Monday, November 9, 2009
What Was The Missing Piece for Mr. Jigsaw??... Scary Tales #38
Okay, this is NOT a Silver Age comic. But bear with me. See, when I was a kid, I bought my comics from the spinner rack at the local Rexall drug store, conveniently placed on my route home from school. I mostly bought GI Joe and Transformers and Indiana Jones. I wasn't much on superhero comics when I was eleven. I had been let down by how little the superheroes of the late 1970's had resembled my beloved Superfriends and wouldn't get sucked back into superheroes for another couple years (by Alpha Flight, of all things!). I had previously purchased an issue of Scary Tales when I was eight and it had scared the Hell out of me. I had since avoided horror comics.
But this day, something about this comic caught my eye. Maybe it was the mystery as to why Scary Tales had a superhero on the cover. Maybe it was because, once I had seen Mr. Jigsaw, Man of a Thousand Parts, I had to know what this was all about.
At any rate, I coughed up the $0.60 (which was almost enough to get two Zero bars!) and took it home.
Now, I'm not going to pretend this comic was some work of genius, ahead of its time- although it was a breath of fresh air. No, what's great about this comic is it's unfulfilled potential. See, Charlton had already tried superheroes in the 1960's and decided to get out of the sandbox (except for 1973's E-Man). They sold their stable of 60's heroes to DC, who would eventually order a script written to use them that would become the Watchmen- look, that's a whole other story.
Back to the potential. The thing is, Charlton took a new hero comic and gave it top billing and the cover in Scary Tales. That's almost exactly how Marvel broke back into the superhero business in the 1960's. All their now-famous heroes (well, except for the Fantastic Four and the Hulk) began life in comics like Tales to Astonish and Tales of Suspense and Amazing Fantasy and Strange Tales.
So, yeah. This single issue of Scary Tales was like a time bomb. But it never went off.
Mr. Jigsaw is a fairly entertaining hero conceptually, with a quirky charm that reminds me of Plastic Man. Sadly, even if he had been picked up as a regular feature, 1985's Watchmen and Batman: the Dark Knight Returns would have buried him with their grim and gritty backlash.
I have posted the entire story here for your enjoyment. Just click on the pages to see them bigger
Oh! and where the pages are crooked- Charlton printed them that way.
Special thanks to Scott M. at "Seduction of the Indifferent" for reviewing this comic on his blog and reminding me it existed. Also to Mykal at "Gold Key Comics!" for indirectly giving me the idea to just post the whole 12 page story.
UPDATE!: Since this story was posted, this blog became aware of the continued existence of Mr. Jigsaw. To read about his more recent adventures and to check out our interview with Mr. Jigsaw co-creator, Ron Fortier, check out this later post: