This year I thought I'd celebrate Halloween by posting a daily comics story. Please feel free to make any contribution to the thread that fits. Reviews of comics, books, movies are all fine.
Any story posted must be in the public domain. If you post images please upload them from your computer instead of hotlinking. And if you write a review please either avoid spoilers, or put them in a separate paragraph headed by a spoiler warning. My own rule of thumb is what happens after the half-way mark is a spoiler.
My comments on the stories I post will include spoilers. They will always be placed immediately after the story.
2016's thread is here.
This post displaced the thread John Dunbar re-reads AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (AF 15, ASM 1-50) from the homepage.
Journey into Fear#10 (Superior Publishers)
"Crawling Evil" (9 pages)
Lorna grew up raised by an old woman that hated men. The old woman tells her that once she was beautiful and had a lover, The time passed but he never arrived. She later married a man and had a son (Lorna's father.) She's glad they're both dead and wishes all men were dead. This convinces Lorna to hate men. Seeing a worm, she stomps on it. Later, seeing one of her dolls is male, she kills it wishing it was a worm so she could step on it.
Years later, the woman announces she's going to die, and tells Lorna to look behind the bricks in the fireplace for her books.
She studies the book, and some time later she decides to try the book when a man shows up asking if she has a phone to call someone for his broken down car. She lets him kiss her, and changes him into a worm. Laughing, she puts the worm in a book and crushes it.
She leaves her home and goes to London, but after she changes a man and steps on him, the police keep asking her questions. She decides to leave.
But finally she finds a man she loves. But because her kiss would turn him into a worm, she keeps putting him off. But one night while she's asleep he does kiss her.
She wakens to find she did what she feared: she changed him and now she's stepped on him. She decides to take poison to end her life. As she lies dying worms come out of the ground and start to eat her.
"Haven of Terror" (8 pages)
Kurt Swanson was down on his luck. He had ten dollars in his pocket, and traveled by hitchhiking to just about anywhere.
In an ordinary bar the ordinary bartender tells him there are plenty of cheap places to stay in, but they probably wouldn't be open at that time of night. He suggests Kurt try Oak Street.
Finding the place, he's shocked to see someone peeking out the window as he approaches. He notes the old woman that opens the door seems cold and lifeless, but comes in anyway. He notes the old woman's daughter, who takes him to his room, warning him to watch his footing since they have no electricity and have to see by candlelight. The girl says everything is different there because it's her mother's wish, and if he's interested, he'll come back and talk to him after her mother falls asleep. She tells him her name is Evelyn.
She doesn't show up and he decides to go to bed, but opening a door he comes across a body. He tries to leave the room, but the door is locked. He goes through a trap door into the attic, hoping it will lead to a way out. Something seems to attack him and he hits it. He discovers there was hundreds of human bones. He finds stairs leading down, but also the shadow of a woman with an axe. He manages to escape but falls. He sees the old woman with the axe. He slips into oblivion. When he comes to the sheriff asks him what happened. When he explains the sheriff tells him he must have had nightmares from sleeping in that house. Thirty years ago the two women there were hanged for murdering one of their lodgers.
"True Tales of Unexplained Mystery#54) (One page)
A man seeks to avenge his father, who killed people, thirty years ago. He tries hiding from the cops in a wax museum, But the statue of the man that killed his father comes to life just long enough to finish off the son.
(Gallery of the Dead) (7 pages)
Two women scream upon seeing a short, hunchbacked man. The owner of the wax museum shows up and beats him for driving customers away, He tells the strange man to lock off after he leaves and work all night. But once alone inside, the strange man goes to Marie Therese, who killed her husband. He says when it's cold she comes to life and he's free to do what he wants. At moment she turns back to a statue and he goes back to work.
But the boss has found out what he's done, and destroys the doll. He goes insane and kills his boss.
He's arrested and sent to the executioner, but begs to be allowed to live with his doll in the museum as another doll.
"Your Head For Mine" (6 pages)
Sandy has a husband, lots of money to inherit, and a boyfriend. She talks her boyfriend into going fishing with her and her husband. The neighbors whisper about them but they ignore it.
Then one night she hears someone moving about. She comes upon her husband, who at this time doesn't have a head and wants one. Her new husband arrives and they try to run. But the old husband gets the new husband, chops off his head, and puts it on his shoulders. He leaves her then. The police find her insane and put her away, wondering just what it was she did with her husbands' real head.
I've switched to a Vegan diet. They're just delicious.
The day had come again, when as a child
I saw - just once - that hollow of old oaks,
Grey with a ground-mist that enfolds and chokes
The slinking shapes which madness has defiled.
It was the same - an herbage rank and wild
Clings round an altar whose carved sign invokes
That Nameless One to whom a thousand smokes
Rose, aeons gone, from unclean towers up-piled.
I saw the body spread on that dank stone,
And knew those things which feasted were not men;
I knew this strange, grey world was not my own,
But Yuggoth, past the starry voids - and then
The body shrieked at me with a dead cry,
And all too late I knew that it was I!
The daemon said he would take me home
To the pale, shadowy land I half recalled
As a high place of stair and terrace, walled
With marble balustrades that sky-winds comb,
While miles below a maze of dome on dome
And tower on tower beside a sea lies sprawled.
Once more, he told me, I would stand enthralled
On those old heights, and hear the far-off foam.
All this he promised, and through sunset's gate
He swept me, past the lapping lakes of flame,
And red-gold thrones of gods without a name
Who shriek in fear at some impending fate.
Then a black gulf with sea-sounds in the night:
"Here was your home," he mocked, "when you had sight!"
Got way off on this!
VI. The Lamp
We found the lamp inside those hollow cliffs
Whose chiseled sign no priest in Thebes could read,
And from whose cavers frightened hieroglyphs
Warned every living creature of earth's breed.
No more was there - just that one brazen bowl
With traces of a curious oil within;
Fretted with some obscenely patterned scroll,
And symbols hinting vaguely of strange sin.
Little the fears of forty centuries meant
To us as we bore off our slender spoil,
And when we scanned it in our darkened tent
We struck a match to test the ancient oil.
It blazed - great God!... But the vast shapes we saw
In that mad flash have seared our lives with awe.
VII. Zaman's Hill
The great hill hung close over the old town,
A precipice against the main street's end;
Green, tall, and wooded, looking darkly down
Upon the steeple at the highway bend.
Two hundred years the whispers had been heard
About what happened on the man-shunned slope-
Tales of an oddly mangled deer or bird,
Or of lost boys whose kin had ceased to hope.
One day the mail-man found no village there,
Nor were its folks or houses seen again;
People came out of Aylesbury to stare-
Yet they all told the mail-man it was plain
That he was mad for saying he had spied
The great hill's gluttonous eyes, and jaws stretched wide.
VIII. The Port
Ten Miles from Arkham I had struck the trail
That rides the cliff-edge over Boynton Beach,
And hoped that has at sunset I could reach
The crest that looks on Innsmouth in the vale.
Far out at sea was a retreating sail,
White as hard years of ancient winds could bleach,
But evil with some portent beyond speech,
So that I did not wave my hand or hail.
Sails out of Innsmouth! echoing old renown
Of long-dead times. But now a too-swift night
In closing in, and I have reached the height
Whence I so often scan the distant town.
The spires and roofs are there - but look! The gloom
Sinks on dark lanes, as lightless as the tomb!
IX. The Courtyard
It was the city I had known before;
The ancient, leprous town where mongrel throngs
Chant to strange gods, and beat unhallowed gongs
In crypts beneath foul alleys near the shore.
The rotting, fish-eyed houses leered at me
From where they leaned, drunk and half-animate,
As edging through the filth I passed the gate
To the black courtyard where the man would be.
The dark walls closed me in, and loud I coursed
That ever I had come to such a den,
When suddenly a score of windows burst
Into wild light, and swarmed with dancing men:
Mad, soundless revels of the dragging dead -
And not a corpse had either hands or head!
X. The Pigeon-Flyers
They took me slumming, where gaunt walls of brick
Bulge outward with a viscous stored-up evil,
And twisted faces, thronging foul and thick,
Wink messages to alien god and devil.
A million fires were blazing in the streets,
And from flat roofs a furtive few would fly
Bedraggled birds into the yawning sky
While hidden drums droned on with measured beats.
I knew those fires were brewing monstrous things,
And that those birds of space had been Outside -
I guessed to what dark planets' crypts they plied,
And what they brought from Thog beneath their wings.
The others laughed - till struck too mute to speak
By what they glimpsed in one bird's evil beak.
XI. The Well
Farmer Seth Atwood was past eighty when
He tried to sink that deep well by his door,
With Only Eb to help him bore and bore.
We laughed, and hoped he'd soon be sane again.
And yet, instead, young Eb went crazy, too,
So they shipped him to the county farm.
Seth bricked the well-mouth up as tight as glue -
Then hacked an artery in his gnarled left arm.
After the funeral we felt bound to get
Out to that well and rip the bricks away,
But all we saw were iron hand-holds set
Down a black hole deeper than we could say.
And yet we put the bricks back - for we found
The hole too deep for any line to sound.
XII. The Howler
They told me not to take the Briggs' Hill path
That used to be the highroad through to Zoar,
For Goody Watkins, hanged in seventeen-four,
Had left a certain monstrous aftermath.
Yet when I disobeyed, and had in view
The vine-hung cottage by the great rock slope,
I could not think of elms or hempen rope,
But wondered why the house still seemed so new.
Stopping a while to watch the fading day,
I heard faint howls, as from a room upstairs,
When through the ivied panes one sunset ray
Struck in, and caught the howler unawares.
I glimpsed - and ran in frenzy from the place,
And from a four-pawed thing with human face.