Monday, July 27, 2015

Star Spangled DC War Stories Part 58: March 1964


The DC War Comics 1959-1976
by Corporals Enfantino and Seabrook


Russ Heath &
Jack Adler
GI Combat 104

"Blind Man's Radar!"
Story by Robert Kanigher
Art by Joe Kubert

"The Return of Sgt. Mule!"
Story by Hank Chapman
Art by Jack Abel

Peter: A new German weapon is able to seek out and destroy Allied tanks in complete darkness. The Jeb Stuart must find a way to smoke out the menace and destroy it. While traveling through the wreckage of downed tanks, the men pick up a GI who's been blinded by the "night-fighter." Without time to turn back and get the man to a medic, the Stuart pushes on, all the while shadowed by the ghost of the Colonel, who continually tells his descendant that the Haunted Tank will come under fire during a great darkness. Jeb (the tank commander) tells Jeb (the ghost) that Jeb (the tank) will avoid destruction by staying in the blazing sun. That's not possible, though, as the tank enters a dark forest, is hit with a sky-darkening storm and, finally, a total eclipse (!) that renders it powerless to the "night-fighter." Luckily, the blinded GI has his other senses sharpened even faster and keener than Matt Murdock and warns Jeb that danger is approaching from the sky. Jeb orders his men to fill the sky with lead and the onslaught brings down the "night-flyer" for good.


The gripping finale of "Blind Man's Radar!"

Even though "Blind Man's Radar" is filled with many coincidences and frankly unbelievable occurrences, the story is also jammed with wall-to-wall action and suspense, traits that can often help you overlook shortcomings. Kanigher and Kubert are an unbeatable team and they combine here to create several nail-biting moments. Sure, we know there's no real danger to the men of the Jeb Stuart (this isn't Game of Thrones, after all) but when the Haunted Tank is pelted with ammo and the men are trapped inside the flaming box ("Here come our purple hearts," moans one of the boys), we can almost feel the claustrophobia our heroes must feel. When the blinded GI screams out, "I can hear something! Something up there!" as the "night-fighter" dives in for the kill, I got goosebumps. One of the Best of 1964!


Jack: Definitely above-average for the Haunted Tank series, but we still have the problem of ghostly Jeb Stuart giving cryptic warnings. Just come right out with it, will you? "Doom will strike you from the dark," he says. So what, the dark woods aren't enough? Nope, still more "doom from the dark" warnings! Then the torrential downpour doesn't cut it? Nope! How about a solar eclipse? Yep, that's it! The poor tank commander is afraid to tell his tank mates about the ghost because they'd call him crazy. There's a lot of that going around--he should meet the guys over in Star Spangled War Stories who don't want to tell anyone about the dinosaurs they keep running into!

Skinner has nagging doubts
about his role in the war
Peter: Time and time again, Sgt. Mule makes an ass out of Private Skinner, outperforming him on the battlefield and outsmarting the enemy at every turn. It wouldn't be so bad if Sgt Mule wasn't a donkey. Though Skinner is the butt of jokes from his human comrades, he eventually learns to live with and fall in love with his own private... er... Sgt. Mule. As if a mind-reading pooch wasn't bad enough, here we're saddled with a brainy beast of burden! Leave it to Hank Chapman to drum up "The Return of Sgt. Mule"; Hee haw-lways seems to find the hilarious aspects of World War II and reminds us that War wasn't always Hell. Some animal lovers (Jack Seabrook, for example) would cite Sgt. Mule as a fresh and startling concept but I hasten to add that this is actually the third time Chapman has made a donkey a hero of the military (the first two being "Mule PFC" from Our Army at War #29 [December 1954] and "The Sarge Was a Mule" from OAAW #117 [April 1962]) and we'll be subjected to a sequel before the end of the year as well ("Sgt. Mule Walks Among Us"? "House of Sgt. Mule"?). It's a reminder that these funny books were aimed at seven-year olds with disposable coins, but it's jolting after reading the stunning "Blind Man's Radar." I feel like a jackass wasting this much type on "Mule."

Jack: Amazing that we have a candidate for worst of the year in the same issue as a candidate for best of the year. It just goes to show you, oh I don't know what it goes to show you. That sometimes comics can be a disappointment? That the backup story in the war comics is almost always weaker than the lead story? That Jack Abel sure could mail it in sometimes? That Hank Chapman got paid for writing lines like: "bouquet of boom-blossoms"? How long till Enemy Ace?


Joe Kubert
The Brave & The Bold 52

"Suicide Mission! Save Him or Kill Him!"
Story by Robert Kanigher
Art by Joe Kubert

Jack: Johnny Cloud is sent on what could be a "Suicide Mission!" to travel behind enemy lines and pick up a valuable French agent with the code name "Martin," then return him to the Allied side. Cloud does battle with a Nazi plane before landing carefully, aware that his own plane has been rigged to blow up in case of a crash. He finds Martin lying in the back of a hay wagon driven by a dying old Frenchman, but to Cloud's surprise, the Nazis have encased Martin in an iron suit from head to toe in an attempt to prevent his escape or recognition.

Cloud loads Martin onto his plane and takes off, barely avoiding a Nazi machine gun with the aid of the old Frenchman, who Martin admits was his own father. Cloud is nearly done in by another Nazi plane until a last minute shot by a U.S. tank saves him. The tank--the Jeb Stuart--takes Cloud and Martin in the right direction, fighting off enemy tanks with some well-timed but cryptic advice from its ghostly adviser. After being damaged by an anti-tank mine, the Haunted Tank is saved by a blast from a bazooka manned by none other than Sgt. Rock.

Rock, Stuart and Cloud manage to remove Martin's iron suit only to discover that the secret French operative is Mlle. Marie! A Nazi commander in a tank corners the foursome, who recall the friends of Spartacus and all claim to be the famous agent, Martin. Rock makes a run for it and blows up the tank that chases him. Back at H.Q., the three Americans are promoted, though the newly-minted Lt. Rock is not happy about it and plans to find a way to return to Sgt. status.

"Save Him or Kill Him!" is automatically one of my favorite of the DC war stories we've read so far, but then I'm a sucker for team ups. Kubert's art in the Cloud and Stuart sequences is good but not great; he saves his best for the Rock sequence. Don't think too hard about why the Nazis would stick Mlle. Marie in an iron suit, because it makes no sense, but it does make the revelation of Martin's identity surprising. Ghostly Jeb Stuart is his usual, cryptic self, but the finale, with some sparks flying between Marie and Rock, is classic. And have we ever heard before that Sgt. Rock's first name is Frank? 

Peter: Our first full-length war blockbuster of the month (and the first ever War Heroes Team-Up) is a fun mash-up but could have been so much better. The reveal of Mademoiselle Marie under the tin can was a complete surprise (it's the first we've seen of the French babe since she lost her gig to a bunch of dinosaurs back in June 1960) but the "handing over of the baton" has a sameness to it that drags the narrative down. I would have preferred to see more interaction between the three headlining heroes (and if I were Gunner, Sarge, and Pooch, I'd have been calling my agent the second this issue hit the stands) and perhaps more depth given Bob was allowed a larger page count. I'm not all frowns, though, don't you worry. Kubert's art is right up there with his best and precious little time is given to the resident "ghost" and "spirit."


In Comic Book Marketplace #47 (May 1997), DC war collector and historian Mick Rabin says about B&B #52: "One of the great Kubert/Kanigher collaborations, which is often left out of the DC Big-5 history books. For one thing, it just isn't among the Big-5 runs, so it is frequently overlooked or forgotten." Many of Rabin's childhood friends skipped picking up B&B #62 because it wasn't a superhero story. "This came as little surprise," Rabin continues, "as I searched for nearly seven years before I found a copy which graded above Fine.... it has my vote for scarcest post-1962 DC issue from a mainstream title." From a marketing standpoint, this issue must have been a huge gamble (one that evidently didn't pay off since it will be five years before Sgt. Rock guests in the pages of Brave and the Bold again) but perhaps the editor (not coincidentally, Bob Kanigher) was hoping to boost sales of the war titles through a book usually given over to spandex and cowls. After reading the upbeat climax, I picture Marie and Rock, twenty years after the war, married, living in a little house in Florida perhaps, with the Sarge growling at the alligators, "Get off my lawn!"


Joe Kubert
Our Army at War 140

"Brass Sergeant!"
Story by Robert Kanigher
Art by Joe Kubert

Jack: Heading back to Easy Co. in a jeep with his C.O., 2d Lt. Rock complains mightily about his promotion, even as he fights off enemy planes and tanks. The battles leave both men's uniforms in shabby condition, much to the disgust of frontline general "Spit 'N' Polish," who threatens them with demotion if they don't take better care of their appearance.

Back at Easy Co., Rock must put up with razzing from his men as well as a new 2d Lt. named Smith, who is the son of General "Spit 'N' Polish" and who is wracked with self-doubt due to his father's harsh style of parenting. He begs Rock to put him in a position to prove himself, but it's not until he bravely takes out an enemy tank that his father softens. In the end, "Spit 'N' Polish" realizes that Rock is more valuable to the war effort as a sergeant and demotes him, using another tattered uniform as an excuse.

How about that? A continued story in a DC war comic, and a darn good one at that! "Brass Sergeant!" picks right up where "Suicide Mission!" leaves off and tells an exciting story that is marred only by the constant complaining of Lt. Smith about how he's not worthy. As usual, Kanigher and Kubert rise to the occasion with a satisfying portrait of--what else?--our army at war.


Peter: Only the second full-length solo Sgt Rock saga (after "4 Faces of Sgt Rock" back in OAAW #127), "Brass Sergeant" is a direct sequel to the Brave and the Bold team-up and, like that trailblazer, has a bit of a drag to it but, ultimately, satisfies. I could have done with a lot less whining from Spit 'n' Polish Junior and I was sure, before story's end, that Rock would have climbed the rank ladder all the way to General, but the action that opens this "blockbuster book" is aces. I had to laugh after Rock showed up at his C.O.'s office, shaved and showered, with his ammo belts hanging across his shoulders. Didn't this guy ever go anywhere without his bullets? Doesn't bode well for Mademoiselle's wedding night!


Ross Andru &
Mike Esposito
Star Spangled War Stories 113

"Dinosaur Bait!"
Story by Robert Kanigher
Art by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito

" 'General' Sarge"
Story Uncredited
Art by Jerry Grandenetti

Peter: The Navy and the Air Force team up to get to the bottom of disappearing subs in Area X-9 (you know, that part of the Pacific that's... uncharted). Representing the services are brothers Jim and Nick. Jim has always been there to protect little brother Nick, so when Jim's sub is snapped up by a terror from the prehistoric dinosaur ice age, Nick is understandably upset but never gives up hope that his big brother made it out okay. Before too long, though, Nick's got giant-sized troubles of his own as he and his men fly out of a cloud bank and end up landing on the wing of a pterodactyl. The men have no choice but to abandon ship and hope they don't end up as snacks for the giant birds. They all manage to parachute safely down to an island below but the dinos just keep on coming. As they are making their way back to the beach after a daring escape from a vicious Kangasorus Rex, they spy Jim's sub being tossed out of the water onto the beach by a long-necked thingy. Using explosives, Nick and his men are able to destroy the monster and take back the sub. On the way home, the brothers smile, confident that they will have forgotten all about the horrors they've lived through by the time they reach base.

After a delightful change of pace with last issue's "Dinosaur Sub-Catcher," Bob Kanigher realizes he's not paid enough to come up with clever twists every issue and heads back into familiar water with "Dinosaur Bait," going so far as stocking the tale with the mothball-worthy brothers-in-arms subplot and falling back on dinosaur pinball. There's not one panel in this story we haven't seen before; dinosaurs and soldiers can be cool but they can also get monotonous. Nick, as portrayed by Andru and Esposito, looks like a crack addict most of the time with his bulbous eyes and sweaty brow.

Jack: A better-than-usual entry in this repetitive series, "Dinosaur Bait!" benefits from some unexpectedly appealing art by Ross and Mike, such as the three-vertical-panel page reproduced here showing men in free fall blasting away at pterodactyls. There is a humorous flashback to the brothers' younger days as gang members and a fun sequence where one imagines the undersea horrors the other is facing. I don't usually like the War That Time Forgot stories this much!

Peter: A sergeant who dreams of wearing a higher rank gets a chance to step into those shoes when the General he's chauffeuring is paralyzed in the desert and the pair are surrounded by Nazis. With a little trickery and a whole lot of luck, the Sergeant saves both their hides and even earns a little respect from his senior officer. I thought " 'General' Sarge" was a clever little story (okay, so you do have to check your brain at the door several times...) hampered by Grandenetti's scratch-and-run art.


Jack: Though the GCD does not credit the writer, my money's on Bob Haney, in my opinion by far the better of the two writers responsible for most of the back of the book stories. With captions written in the second person ("You stagger like a startled rabbit from the only cover--") and an eerie series of panels where Nazis dressed in desert attire march toward the abandoned fort, this tale delivers the goods despite the artwork. As in the Sgt. Rock stories this month, the message at the end is that fighting sergeants can be more valuable than generals.


Joe Kubert
Sgt. Rock's Prize Battle Tales 1

(A reprinting of seven stories, only one of which actually stars Rock)

"The D.I.--and the Sand Fleas!"
Story by Robert Kanigher
Art by Joe Kubert
(reprinted from G.I. Combat #56, January 1958)

"Silent Fish"
Story by Robert Kanigher
Art by Russ Heath
(reprinted from Star Spangled War Stories #72, August 1958)

"Out in Front!"
Story by Robert Kanigher
Art by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito
(reprinted from Our Army at War #67, February 1958)

"Island of Armored Giants!"
(reprinted from Star Spangled War Stories #90, May 1960)

"What's the Price of a B-17?"
Story by Robert Kanigher
Art by Joe Kubert
(reprinted from Our Army at War #79, February 1959)

"Gun Jockey!"
Story by Robert Kanigher
Art by Irv Novick
(reprinted from Our Army at War #82, May 1959)

"Calling Easy Co.!"
(reprinted from Our Army at War #87, October 1959)

Peter: DC war fans must have jumped out of their foxholes in record numbers when they saw what was essentially the first DC War Annual hit the stands in early 1964. Sgt. Rock's Prize Battle Tales #1 features seven reprints culled from the titles between 1958 and 1960. 80 pages of blazing combat action for only two bits! Another monster, published as an 80 Page Giant, will appear in early 1965.

Jack: I have fond memories of the 80 Page Giants from childhood--Core Memories, perhaps, as they put it in Pixar's Inside Out. I love the covers with multiple stories featured.

Peter: The best reprint of the issue is easily "Calling Easy Co.!", but since we've covered that before, the runner-up gets the nod. The green soldiers learning the basics at training camp from the hardened drill instructor believe they're being singled out and picked on but, of course, without hardening, these boys wouldn't make it off the beach alive. When the D.I. chooses to accompany his new recruits to the landing, the boys fast come to realize what the man has been doing for them. A very solid, gritty, pre-Rock WWII saga. Chris Pedrin, in his indispensable study of the DC war books, Big Five (Alton-Kelly, 1994), cites the lead character of "The D.I.--and the Sand Fleas" as an early Sgt. Rock prototype ("...the closest yet to the Rock we know"). Far be it for me to argue (or at least mildly disagree) with the expert on Rock, but I don't see it. Sure, the hard facial features and masculinity are there but that's mostly due to Kubert's artwork. Rock is gruff and (for the most part) takes no guff but he's never really been a practitioner of mind games like the titular drill instructor. Regardless, "The D.I.--and..." is a very good story, with Kubert and Kanigher at the top of their game.


It never gets old!

From Battle Classics #1
(October 1978)


After that cup of coffee has kicked in, 
join us for another skin-tingling issue of 
Do You Dare Enter?
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Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Hitchcock Project-Robert C. Dennis Part One: "Don't Come Back Alive" [1.4]

Although Henry Slesar was involved as a writer in the most episodes of the Hitchcock series overall--47--he actually wrote or co-wrote teleplays for only 24 of the half-hour episodes and nine of the hour episodes. An argument can be made that Robert C. Dennis, who wrote teleplays for 30 of the half-hour episodes, all in the first four seasons, was a more prolific contributor to Alfred Hitchcock Presents than Henry Slesar. Dennis was very involved in setting the tone for the series in its early years; in fact, his last teleplay for Hitchcock was in season four, while Slesar's first was in season five. In a sense, Slesar picked up where Dennis left off as the show's most frequent writer.

In this series, I will review each of the episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents written by Robert C. Dennis. Four of his teleplays have already been covered in my series on other writers. It's interesting to note that only two episodes were based on short stories by Dennis; the other 28 were his adaptations of short stories by other writers.

Robert C. Dennis was born in 1920 in Ontario, Canada, and came to the U.S. in 1936. He began selling stories to the pulps in the late 1930s (the Fiction Mags Index lists a story as early as 1939) and continued until the early 1950s, selling over 150 stories to magazines. He wrote more than 40 radio plays and, in the early 1950s, when other pulp writers were turning to slicks, digests, or paperbacks, Dennis began writing for television. This became the main focus of his career and he is credited with over 500 teleplays from 1950 to 1983. He wrote a handful of movie scripts, but episodic TV was his bread and butter. He created two syndicated series in the 1950s: China Smith, which ran 52 episodes from 1952 to 1955, and Passport to Danger, which ran 39 episodes from 1954 to 1956.

From the original pulp
He is said to have invented the "teaser," the short scene at the start of a TV show that captures the viewer's attention and ensures he or she will not change the channel during the first commercial break. In the early 1970s, he wrote two novels: The Scent of Fear (1973) and Conversations With a Corpse (1974). He was a founding member of the Los Angeles chapter of the Mystery Writers of America and he died in 1983.

The first episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents to be written by Robert C. Dennis was "Don't Come Back Alive," which was only the fourth episode to be broadcast, going out over the airwaves on the CBS network on Sunday, October 23, 1955. It was based on Dennis's own short story of the same name that was first published in the November 1945 issue of Detective Tales. As the story opens, Frank Partridge, the narrator, insists that he is not a criminal, though the police think that he killed his wife seven years ago in 1938, when she disappeared.

Back in 1938, Frank is 39 years old and expects war to break out any day. He and his wife Mildred worry that war will be followed by another depression and wonder how they will survive. Frank thinks of the $10,000 life insurance policy that he bought for his wife and suggests that she disappear for seven years so that he can have her declared legally dead and they can collect the life insurance.

Sidney Blackmer as Frank
Mildred disappears and the police suspect Frank of murder. Detective Kettle is on the case and searches everywhere for the missing woman's body, even having workmen dig up Frank's garden. As the years pass, war does break out and Frank and Mildred manage to see each other occasionally on the sly. Kettle retires and buys a house on the same block as Frank.

Over time, Frank and Mildred see less and less of each other. When he notifies the insurance company of his plan to make a claim, the investigation is conducted all over again. One day, with only six months to go before the seven years are up and she can be declared legally dead, Mildred appears and asks Frank for a divorce. Frank, unable to let go of his dream of cashing in her policy for $10,000, kills her with a poker and hides her body. Kettle continues to haunt him and remarks, as the story ends, that they should have dug deeper in the vegetable garden, not realizing that this is where Mildred is now laid to rest.

The end of the story is ambiguous: does Kettle really plan to dig up the garden, or is he just waxing nostalgic about an old, unsolved case? The question is answered in the television adaptation, also called "Don't Come Back Alive" and also written by Robert C. Dennis.

Virginia Gregg as Mildred
The TV show moves the time ahead to 1948, so there is no backdrop of economic depression followed by war. Instead, Frank is a much older man who has trouble finding a job. When he tells Mildred that he has landed a job as a salesman but will not start till the next month, she replies that they are about to be evicted. He laments that, in six or seven years, he will be 60, "too old to be employed." The life insurance policy is worth $25,000, and Dennis's script extends and dramatizes the decision and planning surrounding Mildred's disappearance. A suspenseful scene is added just after she leaves; her sister Lucy comes to the house to pick her up and Frank, having just returned from delivering Mildred to the apartment where she will hide, jumps out of his car and runs to the back of the house, falling in the garden on the way. He enters through the back door and answers the front door, clearly out of breath and dirty from his fall. These details are later mentioned by Kettle--now an insurance investigator rather than a policeman--as evidence to support the claim that Frank murdered his wife.

Sidney Blackmer gives a rather theatrical performance as Frank. He was about 60 years old at the time, though  the script has him saying that he will not be 60 for six or seven years. Virginia Gregg plays Mildred and she was only about 39 years old at the time of filming; she is made up to look older to match Blackmer; when she returns to ask for a divorce, it is not difficult to make her look as if the seven years apart have made her appear younger. Gregg gives a nuanced, effective performance as Mildred, a woman very much in love with her husband who is forced to live apart from him for so long that her love withers and dies. Best of all is Robert Emhardt as Kettle; his whiny voice and smug expressions give perfect life to the dogged insurance man.

Robert Emhardt as Kettle
There is a fine scene that takes place in a public library, as Frank and Mildred meet in secret in the stacks, talking to each other over a row of books. Another effective scene comes at Christmas, when a planned visit by Frank fails due to Kettle's meddling, leaving Mildred to sit alone in a restaurant as a Christmas carol plays. As the story nears its end in 1955, the year the episode first aired, Kettle again visits Frank and accuses him of murder, as he has been doing for nearly seven years. Frank loses his temper a grabs a heavy candlestick on the mantle but does not attack Kettle. Instead, in the scene that follows, Frank uses the same candlestick to bludgeon Mildred before telling her corpse that "You've been dead too long to come back now."

In the final scene, Frank leaves his house to go to court to have Mildred declared legally dead when Kettle appears. Kettle admits defeat but notices that Frank has been digging in his garden. To Frank's horror, Kettle tells him that, just to show that there are no hard feelings, he'll turn over the ground in Frank's garden while Frank is in court so it will be easier for the man to plant his roses. The camera moves in on Frank's horrified face as Kettle begins to dig, and the show is over. The story's ambiguous conclusion has now been made clear: Kettle will find the body and Frank will finally be proved a murderer. Kettle's error for seven years was in thinking that a crime had been committed. Unfortunately for Frank, circumstances came together to fulfill Kettle's prophecy.

A covert meeting in the library
"Don't Come Back Alive!" is an entertaining story that Robert C. Dennis deepens in his teleplay; he is aided by three good actors who give life to his characters.

Sidney Blackmer (1895-1973) began his movie career in 1914 in silent film. He served in World War One and then became a stage actor before returning to the world of film. He won a Tony in 1950 as Best Actor for Come Back, Little Sheba, appeared in many TV shows from 1949 to 1971, and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was seen in the first TV adaptation of Cornell Woolrich's "Post Mortem" on Suspense in 1949, he was on Thriller and The Outer Limits once each, and he was in Fritz Lang's Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956) and Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby (1968). He appeared on Alfred Hitchcock Presents one other time, as Healer Jones in "The Faith of Aaron Menefee."

Playing Mildred is Virginia Gregg (1916-1986), who was in the occasional film from 1946 to 1986 and who appeared on numerous TV shows from 1955 to 1983. She was also a frequent actress on radio. Among her many credits are four episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, including Ray Bradbury's "And So Died Riabouchinska" and "Santa Claus and the Tenth Avenue Kid," as well as three episodes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, including Robert Bloch's "A Home Away From Home." She appeared on Thriller, The Twilight Zone, and Night Gallery, and was one of three people to provide the voice of Mrs. Bates in Hitchcock's Psycho (1960). For more information, see this website.

Irene Tedrow as Lucy
The wonderful Robert Emhardt (1913-1994) plays Kettle and appeared on stage, movies and TV over his 33-year career. Among the seven Hitchcock episodes to feature him were Henry Slesar's "The Right Kind of House."

As Mildred's sister Lucy, Irene Tedrow (1907-1995) adds another character role to her long list of credits on stage, radio, movies and TV. She was on the Hitchcock show four times, including John Collier's "Back for Christmas."

Finally, "Don't Come Back Alive" was directed by Robert Stevenson (1905-1986), a British director who came to Hollywood in the 1940s. He directed movies from 1932 to 1976, including King Solomon's Mines (1937). While working in TV from 1952 to 1982, he directed seven episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, including "And So Died Riabouchinska." He was best known for his work for Walt Disney, directing 19 Disney films and many Disney TV episodes in the 1960s and 1970s. The most famous and successful of these was Mary Poppins (1964).

"Don't Come Back Alive" is available on DVD here or may be viewed for free online here.

Thanks to Amber Paranick at the Library of Congress for providing a copy of "Don't Come Back Alive!"

Sources:

Brooks, Tim, and Earle Marsh. The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows: 1946-present. New York, NY: Ballantine, 2003. Print.
Dennis, Robert C. "Don't Come Back Alive!" Detective Tales November 1945: 35-39.
"Don't Come Back Alive." Alfred Hitchcock Presents. CBS. 23 Oct. 1955. Television.
"The FictionMags Index." The FictionMags Index. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 July 2015.
"Galactic Central." Galactic Central. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 July 2015. <http://philsp.com/>.
Grams, Martin, and Patrik Wikstrom. The Alfred Hitchcock Presents Companion. Churchville, MD: OTR Pub., 2001. Print.
IMDb. IMDb.com, n.d. Web. 12 July 2015. <http://www.imdb.com/>.
"Robert C. Dennis." Contemporary Authors Online. Thomson Gale, 2007. Web. 12 July 2015.
Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 12 July 2015. <https://www.wikipedia.org/>.

In two weeks: "Our Cook's A Treasure," with Everett Sloane and  Beulah Bondi!


Monday, July 20, 2015

Do You Dare Enter? Part Fifty-Seven: March 1975


The DC Mystery Anthologies 1968-1976
by Peter Enfantino and
Jack Seabrook


Nick Cardy
Ghosts 36

"The Vengeance of the Ghoul"
Story by Leo Dorfman
Art by Fred Carrillo

"The Phantom Hound"
Story by George Kashdan
Art by Don Perlin

"The Boy Who Returned From the Grave"
Story by Leo Dorfman
Art by E.R. Cruz

Jack: In a remote Kenyan village in 1929, someone has stolen ivory from the village storehouse, so the villagers approach the local graveyard, where a spectre-like ghoul points out the culprit. A youth named Kamba confesses when identified but begs for his life and, for the first time, the ghoul agrees to spare him because of his youth. Five years later, Arab traders arrive to enslave the villagers, but Kamba leads them to the graveyard, where the slave traders face "The Vengeance of the Ghoul." Standard Ghosts fare, but for a change Dorfman tells a half-decent story.

"The Vengeance of the Ghoul"

Peter: Again, we find that the best thing about most of these Ghosts stories is the title. At least we get decent artwork from Fred Carrillo but Dorfman (as usual) forgets to fill us in on some of the important details (what's this ghoul's back story and, if he's a ghoul, how come he's not snacking on any corpses?).

Jack: The streets of the big city were a harsh place for a blind beggar and his dog in 1970, but when Eric Blair kills the blind man in a hit and run accident he finds himself tracked and killed by "The Phantom Hound," which appears to be the ghost of the man he killed. Dreadful from start to finish, this is an early contender for worst of 1975.

The 1970s produced some terrible comic art!

Watch out for those eyes!
Peter: I'm allergic to anything with Don Perlin's name attached but I managed to make it all the way through this (duty!) only to find it was as stupid as I expected it to be. Did they really bury the bad guy in the hole the dog dug? The logistics of that act would be more interesting to me than the story we're presented with.

Jack: In 1911, a boy named Maxim is pronounced dead and buried, but his mother senses him calling two days later and has the coffin dug up. "The Boy Who Returned From the Grave" now has white hair and a strange stare. Worst of all is his ability to tell folks when they're about to die. Shunned by society, he grows up lonely until the day when he foresees the death of his beloved parents and himself in a fire. He picks a fight so they throw him out and he dies alone in a fire, having saved the people who loved him most. I have to hand it to Leo Dorfman, this is a pretty good story, and E. R. Cruz's art doesn't hurt!

Peter: This creepy little tale has some very nice art by E.R. Cruz and a satisfying twist ending.


Luis Dominguez
Weird Mystery Tales 16

"The Curse of the Fool Moon"
Story by David Michelinie
Art by Frank Robbins

"The Witches' Way"
Story by Paul Levitz
Art by Noly Panaligan

"Neely's Scarecrow"
Story by David Michelinie
Art by Alex Nino

Peter: Uber-nerd Courtney is the butt of many jokes at F. Wertham High (inside joke alert!) but the bullies have gone one step too far and Courtney seeks professional help. He finds aid in an old witch who gives the boy an incantation that will transform him into a werewolf for three nights but... (there's always a but) if Courtney fails to read the counter-spell on the fourth night, he'll remain a lycanthrope until the day he dies. When the change comes, Courtney discovers he has no control over the beast so, on successive nights, his animal side rips and tears through bullies and stuck-up cheerleaders. Since all he wanted was to scare his tormentors, the troubled teen rushes home on the fourth day to read the anti-spell, only to find his mom has cleaned his room and burned the offensive book (no more "occult trash" for her little boy), leaving Courtney to dread "The Curse of the Fool Moon" for the rest of his life. Any bits of wit, humor, and suspense are buried under the tons of rubble known as Frank Robbins artwork. The first victim (well, the first victim if you don't count the reader), cheerleader Marcie, seems to be levitating and performing a Pilates workout all while being torn apart on the splash page. In a flashback, several pages later, Marcie is shown to be about twelve feet tall or else Courtney is a dwarf. All in a day's work for Frank.

Frank Robbins' cheerleader defies gravity.

Jack: When I saw that this was drawn by Frank Robbins, my heart sank and I expected a train wreck. I suppose my expectations were so low that I was pleasantly surprised. The art fit the story, which was above average for what we've been reading in the DC horror books.

Some of Noly Panaligan's gorgeous
art from "The Witches' Way"
Peter: Melissa, daughter of the Duke of Kobar, wants to rule the kingdom but knows several bodies will have to be buried before that can become reality, so she enlists the aid of a local witch to dispose of her two brothers. The only obstacle becomes the Duke himself but then Melissa becomes worried that the old witch will spill the beans so she decides to make the ancient crone victim #3. Unfortunately for Melissa, witches don't die easily and the old biddy angrily reveals to Melissa the small print on the contract: the Duke's daughter is transformed into an old witch herself! A weak climax to an otherwise decent story, "The Witches' Way" is highlighted by the exquisitely detailed pencils of newcomer Noly Panaligan, the latest winner in DC's Filipino artist harvest of the mid-1970s. Noly's style would best be described as "Luis Dominguez Meets Reed Crandall." Luckily, we'll see more of Panaligan in the future.

Jack: I agree with you--good story with a letdown of an ending. The art is impressive but somewhat static, like illustrations in a book rather than dynamic comic art. I hope we see more of this artist and that he loosens up a bit.

Peter: Luke Barrow is a ruffian and a cad; no one would argue that. He scares little kids with his tales of living scarecrows and manhandles the beautiful Lil, a gal he couldn't afford to make time with if she let him. When Luke sees Lil in the street with another guy, a richer guy, he goes a bit nuts and decides to rob Mr. Neely and take Lil out for a night on the town. Unfortunately for the bungling thief, Mr. Neely comes home and catches Luke in the act. Barrow accidentally kills Neely and hoofs it, posse in pursuit. The only way to hide is to empty the straw and take his place in the clothes of "Neely's Scarecrow." The ruse works until the little boys return to test the theory of living scarecrows with a pitchfork. I'm a sucker for a good scarecrow story (and sometimes, even a bad one will do) and "Neely's Scarecrow" fits the bill. Michelinie (fast becoming the heir to Michael Fleisher for Best DC Horror Story Writer) weaves together both plot threads organically without resorting to glaring contrivances; it all seems to fit naturally. Nino's work, as always, is suitably creepy, with the obvious standout being the aftermath of the boys' experiment (right). Sure to be Top Ten this year, eh, Jack?

Jack: I liked it, but not in a Top Ten kind of way. The story kind of ambled along until the chilling ending, though even that was predictable. I complained about Panaligan's art needing to be looser; well, Nino's art in this story is almost too loose and scratchy for me, and I'm a big fan of Alex Nino's work. I had the same thought about Michelinie channeling Fleisher and that final, shadowy panel is a winner.


Nick Cardy
The Witching Hour 52

"The Hidden and the Hideous"
Story by Carl Wessler
Art by Lee Elias

"Honeymoon for a Corpse"
Story by George Kashdan
Art by Don Perlin

"Flowers for Your Funeral"
Story by Carl Wessler
Art by June Lofamia

Jack: Ernest Hoskins arrives late for his morning train and boards one that happens to be waiting for him. He spends the day in a daze, wondering if he's going out of his mind. That night, he takes the train home and is greeted at the door by monstrous versions of his wife and children, all of whom try to kill him. When they succeed, he reverts to similarly monstrous form. Carl Wessler has a knack for writing stories that are a) stupid and b) make no sense. Lee Elias tries his best to illustrate this dreck in order to clarify it, but "The Hidden and the Hideous" should have stayed hidden.

We just don't get it!

Peter: I have no idea what Carl Wessler was trying to say here. Is this his idea of a "deep meaning" story? If so, keep trying, Carl.

Peter makes Jack read another issue
Jack: Spencer becomes Wilma's fourth husband but faces a "Honeymoon for a Corpse," since her family disobeyed Satan in the past and now the Dark Lord comes once a year to claim another soul. Wilma loves Spencer and gives her life willingly to spare him. Too bad we were not spared this disaster of a story. And I thought the one before it was bad! Did Don Perlin get paid for this art?

Peter: Look out, Jack, I think we're in danger of scraping the bottom of the barrel! Don Perlin really is one of the worst artists ever to work in the majors but "Honeymoon for a Corpse" is really bad even by Perlin standards. George Kashdan contributes another one of his "Duh!" twist endings.

The female mind at
work, according to
Carl Wessler
Jack: Lucy Royce grows jealous when she spies on her hubby and sees him bringing flowers to another woman. She mails the woman a poisoned box of candy so that her rival will be pushing up daisies. Soon, though, Lucy will need "Flowers for Your Funeral," when she finds out that her husband was moonlighting as a flower delivery man to earn money to buy her a birthday present. The woman to whom he repeatedly delivered flowers gave him a box of candy to give to Lucy and, when she eats a piece, she drops dead of her own poison. The best thing about this story is that it's only four pages long. Lofamia wins Best Artist of This Issue by a nose.

Peter: A little clarity is needed: did Lucy ask the candy manufacturer to pop poison in the chocolate nut clusters or did she pack the box herself? If she was responsible for mailing (which I'm sure she was), how could she not have recognized the box of candy her hubby was handing to her? Much ado about nothing but these things make me scratch my head. Here's a four-page story where three-quarters of the running time is devoted to Lucy exclaiming "I'll kill them!" and making mean faces.

When Worst of the Year time comes, I may have to break tradition and pick this entire issue.

Jack: I'll second that!


Nestor Redondo &
Berni Wrightson
The House of Mystery 229

"Sir Greeley's Revenge!"
(Reprinted from The House of Mystery #181, August 1969)

"Sour Note!"
(Reprinted from The House of Mystery #179, April 1969)

"Nightmare Castle"
Story by Robert Kanigher
Art by Nestor Redondo

Out of place? Yep, originally slotted for Secrets of Sinister House #6 (Sept. 72)

"The Dead Can Kill!"
(Reprinted from The House of Mystery #183, December 1969)

"I Was a Spy For Them"
Story Uncredited
Art by Mort Meskin
(Reprinted from Tales of the Unexpected #16, August 1957)

"Mask of the Red Fox"
(Reprinted from The House of Mystery #187, August 1970)

Peter: Newlyweds Carol and Phil Landon are heading for their honeymoon when the car breaks down in a torrential downpour and Phil must hoof it for help, leaving Carol behind. A stranger approaches the car and tells Carol that he works for a nice family who live up the road in a big mansion and that he can provide shelter from the storm, so Carol not so smartly agrees. Once she gets to "Castle Trull," Carol becomes a prisoner and later learns she will be married off to the son of Mrs. Trull, the mentally deranged and devil-worshipping Laurence Trull. Though she tries, Carol cannot fight the hypnotic powers of Laurence and his mother. Mrs. Trull explains that Carol was, in fact, the identical twin sister of Laurence's betrothed. Years before, Laurence had wrapped his sports car around a tree and killed his fiance, losing his marbles in the process. Mrs. Trull then tracked down Carol and engineered her entire journey to "Nightmare Castle." Just after the ceremony, hubby Phil pops up out of the blue to rescue Carol and drag her away from "Nightmare Castle." Down the road, they're picked up by the town sheriff, who scoffs at the story the young couple tell. An impossible scenario, claims the cop, since Laurence and his mother were burned at the stake as witches a century before. Carol and Phil go back to their life, trying to forget the horror they'd endured but something keeps nagging at lovely Carol. Months later, she happily tells Phil she's expecting but, when the baby is born, the couple recoil in fear: the cute little nipper has his dad's horns and hooves.


Revealed at last!
Jack's baby picture!
Robert Kanigher's "Nightmare Castle" is an over-stuffed relic of a bygone day, the last of the "Gothic mysteries" that DC was dabbling in at the beginning of the 1970s (at least, I hope it's the last one). In fact, according to the GCD, the story was originally slated for Secrets of Sinister House #6 (September 1972) but shelved, ostensibly, because Secrets was down-sized from its previous 52 pages to 36 and also because of a general steering away from the Gothic genre. So, why wait over two years to dust this one off the shelf and subject us to it? Because it was there and paid for. Padded out to an insufferable 36-page length, "Nightmare Castle" suffers not only from its snail-like pace but also from (and this is an old complaint, I know) a general lack of interest on the part of the writer. Kanigher was without peer in the war comics genre but would leave no cliche untackled when it came to his rare excursions into mystery land. It's inconceivable to me that, when Bob turned in his script for "Nightmare," editor Joe Orlando didn't remind Kanigher that the little baby with horns twist had been done very effectively only a few years before and might still be fresh in the public's mind. Also befuddling is the reaction to the child's appearance by the delivering doctor and nurse, who seem unfazed by the li'l devil.

Jack: Other than the sequence where the dead rise from their graves as ghouls or ghosts, this really doesn't seem to fit in House of Mystery, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. As you point out, Kanigher pulls out every cliche in the Gothic romance genre. It is a dark and stormy night when the newly married couple's car runs out of gas. A spooky butler named Boris leads the wife to a castle. There is a lost twin. Some of the lines are worth repeating:

"The crimson shapeless mask that had once been his companion's face bubbled in front of his shocked stare."

"I don't know who these cats are--but you're my woman!"

Kanigher displays an unfortunate tendency toward hip lingo, such as "groovy," but the story is fun and moves along quickly.

Not the brightest colonoscope in the lab
Peter: Since four of the five reprints have already been covered in past posts, that leaves only the anemic "I Was A Spy for Them," wherein a scientist concocts a "spectra-magnet," a gizmo that "absorbs light--and retains it!" The invention comes in handy when the prof meets up with aliens who promise him vast secrets of the universe in exchange for some of Earth's vital diagnostics. As we've learned from various DC 1960s reprints, these scientists can actually be pretty dopey so it's no surprise to us, but quite to him, when the aliens turn out to be invaders. Luckily for our quasi-hero, these aliens are made up of "light" and he uses his heretofore useless "spectra-magnet" to soak the baddies up. It's harmless fun, nothing requiring any heavy lifting (or attention, for that matter), and it's graced by the very Gene Colan-esque pencils of Mort Meskin. Though the 100-page experiment was doubtless nipped in the bud due to expenses (and dwindling sales), DC pulled the plug at about the right time since the pickings of quality oldies were becoming quite slim. Still, to this day, the jumbo-sizers hold a fond place in many a fan's heart.

Jack: I love the 100-page comics but after reading through the DC horror selections I conclude that the superhero 100-pagers were much better. I read them all as a kid and loved seeing the stories from the '40s and '50s. Had I been interested in horror comics at age 11, when this issue came out, I would have been disappointed to find it filled with Gothic romance and reprints of stories from only a few years go. Still, the art is above-average, with Redondo turning in his usual good job on the new tale and reprints featuring work by Toth and Wrightson. As for Meskin, I always see more Kirby than Colan in his work.


Luis Dominguez
The House of Secrets 129

"Almost Human"
Story by Jack Oleck
Art by Franc Reyes

"The Lottery"
Story by Michael Fleisher and Russ Carley
Art by Ernie Chua

Peter: Martha Kenyon has a dream of being young and pretty again. To that end, she enlists her husband, Lyle, and a guide, Grayson, to seek out the bee people, a legendary lost race located deep in the Amazon jungle. Martha's theory is that the bee people can teach her the theory behind "royal jelly" and she can apply that formula to turn back the hands of time. Things don't go well, unfortunately, and Martha is taken prisoner by the "Almost Human" tribe while Grayson is murdered (by Martha) and Lyle is critically injured. Lyle makes it back to civilization and brings the police back with him to search for his wife. After a long search, the men find Martha in a special "hive" in her new role as the Queen Bee.

A fat woman in pink jammies
was the best Reyes could produce?
This is not that bad of a story (even though I'm pretty much burnt out by both the "secret-race" and "thoughtless-explorers" sub-genres) but it's padded to the teeth with lots of needless expository panels. Even the "reveal" is padded; Oleck gives us several panels of Lyle and the police reacting in horror to Martha's new appearance which is, when all is said and done, pretty tame. Martha's gained quite a bit of weight but it's not like she's got a huge stinger on her bottom or yellow and black stripes on her skin (think blonde Cass Elliott). Newcomer Franc Reyes' work reminds me of Arthur Suydam, an artist we haven't seen enough of (but who'll pop up here in just a couple issues), nice and atmospheric (other than the "reveal," that is). I would have liked to learn more about these bee people though and since Oleck was afforded a few extra pages more than usual, I'm disappointed that bit of expository was ignored.

Jack: If you're going to steal from Roald Dahl, whose short story "Royal Jelly" shares some of the ideas in Oleck's story but handles them much better, you should at least make sure you have a bang-up ending, which this tale does not. I see Suydam in Reyes's art and I also see Wrightson influences. The big reveal at the end ruins the story, since Martha is just big and fat. Your suggestion of stripes and a stinger would have been better.

Peter: Businessman Bill Martin gets on the wrong train and ends up trapped for a weekend in a rural town known as Plumber's Junction. There's not much to do in the Junction but at least Bill showed up in time for "The Lottery." The winner, Bill is told, is handed a cashier's check for fifty grand. At the ceremony, Bill is dumbfounded to learn he's the winner but also mystified as to why the town mayor needs the name and address of Bill's wife. Soon after surrendering the information, Bill is clubbed over the head and wakes up in a cemetery as food for a vampire. We discover that the town has made a deal with the local blood-sucker: they'll offer up a sacrifice every year and the vamp will leave Plumber's Junction off the menu. Kind of a cute tale, one that you'd expect to go the (obvious) Shirley Jackson route but heads off into a different direction. I'd question the validity of a vampire who will sleep all year and take only one victim during that period and I would assume the widow would make inquiries into the writer of the check but you soon forget these little nits while perusing some of the nicest Chan art we've seen during this journey. Almost resembles Alfredo at times.



Jack: Happy "Steal From Classic Short Stories" month at the House of Secrets! If the first story cribbed from Roald Dahl, this one borrows heavily from Shirley Jackson, except this time, instead of the winner being stoned to death, he is killed by a vampire. I can only imagine how Russ Carley sold this one to Mike Fleisher:  "Mike! I read a real cool story and I think if we just change it a little bit here and there we can make it work!" Sheesh!


Nick Cardy
Unexpected 162

"I'll Bug You to Your Grave"
Story by George Kashdan
Art by Ruben Yandoc

"Half a Man is Better Than None!'
(But Don't You Believe It)"
Story by Dave Wood
Art by Bill Draut
(Reprinted from Unexpected #110, January 1969)

"When Is It My Time to Die?"
Story by George Kashdan
Art by Alex Nino

"Steps to Disaster!"
(reprinted from Unexpected #116, January 1970)

"The Corpse That Didn't Die!"
Story by Dave Wood
Art by Pat Boyette
(reprinted from Unexpected 112, May 1969)

"The Vengeful Windmill!"
Story by Dave Wood
Art by Bill Draut
(reprinted from Unexpected #109, November 1968)

"Friday the 13th Club"
Story Uncredited
Art by Curt Swan and John Fischetti
(Reprinted from The House of Mystery #4, July 1952)

"That Deard Old Gang of Mine"
Story by Carl Wessler
Art by Abe Ocampo

"I Fell in Love with a Witch!"
Story Uncredited
Art by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye
(Reprinted from The House of Mystery #1, January 1951)

"Free Me From the Bewitched Bell!"
Story Uncredited
Art by George Roussos
(Reprinted from My Greatest Adventure #71, September 1962)

"Master of the Voodoo Machine!"
Story by Carl Wessler
Art by Bernard Baily
(Reprinted from Tales of the Unexpected #104, January 1968)

"The Man Who Betrayed Earth"
Story Uncredited
Art by Jack Kirby
(Reprinted from The House of Mystery #72, March 1958)

Jack: Mr. Elwyn hires Mr. Casey, an expert in electronic surveillance, to listen in on Mr. Franke, who is blackmailing various people, including Elwyn. One night, when Franke is alone in a pool, he is murdered by a shadowy figure. Elwyn then tells Casey to find Franke's hidden stash of money. Casey listens in at Franke's house, where his wife and daughter search for the hidden money. Hearing Franke's voice direct him toward the mausoleum, Casey plans to find and keep the money, but Elwyn and a goon surprise him and join him inside the mausoleum for the final stages of the search. Franke's disembodied voice leads them to a hidden cache of explosives and they are killed in the explosion. Franke's wife and daughter arrive on the scene and his ghost directs them to the money before going to its final resting place. Kashdan's muddled plotting is at work once again in "I'll Bug You to Your Grave." I could not figure out who killed Franke in the pool, but does it matter? This is yet another confusing story with an unsatisfying ending.

Peter: "I'll Bug You" is one of the better George Kashdan tales I've read. It's got a clever twist and some nice art but what is Alma doing in that final panel? Twister?

Right foot blue!

Jack: In his little curio shop, hippie/mystic Mr. Erghon is able to answer accurately the question his customers pose: "When is it My Time to Die?"  The police are suspicious, especially since each person who dies exhibits a cloven hoof print burned into their forehead. Policewoman Burke is assigned to follow Erghon but finds the real killer to be Dr. Welles. His daughter was killed in a freak accident when a bottle thrown from a passing bus window knocked her off her horse. Dr. Welles has been killing all of the passengers on that bus, one by one, since he could not know which one threw the bottle. He uses a laser gun to kill and it leaves a mark like a cloven hoof on the foreheads of his victims. Burke is saved from the mad doctor at the last moment by the cops, who are led to her location by Erghon, who had a vision that she was in danger.

Alex Nino turns in the best artistic performance of the month, but Kashdan's story is a confusing ripoff of one of Cornell Woolrich's best novels, Rendezvous in Black (1948), where a bottle carelessly thrown from an airplane window kills a bride and her distraught husband murders each of the men on the plane. I guess if you're going to plagiarize, it's good to use a quality source.

Remind you of anything?

Peter: Two decent Kashdan thrillers in one issue? Mabel, get my heart medication! This one's a nifty surprise, tantamount to a 1970s updating of one of those faux-supernatural stories we've been reading as reprints.

Jack: Jeff Rudley loved nothing more than playing poker with his friends, so when the last one dies he sinks into a depression. Soon, the police discover that someone has been digging up the graves of "That Deard Old Gang of Mine." It doesn't take much investigating to locate the corpses, sitting propped up around a card table in a gruesome game of poker that has but one living member. Ocampo's art is fine and the shock ending makes this story enjoyable.

Looks like fun!

Peter: And... then there's Carl Wessler. Carl manages to bring me back to Earth after such a great start to this final 100-page Super Spooktacular. The first half of "That Dead Old Gang of Mine" is like one of those gawdawful Hallmark movies, sappy and meandering, and the "shock" finale has been done several times before and much better.

Jack: With this issue, the DC Horror line's 100-pagers come to an end. Next month, it's back to normal size, and not a moment too soon. Other than the two stories from the early '50s with Curt Swan art, the reprints would have been better off in the dustbin of comics history.

"I Fell in Love With a Witch!"

Peter: The last 100-page DC mystery title ever is stuffed full of unspectacular reprints, the only standouts being of historical note. The only plus to "The Corpse That Didn't Die" is the striking art by Pat Boyette. What will Cyrus Marshall do now that he knows he's unloved? Does he go on with his charade? An intriguing premise but we're left high and dry by Dave Wood's abrupt climax. "The Man Who Betrayed Earth" is cut from the same cloth as the Jack Kirby tales that would become the norm a few years later in the pages of Marvel's science fiction anthologies and "I Fell in Love with a Witch" has some gorgeous art (but a snooze-worthy script) and the distinction of having been the very first story in the very first issue of House of Mystery. While the other publishers were clogging the stands with blood and guts, DC was taking the high road with tame material such as "Witch" and "Friday the 13th Club."


Oui! Oui! It's the return of Jack's favorite French femme fatale, Mademoiselle Marie, along with the first-ever team-up of Sgt. Rock, Johnny Cloud, and the men of The Haunted Tank! Don't miss the 58th Bombshell-Blasting Issue of Star Spangled DC War Stories!
                   
                                    On Sale July 27th!