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.

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With this fifth instalment of "The Werewolf Hunter" the feature shifted away from always being about werewolves. Broussard was now handled as an expert in the occult. From Rangers Comics #12 (Fiction House, 1943). Scans from Comic Book Plus.

As with the previous instalment, the interest of the story comes from the difficulty of guessing what will happen next. The GCD ascribes the pencils to Saul Rosen.

I wanted to know if "The Werewolf Hunter" started before or after "The Ghost Gallery" from Jumbo Comics. "The Ghost Gallery" started in Jumbo Comics #42 (1942). DC Indexes says Rangers Comics #8 came out the same month as Jumbo Comics #45. Jumbo Comics was a monthly and Rangers Comics bimonthly, so this issue came out the same month as Jumbo Comics #53.

This is the sixth instalment, from Rangers Comics #13 (Fiction House, 1943). Scans from Comic Book Plus.

Note the title. The bit where Hiller begs Broussard not to leave him is an interesting touch, as it plays no role in the plot.

The episode number is one two high. That was the case last issue, too.

The GCD tentatively attributes the art to Jim Mooney.

With this seventh instalment Lily Renée commenced drawing the feature. From Rangers Comics #14 (Fiction House, 1943).

This is easily the creepiest instalment so far, particularly the bit where the witch destroys the doll. The concept of a witch who makes living dolls recalls Abraham Merritt's novel Burn, Witch, Burn!

The instalment number is on the spine of the book this time, and again wrong.

Newsweek published a profile of Ms Renée in 2010 which can be read here.(1) She says "The Werewolf Hunter" was "sort of the dog. It was the one that no one wanted."

(1) I'm pretty sure her face was in the photo when I first saw it.

Here's the eighth, from Rangers Comics #15 (Fiction House, 1944). Scans from Comic Book Plus.

This the wildest instalment yet. I can imagine it being a basis for a movie or TV episode. The handling of the climax is close to incoherent, but that does contribute to the story's dream-like atmosphere. Evil spider women are a recurring horror trope.

In the framing sequence Broussard is dictating his memoir into a Dictaphone.

The art was again by Lily Renée.

And here's the ninth, from Rangers Comics #16 (Fiction House, 1944). Scans from Comic Book Plus.

In my last post I was going to compare the spider-women trope to the cat-women one. Then I looked ahead and found this story. Art again by Lily Renée.

Apparently Broussard doesn't believe in being sentimental about demonic cats, even if one did help him out. But they're so cute in their little mittens!

This next story is from Capt. Battle Comics #2 (Lev Gleason, 1941). Scans from Comic Book Plus.

The story is a crudely-drawn mess, but I like its apocalyptic character. It was signed by artist Don Rico (who got better). According to the GCD Rico confirmed in an interview he was its writer/artist.

I reviewed the issue last year, here.

This story from Adventures into the Unknown #2 (ACG, 1948) is one of my favourites from the title's opening issues.

The GCD ascribes the story to Frank Belknap Long, an unknown penciller, and Edvard Mortiz on inks. I reviewed the issue last year here. I think the title is a play on Burn, Witch, Burn!, and so is the hero's line at the climax, "Burn, puppets ---burn!"

This one is from Adventures into the Unknown #3 (ACG, 1949).

The GCD ascribes the art to Edvard Mortiz, and doesn't know the author. I think the story's similarities to "Kill, Puppets, Kill!" suggest it was Long, although it's a tamer story. I reviewed the issue last year here. The ghost house inside a house stuck in my memory.

The scans of these two stories are from Comic Book Plus.

Here's a digital collection of books illustrated by Gustave Doré. The collection includes "The Raven" (the illustrations leave me a bit cold) and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (some of these I really like).

The Vampyre

Compylt into Meeter by James Clerk Maxwell

Thair is a knichte rydis through the wood,

And a douchty knichte is hee.

And sure hee is on a message sent,

He rydis sae hastilie.

Hee passit the aik, and hee passit the birk,

And hee passit monie a tre,

Bot plesant to him was the saugh sae slim,

For beneath it hee did see

The boniest ladye that ever hee saw,

Scho was sae schyn and fair.

And thair scho sat, beneath the saugh,

Kaiming hir gowden hair.

And then the knichte-"Oh lady brichte,

What chance has broucht you here?

But sae the word, and ye schall gang

Back to your kindred dear,"

Then up and spok the ladye fair-

"I have nae friends or kin,

Bot in a little boat I live,

Amidst the waves' loud din."

Then answered thus the douchty knichte-

"I'll follow you through all,

For gin ye bee in a littel boat,

The world to it seemis small."

They goed through the wood, and through the wood,

To the end of the wood they came:

And when they came to the end of the wood

They saw the salt sea faem.

And then they saw the wee, wee boat,

That daunced on the top of the wave,

And first got in the ladye fair,

And then the knichte sae brave.

They got into the wee, wee boat,

And rowed wi' a' their micht;

When the knichte sae brave, he turnit about,

And lookit at the ladye bricht;

He lookit at her bonnie cheik,

And he lookit at hir twa bricht eyne,

Bot hir rosie cheik growe ghaistly pale,

And schoe seymit as scho deid had been.

The fause, fause knichte growe pale wi' frichte.

And his hair rose up on end,

For gane-by days cam to his mynde,

And his former luve he kenned.

Then spake the ladye-"Thou, fause knichte,

Hast done to me much ill,

For didst forsake me long ago,

Bot I am constant still;

For though I ligg in the woods sae cald,

At rest I canna bee

Until I sucks the gude lyfe blude

Of the man that gart me dee."

Hee saw hir lipps were wet wi' blude,

And he saw hir lufelesse eyne,

And loud hee cry'd, "get frae my side,

Thou vampyr corps encleane!"

But no, hee is in hir magic boat,

And on the wyde, wyde sea;

And the vampyr suckis his gude lyfe blude,

Sho suckis him till hee dee.

So now beware, whoe'er you are,

That walkis in this lone wood:

Beware of that deceitfull spright,

The ghaist that suckis the blud.

Here's Wikipedia's page on the opera Der Vampyr by Heinrich Marschner.

This story is from Black Cat #31 (Harvey, 1951). Scans from Comic Book Plus.

I reviewed this issue last year here. I liked this story the sheer menace of the witch: the couple find themselves completely in the power of evil.

I also liked the story for what I see as Simon and Kirby-ish touches in the storytelling and art, such as the round border and close-up p.5 panel 2. They're the reason I guessed Al Avison pencilled, but I don't see his style all the way through.

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