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No… not the Mercy Tube!

I’m blogging today to mark the arrival of an advance copy of the UK Candle Man, with a cool and very different cover from the US version.

About a year ago I went into the offices of Egmont UK with a pile of photocopies of the covers of old sixties comic ‘The Witching Hour’. I was trying to suggest ideas for the feel of the book cover, and these creepy old comics kept coming to mind. These are the kind of mags that have a shadowy figure on the front screaming: “MY FACE — WHAT’S HAPPENED TO MY FACE?!” or some such to lure you into peeking inside.

You can see such wonders on this brilliant site:

It was the imagery of these comics that partly inspired me on the road to inventing Candle Man, rich as they are in artworks where tall candles drip and stream wax across the floor of some cobwebbed mansion while two lost children tread innocently up the stairs, to meet… well you can imagine the rest.

The UK cover pleases me because it links Candle Man to its roots in the world of comics – especially the American comics of the sixties. The glowing device trapping our hero on the cover image is the Mercy Tube – and this kind of contraption is straight out of the realm that comics greats Stan Lee and Jack Kirby dreamt up for us in the sixties.

Together and apart, Stan and Jack created such mindblowing notions as the Negative Zone. the Ultimate Nullifier, Ego the Living Planet, The Silver Surfer, the Boom Tube and the Cosmic Cube.

Not to mention the Fantastic Four, the X-Men and Fin Fang Foom!

Oh to be walking in such footsteps.

It’s fun that the designer at Egmont UK, Lee Bruce, after being shown the more old-school horror stuff, took a lateral jump through the comics vortex and brought the Mercy Tube to life in a more Kirby-mungous way.

Anyway, how can you argue with man whose name is such an easy anagram of Bruce Lee?

I don’t suppose it even counts as an anagram.

If you haven’t done so, check out the Candle Man page on this site for the image, and I hope you’ll check out the UK Candle Man when it hits the shops in March. It contains a sneaky extract from book two, in which two innocent kids creep into a graveyard and … well, you’ll find out.

Chilling laughter fades upon the air…


About Glenn Dakin

Glenn Dakin is a writer, cartoonist and editor. He is author of the Candle Man series of fantasy novels for Egmont. His best-known comics are Abe - an autobiographical strip (Top Shelf);Temptation (Penguin Books and Active Images); Spider-Man heroes and Villains (Eaglemoss);the Rockpool Files (With Phil Elliott, Slave Labor/Marvel UK); Robot Crusoe (Funday TImes); Plasmer (Marvel UK); Clan Destine (Marvel USA).

3 responses to “No… not the Mercy Tube!

  1. John T ⋅

    Great cover, although it reminds me as much of Doctor Who as it does classic horror comics (no bad thing by the way).

    I love Kirby – not only the artwork but the dialogue, every balloon and caption invested with Jack’s inimitable weird syntax, as in:

    ‘KIRBY’S the name! And COMICS is my game!!
    I can tell you, pals, I enjoy every minute of it! – sure, it’s great, going ’round that big creative “bend” and bringing in a sensational “NEWIE!” But the “BIGGIES” of the golden age of comics remain a GIANT experience in themselves!! Try a bag of genuine Golden Age “GRABBERS!”‘

    What was he on about? WHAT?!? Will we ever truly know? Good old Jack!

  2. Colin T

    Ah, those are some great covers. I have a few of those! Say, the lazy among us sure would be grateful for a link to your site somewhere on the blog (I come here via that RSS thing)…

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