By ruckus24 3 Comments
So, here's the deal. In the letters page for the Harlan Ellison penned Incredible Hulk #140, the editor lets it spill that adaptation writer Roy Thomas gave the readers a little bonus for April Fools Day. The publication date of the book was April 1st. According to the paragraph, Roy Thomas worked in the titles to "over twenty Harlan Ellison stories (namely, the entire contents page of Paingod and Other Delusions and The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World)" as dialogue and narration script.
Chris Day, the master archivist of all things Sequential Ellison, (yes he's the web master at the Sequential Ellison website.) threw down a bit of a challenge to any sharp eyed reader that wanted to tackle it, to find all the titles in question. Since he's never tried it, and my ultimate goal is that his web site be the most complete repository of Ellison related comics knowledge on the planet, except for Comic Vine, I thought I'd give it a whirl.
A quick dig through my book archive revealed that I do in fact have copies of both Paingod and Other Delusions and The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World in editions printed prior to 1971, which would have been the editions that Roy Thomas was working from, thus negating the need to reference the vile Wikipedia or the inestimable Ellison Webderland.
If anyone else has the urge to dig through a silver age comic for Ellison related trivia, let me know. I'd be interested in the results. Harlan Ellison fans are legion, but I'm not sure a lot of us read comics to the extent we should. A fact that would make Uncle Harlan sad on a good day, and angry on any other day. And believe you me, you wouldn't like Harlan when he's angry.
The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World
1. The cover copy is an obvious play on the title.
2. Introduction: The Waves In Rio- page 8 panel 2
3. The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World- While it doesn't appear verbatim, it is used as the story title with a little bit of tweaking.
4. Along The Scenic Route- page 11 panel 6
5. Phoenix- page 7 panel 4
6. Asleep With Still Hands- page 15 panel 1
7. Santa Clause vs. S.P.I.D.E.R.- page 14 panel 3 (sort of, the title was adjusted to read Spider-Man, but close enough.)
8. Try A Dull Knife- page 14 panel 1
9. The Pitll Pawob Division- page 12 panel 1 (Kudos for working that one in.)
10. The Place With No Name- page 6 panel 4
11. White on White- page 18 panel 6
12. Run For the Stars- page 15 panel 3
13. Are You Listening?- page 7 panel 3
14. S.R.O.- page 15 panel 1 (This one makes no sense in the Narration, but it's there, nice try anyway.)
15. Words To Kill- (Could not find this one at all, which is odd because you'd think it would be easy to work in.)
16. Shattered Like A Glass Goblin- page 13 panel 1 (Believe it, it's there verbatim.)
17. A Boy and His Dog- page 7 panel 5
Paingod and Other Delusions
1. Introduction: Spiro Meloriai: From The Vicinity of Alienation- (Definitely not used.)
2. Paingod- page 7 panel 3
3. Repent Harlequin Said the Tick Tock Man- page 13 panel 1 (He stretches for it, but it's there.)
4. The Crackpots- page 16 panel 3
5. Sleeping Dogs- (Couldn't find this one either. Again, you'd think this would be easy to work in.)
6. Bright Eyes- page 8 panel 6
7. The Discarded- page 15 panel 5
8. Wanted In Surgery- page 14 panel 6 (Not bad considering this story takes place in a fantasy setting.)
9. Deeper Than The Darkness- page 6 panel 4
Well there you have it, all but three titles from the indica of both books. It makes for some cornball dialogue and really odd narration, but strangely enough, Thomas made it work. Special mention on page one, the recap is described as a "Dangerous Vision" which is a nod to Ellison's groundbreaking and multiple award winning speculative fiction anthology from 1967. And on page 8 in panel 1 and 5, the strange noise that the crowd makes, "mrmee, mrmee, mrmee, is actually the last thing that The Tick Tock Man says when it's pointed out to him that The Harlequin has made him late. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking up the dove audio version of Repent Harlequin Said The Tick Tock Man. It's read by Harlan, and when he gets to that last part... chilling.