Thriller #5

We continue to look at Thriller, the out-of-continuity experimental comic that DC Comics produced in the early-mid 1980’s.  Thriller #5 has a publishing date of March 1984, and is one I read a looooong time after I read #4.

It’s from here that I’m really wondering how what was going on in this series, so this will be interesting.    Thriller is one of the more dense and oblique mainstream comics I have read, so this series is really me journalling my own attempts to understand it.

Thriller 5 Cover

Read all about #4 here

Cover

An unknown figure holding a guitar seems to be leaping in front of Data’s car.  Presumably this is “The One The Only Kane Creole!” as promised on the cover text.

Pages 1

A toe-tapping, finger snapping Elvis Presley look-a-like carrying a twin-necked guitar walks into a bank.  Nearby, a movie theatre or something advertises their next feature, “A One & A Two”.

Pages 2-3

In the bank, this guy introduces himself as Kane Creole and begins to perform for everyone.

Thriller 5b

The bank management put up with it because he’s not bothering anyone, and he does “look like him” and apparently also can “play like him.”  By the end of his performance everyone is cheering for Kane.  Amongst these is a bank teller named Marjorie Wilkins–she’s the one the Molluskan terrorists robbed back in Issue #2–and since then she’s applied for a new job out of mid-town.

Anyway, Kane suddenly turns his guitar on a bank guard and announces that it is also a shotgun.

Thriller 5c

The last panel identifies this story as “Down Time Part Five” which confused me at the time, as I assumed that “Down Time” had ended the previous issue.

Page 4

Edward Thriller sits in the dark, looking at newspaper clippings of his life (when he discovered a cure for cancer, and when his wife was “killed” during his experiment.)  He mopes about how foolish he was, and how he needs to know his wife can hear him and forgive him, and if she still loves him…now that they share a body and have to alternate controlling its consciousness.

Page 5

Tony is at his mother’s cafe, talking about her new eyes and new ability to see.  The eyes came from Malocchia, a hypnotist, and it seems that Mariette has now inherited this power, which she uses by making Tony eat more meatballs!

Thriller 5d

Pages 6-8

Dan shows his family albums to Crackerjack, talking about how his father tore out his pictures of his mother after she died.  He has been angry about this, but is coming to understand his father’s misguided motives.

Suddenly, White Satin shows up with Tony, who is suffering from all the pasta he’s eaten!

Thriller 5e

Meanwhile, baby Scotty is crying, but Edward Thriller is sleeping through it.  Suddenly, Edward vanishes, and Angeline Thriller appears to her son as a disembodied face hovering over him.  there is also a big picture of ET, the Extra-Terrestrial from the movie on the wall.

The credits call this issue “All Shook Up,” and acknowledge the contributions of Robert Loren Fleming–Writer, Trevor Von Eeden–Penciller, Dick Giordano–Inker, Lynn Varley–Colorist, Todd Klein–Letterer, and Alan Gold–Editor.

Pages 9-10

Angeline plays with Scotty for a bit before disappearing again.  Then she talks to Tony (via her face on his hand) about the fact that they have to tell their mother the truth, something Tony is scared to do.

Pages 11-14

Dan, White Satin, and Crackerjack are all with Data in his car.  They need to stop at a bank, as White Satin needs traveler’s checks for a few days off to visit Hamburg to see her parents.  They are revealed to be Ethel and Spencer Valentine, the founders of the St. Valentine Organization.  Janet deflects any attention by saying that Data’s father is president of the United States (“I’m urging him to repaint the house,” says Data.)  Crackerjack chimes in with the fact that his father owns the largest poop farm in all the hispanic nations.

Thriller 5f

While Janet and Dan go to the bank, Crackerjack pulls a water pistol on Data for not taking him into a particular store, and starts shooting him. Amusingly, he uses the word “drapes” instead of “curtains” when he’s trying to imitate “gangster-talk.”

Incidentally, Dan is colored through all this with more brown than blond hair, which I found a bit confusing.

Inside the bank, Dan and Janet run into Kane Creole again, calling him by name.  Until he did so, I didn’t know for sure whether Kane Creole was supposed to be a famous person in the Thriller universe, or whether this Kane Creole was supposed to look like Elvis Presley.

Anyway, Dan suddenly collapses (its revealed later that Kane shoots tranquilizer darts, but there’s no indication that Kane shot him), and a bank guard shoots Kane hitting him the shoulder.  Kane does some fancy acrobatics and fires back.  He jumps through the window and comes face to face with Crackerjack and his water pistol.

Thriller 5gWithout thinking, Kane shoots Crackerjack, shocking everyone including himself.

Pages 15-17

Data flips out and starts chasing Kane, who continues to fancy flips and make Elvis Presley homages (“I think this guy’s trying ta run over ma blue suede shoes!!” etc).

Data has Kane trapped against a wall, and is potentially about to kill him when Janet and Dan show up and announce Crackerjack is okay, since Kane shoots mild sedative pellets.

Pages 18

Tony finds his mother in Beaker Parrish’s church, and sits down to tell her the truth about Angie.

Thriller 5j

Pages 19-21

Edward writes his wife a letter, expressing his emotions from earlier.  In his sleep, Angie reads the letter, reads his expression of love for her, and writes back, “I love you too, Angie.”  Edward wakes and reads this, and then realizes that he can feel Angie in his heart–that indeed he has two heartbeats!  He jumps for joy.

Thriller 5l

Pages 22-23

Dan wakes up because Scotty is crying through the night.  He ponders that at least Scotty will know what his mother looked like, where he doesn’t remember.  But as he pulls out his photo album again, he finds that a picture that was torn in half (with him only having one side) is now restored completely, revealing his mother.  There is no explanation given for this, except that Dan credits Thriller.

Meanwhile, Marietta is ready to freak out about her daughter’s “death” until she manifests in front of her, in the fireworks.  Edward, Dan and Marietta all enjoy the fireworks and Thriller’s manifestation as well.

Thriller 5m

Page 24-25

The book’s second letter column, entitled Filler.  In it, Robert Loren Fleming states offers up a contest for the best constructive criticism of the current issue.  The prize for everyone who ends up featured in that column is a copy of the future Issue #8, autographed by both Robert Loren Fleming and Trevor Von Eeden.  I wonder what happened with that, as Fleming’s last issue was #7 (Von Eeden’s was #8).

Also, in this letter column Fleming comments that he will continue to write Thriller until “either the book dies or I do”.  Again, this proved to not be the case, and later a future letter column had to explain away this comment given the act that Fleming had left.

As a final word, this issue isn’t nearly as confusing as I expected it to be.  However, it does avoid giving any hint about Kane Creole’s identity or motivations, leaving all that for the future, so that might be the confusing I’m remembering.

Read on to #6 (soon!)

 

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