I thought from now to Halloween I'd do brief reviews of horror comics at random. Please feel free to join me.

I'll avoid giving away big twists and endings. This being horror that means I won't always be able to say what the stories' key ideas are.

An index to this thread can be found here.

This Magazine is Haunted #1 (Fawcett, 1951)

I chose this issue because I've never read an issue of This Magazine is Haunted. The title was created by Sheldon Moldoff. He talked about it in his Alter Ego interview. The stories are hosted by a corpse-like figure called Dr Death. The GCD ascribes the cover to Moldoff.

"The Curse of Carnoc Castle"

The Duke of Allister was buried two hundred years ago. He left a goblet in a grotto below an inscription saying that drinking from it confers immortality, and ordering his grave to be disinterred in two hundred years. A beautiful woman travels to be present at the disinterment. The coffin is opened and the Duke returns to life...

I didn't know how this story was going to end, as it twists in unexpected ways. However, I didn't find it chilling. The GCD ascribes the art to George Evans. It's competent but unexciting.

"Stand-in for Death"

A criminal robs his honest former business partner as an act of revenge. He leaves the man and his wife tied up, although he knows the former has just had a heart attack. Having taking his victim's coat he finds a ticket in his pocket for the 89th Street ferry, and uses it to make his escape. Only...

The story comes to a mildly surreal climax. It's like a 50s DC story and has a good premise. It's a better-told story than the first one. The GCD ascribes the art to Bernard Baily.

"The Coffin Maker!"

A young woman marries a rich, elderly undertaker. He has a reputation for being always the first person at death scenes. He tells her to never go down into the basement, where he prepares the bodies for burial. But she thinks she hears him talking with someone, and sneaks into the basement to see...

This is a story of the supernatural like the others, but the menace at the climax is the undertaker, who hunts his wife with a knife. (This is shown in the splash panel.) Stylistically the three stories aren't all that different, but this one has the best art. The GCD attributes it to Sheldon Moldoff. The stiff cartooniness of his "Moon Girl" and "Batman" stories is quite absent.

Other Content

The text story is "Dr MacCready's Little Men" by Al Schutzer. It has a wacky premise and a sting ending. A reporter is assigned to report on the new therapy being used at a local asylum. Dr MacCready explains his therapy consists of giving his patients an injection that shrinks them to miniature size...

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The stories aren't all that scary. The latter two have extended climaxes, but they're not very intense for an adult reader. The second story has more to offer than the others imaginatively.

The first story has the goriest imagery, but it's not too gory. The images of the husband hunting his wife to kill her are the issue's most disturbing content.

(modified)

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Weird Terror #10 (Comic Media, 1954)

This issue has a cover and two stories drawn by Don Heck, who drew all the covers for this series and stories in most of the issues.

“The Man-Ape”

A scientist transplants his assistant’s mind into a gorilla. The assistant takes this ill.

This is the cover story, and one of Heck’s. At this point he was imitating Milton Caniff’s style, but I don’t find his work in this vein attractive like I do Lee Elias’s.

The story's writing is on a younger level. I think it’s like some of the writing in pre-Code Marvel horror comics.

“The Deep River”

A farmer takes care of his cousin, who has a brain injury. He talks to him constantly about the past to get him to remember.

This is a grim story with a strong story idea. The GCD credits the art to Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. It’s unlike their Silver Age work and perfect for the story. The story’s end is weak but the important part is over by then.

The scans at Comic Book Plus and DCM are from a copy of the issue with a damaged first page of this story. It mainly affects the first panel.

“Death Kiss”

A scientist constructs a robot woman with a powerful kiss.

This is humour-horror, drawn by Rudy Palais in his comedic style. The subject matter reminds me of Jerry Siegel’s writing, but Jerry Bails's Who's Who doesn’t list him as having worked for Comic Media.

“Witch Girl!”

Four sisters fall in love with the same man, and one uses witchcraft against the others.

This is the second Heck story. It’s a dopey story, particularly the resolution, but Heck’s art is more Caniff-y here and I like it a bit more. The splash panel shows him at his best.

Other Content.

There are two text stories. The first concerns a petty man who discovers he has the power to read minds. In the second a bar drunk tells another patron that he’s a spy for an undersea race.

I've seen other, more serious versions of the Death Kiss story. Publishers were copying each other a lot. I forget which company it was, but there was a pre-Code version of the story about a Martian being defeated by a normal seeming guy that turned out to be from Venus. Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and Don Heck all drew that same story for Marvel. Interestingly Heck's was the best version.

Eerie Adventures #1 (Ziff-Davis, 1951)

This was the only issue.

The cover has a painting by Allen Anderson and shows a woman in chains playing chess with death. This happens in “The Grim Reaper”, but it’s likely the cover was done first and the story written to match it.(1)

This issue has two stories with art by Bob Powell. The GCD says Howard Nostrand did the backgrounds.

As with Ziff-Davis's output generally the pictures are clear and the art varies from OK to good, but the writing is on the ordinary side. There's some violence but all told the content is fairly tame.

“The Vampires from Venus”

Vampire plants from Venus menace two men in the Everglades.

This is the first of the two Powell stories. You can see the end coming but Powell’s art is classy, particularly in the sequence where the horror is revealed. The story is signed in the opening panel.

“The Grim Reaper”

An Indian chess master takes revenge on the American who defeated him by attempting to trick him into playing a match with Death.

How the scripter resolved the match was a surprise to me. The art is by Al Carreno and unexciting but competent.

A chess match between top players is unlikely to end with a sudden checkmate. I just miss things; these guys are champions, and if a checkmate were that close they’d see it coming.

“The Perfect Hideout”

A thief/murderer hides from the police in the Fourth Dimension.

This was drawn by Gerald McCann (so the GCD). I thought well of his work after reading Ghost Stories #2 and think even better of it after this story. It’s drawn at a high level and stylish. The Fourth Dimension sequence looks great but it’s too short and the revelation at the end falls flat.

The story was recently reprinted in Haunted Horror #18 (2015).

“Deadline for Death!”

A gangster fleeing a holdup receives unexpected assistance from a sinister old man.

This is a you-can’t-escape-death story, and the other Powell story in the issue. It’s strongly in his style, but the art isn’t as impressive as the first story’s, although it’s still solid. The figure of death in the opening panel reminds me of Silver Star #6.

Other Content

There are three one-pagers. The first is a list of “Famous American Ghosts”. The second retells Lord Dufferin’s story of the man with the coffin, but changes his name to Sir Melville Duff and makes him an MP. The third is a mysterious-summons-of-a-doctor story, the same as the opening story of Ghost Stories #2 but with a more standard revelation of the identity of the messenger.

In the text story a millionaire pays a Seminole man to lead him to the Fountain of Youth. Spoiler warning. Fans of the Silver Age Spider-Man might find it an interesting comparison to Amazing Spider-Man #75.

How chess masters party.

(1) In the story the chains are drawn as ordinary bracelets and explained in the dialogue as a costume element: “Now I get it! The chains symbolise your coming marriage!

In between the two versions there was also a Jack Kirby story from around 1960 where an old man makes a youth serum in his lab that he drinks and the same thing happens to him. It was reprinted in one of Marvel's 70s horror reprint comics.

Dark Shadows #3 (Farrell, 1958)

This issue is from after the advent of the Comics Code, and the cover has the Code seal. In the period a lot of horror stories didn't have scary or monster content. We might call tales of this type strange stories. 

The present cover is a strange story one. A key grinder is giving a woman a key, saying "there's not another like it, and it's exactly what you ordered!" This seems pregnant with meaning. The woman looks pensive. There is something significant about the key - but what? The GCD's credit is "(Iger Studio); Robert Webb ?"

Inside, only the first and last stories have strange story plots. The cover is for the first story, which is also the only one in the issue which may not have been a reprint.

“Exactly What You Ordered!”

A lady psychiatrist thinks her husband needs more manliness, and gives him a key that changes his personality.

I thought this an original, adult premise, but the tale doesn’t go anywhere. My theory about why is below. The story skips over how she does it.(1) The GCD tentatively ascribes the art to "(Iger Studio); Ken Battefield". 

 photo spoiler-1.gif The guide at the art gallery looks just like the heroine’s husband. My guess is they were originally the same character, and the plot has been changed. Possibly in the original version the couple wasn't married, they became estranged, she tried to steal the key back and was caught, but he stood up for her in court and they reconciled.

This theory only works if a lot of redialoguing has been done, which might be implausible. It also requires pages to have been dropped. But in support of it, the first page is more clumsily-drawn than the rest of the story and perhaps by another artist (but I'm not certain). If I'm right, my guess is the original story was either about a magic key (perhaps at the top of our p.2 she originally took it to a locksmith to ask about it, and it was shown in her hand panel 1), or a romance one without fantastic elements (it's stylistically like a romance comic, with a heroine who spends most of the story alone with her thoughts).

But all this is speculation, so it might all be nonsense!

“The Racket that Failed”

A crook pressures the owner of a candy store into selling crooked punchboard cards through his store. When the latter rebels the crook badly injures him. A female officer is assigned to work on the case undercover.

This is a reprinted crime story. It first appeared as an untitled “Gail Ford-Girl Friday” instalment in Crime Smashers #14 (Trojan), and was reprinted in altered form with the title used here in Dark Mysteries #24 (Master Comics[2]). This version has been further altered. The alterations were evidently to water down the story’s violent content. In the original version the shopkeeper is killed. The name of the heroine wasn’t changed.

The GCD gives the art to Max Elkan.

“Headline Heroine”

This is an account of the life Nellie Bly, an early lady journalist. I hadn’t heard of her and found it quite interesting.

The story was reprinted from Farrell’s Phantom Lady #4 (1955). The art is in a version of the Iger style. It’s a bit static but has clear panels packed with detail. The GCD attributes it to “(Iger Studio); Robert Webb”.

“The Bigger They Come”

Con men sell a fake medicine called “Growoo”, which they claim can make you bigger.

This is another reprint from Dark Mysteries #24, with the end the same but slightly softened. It’s a silly twist-ending story. The GCD notes it’s signed by Gerald Altman (on the heel on the right in the splash panel).

 photo spoiler-1.gif The penultimate page seems to hint that the men have gotten smaller. This makes me wonder if the Dark Mysteries version was recycled from an earlier version in which that’s what happened. If so, presumably it was retitled, as the GCD doesn’t list an earlier version of the same name.

Other Content

There's a filler humour page featuring "Freddie and His Friends".

The text story is about a school contest.

(1) “Without going into a scientific explanation, Terry’s solution meant she had discovered how to conduct a complete personality change in her husband…” (p.2 panel 1)

(2) So the GCD. Comic Book Plus includes the two titles it lists as published by Master Comics in its Story Comics section.

The most obvious case of a pre-Code story being changed into a post-Code story that I've seen was about a beautiful but cruel and vain woman telling the latest of what we'll learn have been many suitors that he's become boring to her and she wants him to get lost. He's furious and warns her that someday she'll regret being so heartless. She just laughs and leaves. There's a costume party coming up and she decides to attend and find another guy to love and leave. But at the party she sees a mysterious guy she doesn't recognize that looks like a devil. He's rude and sarcastic to her, which she finds a refreshing change of pace since guys always fall all over themselves to get her to love them. She spends the entire party with him, finding herself fascinated by the fact he won't tell her who he is. At midnight she tells him it's time to unmask. In what's obviously the final panel he grins and tells her "But I'm not wearing a mask!" But this isn't the final panel, there's one on the right hand side of this panel, and it's very obvious it's just pasted onto the end of the real final panel, since the woman reacting is partly cut off by this panel which is oddly shaped and lettered differently from the rest of the story. In it, we see the guy she'd dumped grinning and holding up the devil face, obviously a mask here, and saying "This should teach her a lesson!" Apparently the Code accepted the entire story up until the final panel then said a real demon about to drag this evil woman off to Hell couldn't be allowed, so a new panel showing there was no demon or actual menace, just a spurned lover teaching the woman that had dumped him a lesson, had to be added to get it to pass.

Dark Mysteries #24 (Merit, 1955)

DC Indexes indicates the Code seal first appeared on a few comics that went on sale in Dec. 1954 and appeared widely from Jan. 1955. This series started in 1951 and had three issues dated for 1955; only this one, dated July in the indicia, bore the seal.

The cover is another version of the design from Weird Science #12 / World’s Finest Comics #100, and unconnected to any of the stories. This was the last issue: maybe the publisher was closing down and wasn’t willing to pay to have the story done.

My usual rule is to give the form of the publisher’s name used at the GCD or Comic Book Plus. The GCD lists Dark Mysteries as a Master Comics title, and Comic Book Plus includes it in its Story Comics section. But the indicia in this issue says Merit, so that’s how I’ve listed it. Presumably these publishers were related entities; their comics look similar.

“Give a Man Enough Rope”

A man on a business trip in India helps out a fakir, and as payment asks to be taught the Indian Rope Trick. The trip makes his partnership a success, but he develops a gambling habit. He embezzles money from the firm, and his partner catches him at it…

This has a DC-ish plot. The art has about the same level of realism as a 1950s DC story’s but lacks that DC staid quality. The GCD doesn’t have a guess as to the artist.

“The Bigger They Come”

This is the story reprinted in Dark Shadows #3. The artist is Gerald Altman.

 photo spoiler-1.gif In this version the con-men’s comeuppance is permanent. The dialogue in the reprint gives them a way out.

“The Racket That Failed”

This is the untitled “Girl Friday” story from Crime Smashers #14, which appeared for a third time in Dark Shadows #3. In this middle version the blackjack and gunsmoke were removed from the art, and dialogue indicating the shopkeeper was killed was changed, but his body can still be seen p.3 panel 1. The GCD identifies the artist as Max Elkan.

“Queenie Starr”: “Death on Tour”

A studio promotes an upcoming movie by sending the actors on a tour. Their act is a performance of a scene from the movie, in which a native girl played by Queenie shoots her romantic rival. But in one performance Queenie fires a prop gun, and the other actress collapses, shot dead…

This is another crime story, reprinted from Crime Mysteries #5 (Ribage, 1953). The story is signed "by Gene Leslie". Some of the "Girl Friday" stories from Crime Smashers were also signed this way. The GCD doesn't record credits for Leslie from other features.

For this issue's reprint the heroine's native girl costume was altered to make it less risqué.

Other Content

The text story is headed “Crime Does Not Pay” and an account of a murderer’s crime, trial and execution. I suspect it was a reprint from a crime comic. The account is represented as a true one, from a letter from a prison guard. I don’t know if the case is real.

(corrected)

“The Fantastic Dr. Foo”: “The Hovering Hand”, Crime Mysteries #5 (Ribage, 1953)

An American businessman buys an expensive Tang vase. In the middle of the night he suddenly wakes and sees a spectral hand, withered and bloody, pointing at him. He dismisses this as a nightmare, but the next night it appears again and grabs him by the throat. He relates the experience to a man at his club, and his friend sends him to Dr. Foo…

Dr Foo has genuine powers which he uses to crack the mystery. He is a famous scientist as well as an expert on “the vast lore of the mysterious East”. He is “rumoured to be almost 200 years old” and has been “exiled from China by the Reds”.

The tale is very like the first instalment of “Dr Strange”, in which Strange is depicted as Asian, and a man who has been having a terrible recurring dream goes to him for help.

The GCD doesn’t have a guess as to the artist. My first thought was the art was fairly basic, but the storytelling is good and the art serves the story well.

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The cover/opening story is called “Claws of the Green Girl!” This starts as horror and becomes a crime story.

A rich French woman holds a salon. When she leaves the party to fetch a tray a green woman wearing a robe-like dress enters through a French window. She reaches towards the hostess with her long fingers and nails. the hostess screams….

The story is a “Lance Storm” instalment, but doesn’t have a feature logo. Storm is a “criminal psychologist and nemesis of evil”, a robust older man whose hair is white on the temples and nape. He has an arch-enemy called Professor Zarno.

The cover shows Storm accusing a frightened green woman of being “a demon from another world” and “a menace to humanity”. Inside she’s drawn to look sinister and dresses differently, and there’s no such accusation.

The art is in a simple style that reminds me of Charlton. I suspect the artist later worked for Charlton, but I can’t name him. It doesn’t get in the way of the story.

The other items are the “Queenie Starr” story reprinted in Dark Mysteries #24, reviewed above, and a “Jerry Jasper” instalment titled “The Murder in the Club Chair!” Jerry is a playboy/criminologist. Visiting a club with a friend, he discovers one of the patrons isn’t sleeping, but dead! The instalment has an ordinary plot, and weak art by Newt Alfred.

The text story is “The Voice of the Dead” by Beresford King. After the murder of a criminal psychologist his nephew inherits his house. When he sits down to play at the piano his hand is cut by a blade...

Comic Book Plus includes this series in its Trojan section.

Horrific #8 (Comic Media, 1953)

The first story introduces a host character called the Teller or Teller of Tales. He is a distinguished-looking man with a moustache and white hair at the temples and nape. His monster friends feed him stories.

I think Heck modelled the Teller on Vincent Price. The likeness is apparent p.1 panels 2 and 4, and p.2 panel 1. But it isn't always present.

The cover has a werewolf image by Don Heck. Heck also drew the first two stories. All were reprinted in The Chilling Archives of Horror Comics #13 - Horror by Heck (2015). Heck also did spot illustrations for the letters page and text item.

“The Teller!”

The Teller begins by introducing himself and his monster friends, describes his origin, and concludes by telling a story he witnessed. The story is about a sorcerous chandler.

The Teller was formerly a researcher who was working with an unstable radioactive isotope and accidentally caused a small explosion. When he awoke in hospital he found he could read minds. But he found he couldn’t change destiny, and became an observer of life.

When he wakes up in the origin sequence his face is swathed in bandages, and he overhears someone thinking that his face has “changed horribly”. But when he tears off the bandages the only changes are his hair has gone white at the temples and nape and he’s grown a thin moustache.

“Hirschel’s Hair”

This is unusually hard story to introduce. It’s a 6 page story with an amusing premise. The catch is the premise only becomes clear at the top of p.5. So I’ve put it behind a spoiler warning.

 photo spoiler-1.gif A bald barber makes a toupee from the hair of a corpse, and it turns him into a vampire.

“Portrait of Death”

A lady reporter notices a man with a satchel leaving the scene of a killing. She follows him and the police follow her. He turns out to be a painter who is famous for painting monsters…

The art is by Rudy Palais. His work has a distorted, slightly H. G. Peter-ish look here.

“Sewer Horror”

An alien monster feeds on phosphorous. It gets it by killing human beings, and recruits a man to supply it with victims.

The story opens with an elaborate account of the origins of the monster. The artist is Pete Morisi. In this story his work has a cartoony look.

Other Content

The issue has a letters page titled “Coffin Corner”, hosted by the Teller. One of the spot illustrations show him with skull earrings that give him a Gypsy look.

The text item is called “Blood Suckers” and is about the 18th century origins of the modern form of the European vampire legend.

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This is horror for children, not unlike Charlton I suppose.

Artist identifications from the GCD. Heck's stories and the cover are signed.

The Phantom Witch Doctor #1 (Avon, 1952)

This was a one-shot. Like many Avon comics the issue has a contents page on the inside front cover. The cover and contents page were drawn by Everett Raymond Kinstler.

Kinstler also drew the second story, “Thing in the Mirror”. The other stories aren’t signed, and the GCD doesn’t have guesses as to their artists.

“The Phantom Witch Doctor”

A British commissioner in Nairobi judicially murders a good witch doctor, and his daughter is killed trying to save him. Their ghosts are unforgiving.

The art of this story makes me think of Wally Wood’s without the gloss. The third story may be from the same hand or hands, but I’m not certain; I think the art of that one is a bit tighter.

 photo spoiler-1.gif This is a tale of ghost revenge, but it’s not the commissioner that the ghosts revenge themselves on. I thought their victim didn’t have a sticky end coming.

“Thing in the Mirror”

A rich man commits a perfect murder, but afterwards starts seeing a critter like a green monkey whenever he looks in a mirror.

The demonic monkey may have been inspired by the one in J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s “Green Tea”, but the one in Le Fanu’s story isn’t green, and what happens is quite different.

Kinstler drew the story in an arty style that makes use of impressionism and chiaroscuro. The B&W inside front cover is in an attractive fine-art style.

The story’s title strip uses the cover-logo and a detail from the cover.

“Death Came Dancing”

A ballet dancer dumps his dancing partner/lover for a rich woman. Then he starts seeing his former’s partner’s ghostly figure…

 photo spoiler-1.gif This is another story of ghost revenge. Once again what happens to its victim outruns what he’s done. The ghost’s revenge comes across as personal rather than justice.

“Out of the Deep!”

A living pool of water animates skeletons by covering them with green sea organisms.

This story is drawn in a stiffer version of the style used by Kinstler. The story reminded me of Basil Wolverton’s “The Brain-Bats of Venus”, but the tales don't end the same way.

Other Content

There are two text stories. The first is a twist-end ghost story and the second is about a hobo who falls foul of the supernatural.

Mister Mystery #7 (Stanley Morse, 1952)

This is the issue “The Brain-Bats of Venus” comes form. Mister Mystery is the host/narrator. He wears a mask and a stage magician costume, and has a thin moustache. He’s not used in Wolverton’s story, but he is in the others.

The cover is by Tony Mortellaro, and drawn in an attractive style with a Caniff or Lee Elias influence. It shows an evil hunchback burying a woman alive. At first I thought he was rescuing her!

“The Brain-Bats of Venus”

An Earth spaceship with a two-man crew crashes on Venus. One of the men is killed in the crash. The survivor repairs the ship, but before he can leave weird creatures emerge from the jungle…

This is an SF/horror story drawn by Basil Wolverton. The GCD only tentatively gives him the script, but he was a writer/artist who often did weird SF, so it’s likely his. His style was naïve but visually striking, and very suited to weird SF. (He also did comedic stories in a bigfoot style.) The story is narrated in the second person.

I think of the tale as a companion to “The Eye of Doom” from Marvel’s Mystic #6, also by Wolverton, which Marvel reprinted in Weird Wonder Tales #1 in the 70s and Curse of the Weird #1 in the 90s. That story made a big impression on me when I encountered it as a kid, but this one I first read a few years ago and self-spoiled before reading it, so I can’t judge the twist ending.

The premise might trace back to the Kaldanes in Edgar Rice Burroughs’s The Chessmen of Mars.

“The Killer!”

A rich man loves to hunt. One of his employees is a timid bookkeeper who loves animals and spends time with them in the forest. A fawn reveals herself to be a forest elf, kisses him, and says if he loves them, he should help them out…

 photo spoiler-1.gif This one is like The Revenge of Bambi. The art is in a naïve style, but this is a case where that works for the story, as what’s really pleasing about it is the contrast between the Disney-ish imagery and the forest creatures’ amorality. The artist is John Bulthuis. (The story’s signed in the final panel.)

“The Man Who Beat the Chair!”

A gangster is sentenced to the electric chair. He spills on another gangster to get an opportunity to escape, and the underworld and police both hunt him.

This is a crime story, without supernatural elements. The GCD attributes the art of this story and the next to Jon Smalle. I think this is a confusion of Ed Smalle (according to the Jerry Bails Who’s Who his full name was Edwin Jon Smalle, Jr) and Jon Small, and the indexer meant Ed Smalle.

Smalle did a lot of work for DC; he drew “Congo Bill” in Action Comics for a decade. I suppose the indexer is right to ascribe both stories to him, but when I read them I thought the final story better-drawn. His style here is somewhat like Curt Swan’s, more so in the second story.

“The Wedding Eve!”

An academic who is about to get married finds he’s summoned a magic door, and goes through it.

The way he steps through a magic door into a forest is like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, but this isn’t a fairy-tale story.

 photo spoiler-1.gif The twist ending is what first made me think of the Narnia books (in them the differential works the other way), but it has ancient antecedents. Note that the protagonist ages when he returns.

Other Content

In the text story a criminal feigns insanity, and it backfires in an unexpected way.

The Thing #7 (Charlton, 1953)

The stories here are much more energetic than Charlton’s typical output of the 60s, in both art and writing. They’re more violent, too: I think the two shorter stories could’ve gotten past the Silver Age Code, but not the four longer ones.

The cover is for the story “The Gorgon’s Claw”, and issue’s goriest image. The GCD ascribes it to Lou Morales.(1) The floating heads show a woman changing into the Gorgon. Note the buildings outlined in white in the background.

Steve Ditko contributed to this series, but only from #12, so we don’t see him here.

The narration of the stories is signed “The Thing”, but the host isn’t shown. The one-pager lacks this element as it tells its story without narration.

“Hell Ship”

Three gangsters killing time before a robbery take a tour of a convict ship which was commanded by a killer captain, and decide to use it for their escape, to their regret.

This is a ghost story. Like all the issue's tales it's drawn in a mildly cartoony style. The artist was Bob Forgione. His style is a little stiff and uneven, but his storytelling is vigorous. He also drew the issue’s second story, but the art of this one is better, so there may have been some ghosting or assisting going on. For example, p.3 panel 1 and p.4 panel 3 show different styles.

The ship is said to have had torture equipment on board: a rack, torture board and iron maiden. It’s implied they were standard equipment. I don’t have much knowledge of Transportation, but that’s surely nonsense. (They had the Cat! What else do you need?)

“Spiderman and His Web of Doom”

Jerry and Lucille Trask rent a house from a Mr Nemo. His one restriction is they not enter the attic, so Lucille can’t resist doing so.

This is a spider-monster story. The art has good moments (p.3 panel 6) but isn’t up to the challenge of depicting a good monster. The ending is weak. Lucille’s rationalisations in the early pages are amusing. (“Since I accidentally unlocked the door, there can’t be any harm in just looking into the attic, to see if everything is all right there!”)

 photo spoiler-1.gif “Nemo” is Latin for “nobody”, but the story doesn’t point this out. The final panel’s claim that webs don’t burn is misinformation. See here.

“Give the Devil His Due!!”

A man takes out a loan from the Devil with all he possesses, which includes his soul, as the security.

This story is only 3 pages, so I could have included it under Other Content; but it’s an enjoyable light tale and has the feel of a story rather than filler. The premise is an amusing twist on the Faust theme. The art is by John Belfi, who also drew the next piece.

“The Gorgon’s Claw”

The handyman of Carlton College witnesses the murder of a man by a Gorgon. An academic who believes him makes a bronze claw and becomes a serial killer.

Like Forgione’s art Belfi’s is a little stiff and uneven, but vigorous. I think he's a bit slicker. "Give the Devil His Due!!" isn't as slick as Kurt Schaffenberger's work but reminds me of his look in places. (Could he have touched it up? The GCD doesn't list him as having done any work for Charlton.)

“Haunt of the Vampire”

In Cuba the new owner of a plantation is told that a king vampire lives in a swamp next to it.

The GCD points out the signature “TC” (it’s on the bottom right of the splash panel), and tentatively identifies the artist with “Collier”, who signed stories in #5 and #6. This is a succession-of-horrors story. It's a bit more clumsily drawn than the others but not too badly so, and has the most sensational content.

Other Content

The one-pager is called “The Ghosts of Gombi!” and has attractive art by Lou Morales. A man from a fishing village goes to a forbidden island in search of treasure, and encounters ghosts. The item does an unusually good job of telling a story in a page. It squeezes in 10 panels (counting the inset) without looking crowded.

The text story is "The Thing from the Deep". A former captain called Skipper Gorton now mans a ticket office at Calvo Bay, and warns visitors about the Calvo Monster, which he saw on his final voyage.

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None of the stories are disturbing to an adult, and a couple of them end weakly: but it's a fun issue.

(1) The GCD says the cover is signed. I think the signature is below the man’s tie, and hard to read because the issue used for the Comic Book Plus and DCM scans is scratched there. The GCD’s image of the cover is cropped too high to see it. Morales used a white-on-black signature on #5.

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