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.
In this instalment the feature does attempt to spring a surprise on the reader: but you can see it coming a mile off, and I found this instalment less suspenseful than the last one. The GCD ascribes the art to Saul Rosen.
This is the fourth instalment, from Rangers Comics #11 (Fiction House, 1943). Scans from Comic Book Plus.
In the previous instalments lycanthropy is not associated with the full moon, and in the first and third it's hereditary rather than a result of infection. This instalment instead follows movie lore. The GCD again ascribes the art to Saul Rosen.
What keeps the reader's interest up this time out is the impossibility of knowing what's going to happen next. The sequence where Danny is infected reminds me of Fright Night (1985).
Mardi Gras can't coincide with the full moon.
From the next instalment Broussard started encountering other kinds of monsters.
This next story is from Worlds of Fear #3 (Fawcett, 1952). Scans from Comic Book Plus.
The missing text p.2 panel 1 read as follows:
Caption: Archer Commanger flexed his powerful biceps and exposed his incredibly well developed torso to the intent yellow faces of the spectators.
Donna: ---the world's most advanced human specimen!
Fawcett's horror comics have a pretty good art level, and this story is visually a knockout. The GCD ascribes the art to George Evans.
The issue had two other stories:
In the 19th century a doctor steals a coffin with a body from a graveyard so he can bring it back to life with a stimulant he has created. But the body is the body of Akimo, the Strangler, and the doctor finds himself in his power.
The sequences where Akimo forces his will on the doctor are well done. The GCD doesn't know the creators.
"Captain Frost's Phantom Vessel"
The pirates of the Sea Beast defeat the pirates of a rival ship called the Black Avenger in battle. The victorious captain sentences his rival to walk the plank, and he's killed by sharks. Then the victor has the Black Avenger sunk.
Several days later the lookout spots a sail. The ship is the Black Avenger, returned as ghost ship, with a crew of the undead...
Compare Pirates of the Caribbean. The movie's jokiness is quite absent. The GCD tentatively attributes the art to Sheldon Moldoff. It doesn't have the naïve look of his Batman art, and he tells the story well. The images of the living dead are nicely done.
The text story, "The Room", is a kind of ghost story. I've seen tales like it before, but it's well-told. A professor wheedles the proprietor of inn into giving him a room which used to be the latter's wife's piano room, and has been disused since she had an accident.
Black Cat had two periods as a horror anthology. The first was from #30-#53. According to the GCD in this period its indicia title was Black Cat Mystery Comics. The second was from #57-#62, when it was Black Cat Mystic. The GCD galleries all the issues together. This story is from Black Cat #30 (Harvey, 1951). Scans from Comic Book Plus.
Art by Lee Elias, who drew some famous horror covers for Harvey. I like the story for its art, but it hardly has a horror mood at all. The werewolf in the story is of the traditional, four-legged variety.
The issue had two other stories:
A scientist and intern explore another universe. The GCD ascribes the pencils of the former story to Vic Donahue, but I think it was pencilled by Kirby and someone other than Kirby or Simon inked.
"The Thing from the Grave"
A woman relates to her sister a strange dream which began with her receiving a message from her late husband to meet him. This is a decent story of the uncanny nightmare type, drawn by Rudy Palais.
The issue also has a "Black Cats' Encyclopedia of Superstition" page (placed centrally on the centrespread), about the origins of customs; a page of miscellaneous "Weird Facts"'; a "Mysteries of the Heavens!" page which speculates about how other peoples of our solar system cope with their planets' environments; a "Horror After Death" page which has a set of items about famous people's corpses; and a mistitled page called "Powers of the Unknown" which has four items about how people died (including Romeo and Juliet, who are fictional), and an item about a feat of bodily mortification performed by an Indian holy man.
It also has two half-page text stories and a full-page one. The half-pagers are "Portrait of Revenge", a supernatural portrait story, and "Jungle Curse", which is about what protects a statue of a panther with magnificent emerald eyes. The full-pager, "Voodoo Drums", is a story of sorcerous revenge. "Jungle Curse" is the best of these.
The cover was drawn by Lee Elias, and looks like it was supposed to go with a story about the Black Cat having a terrifying dream.
This next story is from Strange Stories from Another World #2 (Fawcett, 1952). This was the first issue with this title. #1 was called Unknown World.
The cover was painted by Norman Saunders. According to the GCD the story was written by William Woolfolk and drawn by Bob McCarty.
The issue had two other stories:
The Salem Witch kidnaps a young woman in order that she might assume her likeness. The woman's fiancée knows the location of the witch's lair, but instead of rescuing the young woman he bargains with the witch for everlasting youth.
Of the three stories in the issue, this is the one with the most shocking moments. The GCD ascribes the art to Sheldon Moldoff.
The GCD takes the setting to be Salem, Massachusetts. But if the year is 1600 it must be a Salem in England, because the Plymouth Rock Colony wasn't founded until 1620.
"Hands of Vengeance"
A lady artist's boyfriend becomes jealous of her friendship with a painter and accidentally kills her. He dismembers her body to hide it, but when the lights go out during a storm he's shocked to see, by the light of his candle, her hands scurrying across the floor...
This is the issue's creepiest story. It's reminiscent of The Beast with Five Fingers (1946), but goes in its own direction. (It also reminded me of the first story from Asylum .)
In the text story, "On Hangman's Hill", two policemen from Scotland Yard learn the Royal Hangman is over two hundred years old. The story starts very well, but it ends in an unsatisfactory way.
This is a short collection of poems on supernatural themes. Very few copies were printed. "The Erl-King" is a translation by Sir Walter Scott of Goethe's "Erlkönig", which is exceedingly well-known to Germans.
That's not long after Horace Walpole started fictional publications with his "Castle of Otranto." He also apparently had his own printing press, Strawberry Hill Press. The mysterious guy that comes out of nowhere to lead someone to safety? That's his idea.
Here's the adaptation of The Castle of Otranto from Adventures into the Unknown #1 (ACG, 1948). Scans from Comic Book Plus.
The GCD attributes the art to Ed Ulmer. Frank Belknap Long said in a letter he wrote the whole issue, but if he hadn't seen the final issue when he wrote that it could be editor Richard Hughes slipped other stuff in, so I don't know we can be certain he wrote the adaptation.
The American Classics Illustrated never adapted Walpole's story; but extra Classics Illustrateds were produced in Europe. This issue is from Sweden. The adaptation also appeared in other countries. Image from the GCD.
Hjälmen och svärdet="The Helmet and the Sword". Classic Comic Store has published the adaptation in English.
This article has images of illustrations from different editions.
I reviewed Adventures into the Unknown #1 last year here.
I've seen another version of that story, taking place in the modern time, in one of those Eerie Publishing Magazines.
A number of the publisher's stories were versions of pre-Code stories with new art. I don't have access to Eerie's versions, but I've found two stories which might be the originals of the one you're remembering, if it wasn't a close adaptation of Walpole's story. I'll run them next.
ACG simplified the story, and its ending differs in important ways from the ending of the original novel.
An artist named JoJo Seames started a webcomic adaptation of the novel. I think it's been on hiatus since 2014, but she adapted most of ch. 1, and did a good job. Her adaptation is here. An earlier image she drew of the dead Conrad under the helmet is here.
This next story is from Web of Mystery #17 (Ace, 1953). Scans from Comic Book Plus.
The GCD doesn't know the name of the artist. A redrawn version of the story called "Castle of the Dead" appeared in Eerie Publications titles.
The issue's other contents were as follows:
"Name of the Nether World"
A palmist tells a man that she's a vampire and he is of her kind. The GCD tentatively ascribes the art to Sy Grudko.
"From the Graves of the Unholy"
A witch from a ghost carnival entrances a woman and sends her to murder a curio-shop owner. The story was cover-featured, and the GCD ascribes the art and cover to Lou Cameron.
"Black Potion of the Blood Cult"
An Englishman visiting India learns his host is a secret Thug. The GCD doesn't know the artist of this one.
The issue also has two "True Tales of Unexplained Mystery" one-pagers. Both are ghost stories. The second tells basically the same story as "Eerie Footsteps in the Red Snow!" in Fawcett's Beware! Terror Tales #2.
The text story is called "Bayou Terror!" An anthropologist learns that a Lousiana bayou legend about a woman called Mytoa who can transform herself into a snake is founded in reality.
This one is from Web of Mystery #14 (Ace, 1952). Scans from Comic Book Plus.
The GCD tentatively attributes the art to Mike Sekowsky and/or Bill Walton. A redrawn version called "Torture Castle" appeared in Eerie titles.
The issues other contents were as follows:
"The Sign of Doom"
An American visiting Rome is captured by ghosts seeking revenge for his actions in a previous life. Pencils by Bill Molno.
"The Dead Dance on Halloween"
A woman seeks a love potion from a witch because she wants to win her sister's fiancée. The potion works, but also turns him into a monster. The GCD ascribes the art to Charles Nicholas.
"Haunt of the Iskander Fjord"
When an unsuccessful fisherman curses his ancestors the ghost of his Viking ancestor appears to him and orders him to bring a cast of wine that night to the summit of the Iskander Fjord. The GCD ascribes the art to Charles Nicholas.
The issue also has two "True Tales of Unexplained Mystery" one pagers. As in #17, these are ghost stories and probably fictional.
The text story is titled "The Shadow in the Moonlight". A man returns to the town where he grew up as a mining engineer. Someone or something kills him, and the last member of a family that once feuded with his is blamed.
The entertaining cover is unrelated to any of the stories. It may have been the inspiration for the cover and matching story from Batman #154: