Murder, Morphine And Me

Jack Cole’s “Murder, Morphine And Me” could well be the most notorious comic-book tale in the history of the medium.

Fans these days get all hot and bothered when a super-hero hires the personification of evil as a divorce attorney, but Cole’s feverish morality play was so outrageous for its day that it became the central attraction of Dr. Fredric Wertham’s infamous campaign against comic-book “depravity.”

The scene shown at the top of this post is so powerful and disturbing that it has achieved iconicity. Such notable comics creators and scholars as Art Spiegelman and Chip Kidd have expounded at length on the story’s artistry, which retains it’s visual and narrative power to this day.

The story originally appeared in True Crime Comics #2 (Magazine Village, 1947), but the following pages were taken from Eclipse Comics’ 1986 reprint, Mr. Monster’s True Crime #1. The Mr. Monster collection was compiled by cartoonist Michael T. Gilbert, who hired Ray Fehrenbach to recolor the contents.

Now that’s a pre-Code comic!