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Sarah Palin stars in a 'Crypt' tale

October 21, 2008|Geoff Boucher

"Tales From the Crypt" is about to take a whack at the nation's most famous hockey mom.

The next issue of the horror comic book has GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin depicted on its cover swinging a hockey stick and rousting the ghoulish characters made famous in "Crypt" gory glory days in the 1950s. "Didn't we get rid of you guys in the '50s?" the Alaska governor asks with a sneer as she scatters the Vault-Keeper and his creepy mates from a stone castle doorway.

The cover references an incident in 1996 when Palin, then mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, sought to ban books from a local public library. The Republican nominee, who has taken some heat for that, said that on two occasions she asked "a rhetorical question" about removing objectionable books from shelves but that she never pursued it or mentioned specific titles.

"Tales From the Crypt" became one of the signature names in horror and American pop culture after five years of memorable mayhem that ended in 1955. That was after months of intense pressure and industry regulations targeting lurid comics, spurred by televised Senate subcommittee hearings on juvenile delinquency.

Jim Salicrup, editor in chief of Papercutz, the publisher that revived the classic "Crypt" title about 16 months ago, said the cover is a commentary on an individual, not a political party. "This was not a partisan thing . . . for us this was about the history of EC Comics, the original publisher of 'Tales From the Crypt.' Anyone who knows that history knows that even a whiff of banning books is going to get us angry."

Salicrup notified retailers in advance about the hot-button comic book. Dr. No's, a store in Marietta, Ga., canceled its orders for the entire Papercutz line after hearing about the cover. "That's their right," Salicrup said, "just as it's the right of any retailer or library or publisher to make decisions about what is appropriate. It's not the decision of politicians."

Meanwhile another comic publisher, Bluewater Productions, announced a comic-book biography of Palin to be published in February. Two endings are being prepared.

-- Geoff Boucher

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