The Corpses Of Dr. Sacotti

By | Friday, October 07, 2011 Leave a Comment
I was doing some research on my next book, and stumbled across this ad running in the middle of one of the comics...
Now this was from 1948 -- before the Kefauver hearings or Seduction of the Innocent and all that -- but it still caught me off guard a bit. The cloaked dude looks like he just pulled that blade out of the cop's bleeding chest. The officer's head and arms look twisted in an unnatural manner as well. It's not really a gory image per se, but it's still fairly explicit. Especially with the word "CORPSES" taking up a good chunk of visual real estate nearby.

I was curious: was this a real book? Was this actually published? Or was the ad something the publisher just threw out there to gauge interest?

Turns out it was a real book all right...
What struck me, though, is that the cover has a less graphic image. Namely, the office is not shown with a puncture wound or blood. The tip of the blade also seems to have shortened a bit in the ad. I tend to think the wound was edited out for the cover, rather than added for the ad. The cop's uniform is shown with wrinkles and folds throughout, but the area over his heart on the cover is strangely undetailed. Perhaps they felt it looked too gruesome when the blood was actually colored red.

The series was actually called Ideal and "The Corpses of Dr. Sacotti" was the first story of issue #2. The first issue debuted with "Antony and Cleopatra" but there was a clear indication that the editors/publishers thought the Sacotti story would be a hit. Here's a two page ad (courtesy of Atlas Tales) from Ideal #1 also promoting the story...

Curiously, it seems it was issue #3 that drew more ire. It featured historical accounts of Joan of Arc and the Second Boer War, but The Evening News of London claimed the editors had an "anti-British slant." Issue #4 focused on Richard the Lion-Hearted, but #5 changed the format to love stories, even changing the logo to read "Ideal Love and Romance." Issue #6 was entirely retitled Love Romances.

From "The Corpses of Dr. Sacotti" to "Hearts Dance on High!" inside of a year!
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