!

First up, it's an EC comic, so assume that I was freaked-out at a low level from cover to cover. I'm pretty sure that this one had a story about people being forced to swallow starving rats, for example - terrific stuff for Grade Five Johnathan.

Secondly, this is a tale about a man who has cancer, and much like the poor kid from the Swamp Thing entry I knew just enough about cancer to be totally freaked out by it. Although if Young Me had had access to the future ladyfriend's pathology textbooks he may never have left the house again. Last night I both learned about a human organ that I'd never heard of before and saw a picture of one riddled with tumors! Huzzah!

This is the tale of a man named Pete, who has either the most or least confidence-inspiring country doctor I have ever seen. On the one hand, his down-home ways and easy explainations of such things as malignant and benign tumours probably make for a pretty good bedside manner, but the way he shouts out SPINAL TAP! BLOOD SAMPLE! in the second panel seems kind of like he's trying too hard, like maybe this is the first case of cancer he's seen in twenty years and he's desperately trying to remember the next thing to do.

I would say something about the doc completely overlooking the possibility of chemo or radiation therapies, but honestly I have no idea when they were introduced. I would like to point out, though, that the tumour is on Pete's forearm, and I don't hear word one about amputating the limb to save the Pete. Why is that? Do arm tumours metastasize especially quickly?

So Pete, bereft of any medical advice better than "go get ready to die," hunts up the local witch and makes what I would generously call a very stupid request: he wanted her to make it so that he would never die. The witch reluctantly does what he asks, under the caveat that he never, ever come back to see her again. Especially when he eventually worked out that he just should have gotten her to cure his cancer.

Folks, I want you to remember for me: if a witch or a genie or something offers you the gift of immortality, remember to ask whether you get to stay young and healthy the whole time. Pete didn't remember, and look at him now. He looks like a hamburger monster.

And of course things keep getting worse and worse as Pete is consumed by his disease. Which brings us around to the setting in which the doc is telling his tale: outside a cave that he and the local menfolk have tracked some sort of horrible monster to.

And that monster is Pete himself, now transformed into a horrific blob of all-consuming flesh. Which is gross on the face of it, but the really disturbing thing about this story, both in the early Nineties and now, is the fact that this is a monsterous extension of something that happens to people all the time. It doesn't bear dwelling on, really. Oh, plus they couldn't actually kill the thing. They just sealed it away in the cave, there to slither around in the darkness forevermore. So gross.

Uh, sorry if this one is depressing you like it is me. I'll try to find something lighter-hearted for the Halloween post proper.

Oh! On a slightly lighter note, here is the cover:

File that sucker in the drawer marked "Way to give away the end of the story on the cover, guys. Geez."