Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Dungeons of Doom!: The Pre-Code Horror Comics Volume Five

Harvey Comics
Part Five

By Jose Cruz and 
Peter Enfantino

Getting a Woody
Peter: On his way out the company door to vacation, millionaire Jim Trent notices his employees loitering around his secretary's desk. When he approaches and quizzes them as to what they're up to, they claim they were on their way to wish him a happy vacation and a happy birthday as well. Touched by the kindness of his staff, Jim heads home to collect his wife, Madeline, and hit the road to the family cabin. Once on the road, Jim realizes the guy driving the car is not the regular driver but his old business partner, Carl Andro. Fifteen years before, Andro had supposedly been gunned down by mobsters but managed to escape. Now, he's back for a tasty revenge on the man he believes set him up for the hit: Jim Trent. Carl wants lots of money to make up for his lost years and Jim tells him he has some green stashed at the cabin. Madeline whispers to Jim that, no matter what it takes, she wants her husband to get rid of this nuisance pronto. When they get to the lodge, Madeline distracts Andro long enough for Jim to sneak up and throttle his old partner to death. They decide the cellar would be the best place to bury the body so they open the cabin door, only to find Jim's employees shouting "Happy Birthday, Jim!"

When we're first introduced to Jim Trent, the protagonist of "Dead End" (from Witches Tales #21)we have an inkling the guy might be a jerk but he quickly rebounds, in our eyes, by being grateful for his employees' interest in him. So, when Andro shows up, we're doubtful Trent could have been shifty enough to have arranged a mob hit. Any doubts fly right through the window when he and his wife begin plotting the blackmailer's murder in the back seat of the limo ("I don't know what you've done in your past, Jim -- but you must get rid of him! He'll suck us dry! Remember -- you have a position in this world!"). Madeline couldn't care less, really, if her husband had this shadowy past as long as it doesn't interfere with the lifestyle she's become comfortable in. I love how the writer (thought to be artist Howard Nostrand) pushes our buttons and keeps us completely in the dark, right up to that fabulous final panel. We don't talk much about the colorist's role in these ancient funny books but whoever had the job here added enormously to Nostrand's chameleonic art (aping not only Jack Davis but Wally Wood). The sickly green shadows used to give the limo interior almost a noirish tone are brilliant eye catchers.

Jose: Carl is up to his arched eyebrows in hatred for his pushy boss Mr. Kaffner, the resident clockmaker of their unnamed Mittel-European hamlet. All Carl wants to do is join his demon friends on a rampage of carnage on Walpurgis Night; can’t a guy catch a break? Hearing his wicked desires, the imps prod Carl on until he finally knifes old Kaffner to death in a fit. The old boy wisely uses his dying breath to utter a curse on Carl and all the clocks in the land: they shall cease their motions until the unruly assistant himself dies, thus consigning his fellow citizens to an eternal night of Walpurgis! The skeletons and devils rejoice at this stroke of good luck and dutifully proceed to terrorize the peasantry at Carl’s command. Soon it starts to rain and, since the night will go on forever, so will the downpour. (Hey, just go with it!) The monsters don’t take kindly to getting wet though, and once they catch wind that they’ll be able to get on to a drier existence once Carl kicks the bucket he doesn't remain much longer for this world. With the traitorous assistant strangled in the graveyard, the clocks resume their course and the demons retreat into the night for another year.

When I was compiling the story credits for this post and saw there was a tale titled “Walpurgis” (WT #18) and penciled by no less than copycat and artiste extraordinaire Howard Nostrand, I perked right up. Visions of “Night on Bald Mountain”-styled shenanigans with gabled churches shuddering in the wake of shadowy daemons and long-leggity beasties danced in my head, so it was almost predestined that the actual story couldn’t quite live up to my grandiose expectations. But even in that light, this one is easily a keeper. I appreciate how the old “kill the boss” routine was given a unique supernatural twist, and it gets a payoff with a nicely eerie final panel that marries the triumphant (the “merry” chimes of the clocks) with a portent of doom (“…ticking closer and closer to another Walpurgis Night!”) in the same sentence.

Peter: When a mountain lion begins killing a farmer's livestock, he becomes "The Hunter" (#22), stalking the big cat over treacherous icy mountain tops until, finally, he catches up to the cat and puts his final bullet in it. Gloating over the corpse, he hears a noise from behind and realizes, too late, he's actually been tracking two cats!

No, there's not much to the story, I'll grant you, but what's there is lean and mean and has a payoff that'll kick you in the teeth. Unlike a similar story might have been portrayed over at EC (where Bill Gaines and co. sometimes seemed to put the morals in front of the shocks), this farmer is, for the most part, a sympathetic character. He's not hunting the cat because he wants to hang its pelt on his wall or any other macho reason; he's making the trek out of necessity. Without his livestock, he can't eat. It's only towards the climax that the dark side emerges and he begins to enjoy the hunt and, ultimately, the kill. The final panels, with the second cat approaching the now-defenseless man, are genuinely terrifying. Yet another winner by Bob Powell.

Jose: Wakely and Finch are a pair of shuttered buzzards who toil away the midnight hour by using arcane rites and dark science to summon the signs of the Zodiac into fleshy reality. When two suits who’ve bought the place up try to give the boys the heave-ho, Wakely and Finch decide that there’s no time like the present to give their experiment a shot. They each conjure up their respective signs, a menacing scarlet scorpion for Finch and the goldilocked, strapping archer Sagittarius for Wakely. They send their pets out to administer proper punishment to the businessmen. The sorcerers gloat over their victory, but soon Finch is abusing Sagittarius by constantly sending him on murderous grocery runs to bring back human flesh for his hungry scorpion, much to Wakely’s chagrin. When Wakely confronts Finch, he gets a face full of hot scorpion tail for his troubles. Finch’s brutal torture of Sagittarius backfires when the brute breaks loose from his chains and tears Finch's stingy critter to pieces, thus sentencing Finch (and all the other unfortunate Scorpios of the world) to a rotting death.

Wow. Where do you start with this one? “Zodiac” (from #18) is a breath of fresh air; after being inundated with so many brain-dead mad scientist tales from the last batch of issues, I mentally exclaimed “At last: imagination!” after finishing this story. “Zodiac” gets big points for taking time to think outside the box and explore all the implications of its fantastic premise. This approach didn’t always work well (see “What’s Happening at 8:30 P.M.?”) but here it's pulled off with seeming ease and grace by steadfast Nostrand. 

And what a big arrow he has.
Not only is it creative, but it’s subversive as hell. It’s nearly impossible not to pick up on the homosexual connotation of Wakely and Finch’s “experimentations." Sagittarius’ rugged good looks seem to predate that similar golden child of male desire Rocky from the same-named The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975). When Nostrand (or whoever) writes lines like “No, the other didn’t escape either. Sagittarius has a way with men…” the story is practically begging us to take note of its queerness. Being a product of its time, “Zodiac” equates homosexuality with masochism, as seen in Finch’s fevered flaying of the studly archer, but the whole drama is shockingly frank in its entendre. One wonders how Wertham could have picked up on Batman and Robin’s "unhealthy" relationship and totally missed the boat on this one! 

"Ivan's Woe"
Peter: Sir Ivan Gwaine is the finest jouster in Camelot and has already proclaimed to all that his heart belongs to the King's daughter, Lady Elizabeth. Sir Hugo, the King's executioner holds that he's the best knight of all and that, despite his ugly scarred face, Elizabeth should be his wife. Hugo challenges Ivan to a "trial by mortal combat" and the next morning, the two engage in a long and bloody battle, with neither man having the clear upper hand. Just as it looks like Hugo will smash his enemy's skull with a mace, Ivan runs him through with his sword. Ivan is given the King's highest commendation and acknowledged as the finest knight in the land. Two months later, the King also makes Ivan his executioner since the job was vacant and Elizabeth has called off their engagement. Ivan Gwaine was so badly mauled in the battle that the girl can't bear to look at him.

"Ivan's Woe" (from #23) ran under the "Boo of the Month" banner, a label for classic stories given the Harvey Horror twist. According to the late, great Bhob Stewart, "Howard Nostrand conceived of "Ivan's Woe" as a parody of Wally Wood's "Trial by Arms" (from EC's  Two-Fisted Tales #34, July-August 1953). Before one cries "Fowl!", Stewart and, indeed, Wally Wood himself (who admired the job Nostrand had done on "Ivan's Woe") noted that, though the battle scenes were laid out in a similar manner (nine small panels per page), the battle itself was choreographed differently and, of course, there's that final panel: the reveal of Sir Ivan's ugly puss! The great chameleon, Nostrand here not only apes Wally Wood and Jack Davis but manages to throw in some Hal Foster as well. Chameleon, indeed!

And Wally Wood's "Trial by Arms"
Jose: “You’re fat, elderly, and an eccentric recluse” named Hubert. (Story’s words, not mine!) You have a beautiful, loving, young wife and all the comfort one in your position could ask for. That is until your hearing aid falls out of your ear and shatters on the floor, rendering you completely deaf. No matter, your wife Dorothy and handsome caretaker Jed are here to take care of you until they can get a replacement. But when you taste rat poison in your soup—an accident purportedly committed by the house cat—you can’t help but feel uneasy, especially with the looks that Dorothy and Jed seem to give each other. When you’re nearly brained by a falling brick from Jed’s roofing repairs, your greatest fears are confirmed. Your heart is broken but you know what must be done. When you see Jed and Dorothy bring in a package carrying their murder weapon, you beat them to the punch (and to death) with a fireplace poker. You open up the package expecting to see the gun, but all that's inside is your new hearing aid.

“Shock” (from #20) aces the competition by having a winning concept: once Hubert loses his hearing aid, the story must rely entirely on its images and Hubert’s captioned thoughts to communicate his confusion and suspicion. Were his affliction blindness, it’d never work in the comic medium (but I’d love to be proven wrong). This in turn cuts out 90% of the dialogue which, if I’m being honest, is probably in the story’s best favor. No need for those exhausted lines of cured ham (“I know what you’re planning! You and that harlot! Well, I’ll fix you!” etc.); we cut right to the bone of the matter. This allows the equally tired spousal murder plot (the Spam of the horror/mystery genres) to appear at least a little fresher, and though the “twist” can be seen from a mile off this is one of those stories where the inevitability of the final reveal is in service of the suspense.

Peter: The son of an overbearing "Undertaker" (from #24), Doxy only wants to get out and experience life but his father preaches fire and brimstone and "finality." Now, Doxy has hatched the perfect plot to get out from under his father's thumb: he'll hide in one of the outgoing coffins and break free when the hearse arrives at the cemetery. Unfortunately, Doxy's plan goes haywire when the coffin is delivered to the crematorium.

There are certainly some nits to pick with "Undertaker" (if Doxy's plan was to break out at the cemetery, then why couldn't he save himself before the casket reached the flames?) but here's a classic case of "style and substance." Five pages isn't a lot of room to build characterization, we all know, but Howard Nostrand (let's assume the writer is Nostrand) does his best to pack as much detail into the little room he's given. The classic overbearing parent is given an almost crazed religious bent, something I'd think was frowned upon in "entertainment for children" of the 1950s. Certainly a far cry from some of the laughable quotes we've assembled further below, Nostrand's prose reads like an Edgar Allan Poe short story when Doxy details the hell his homebound life has become:

"My whole world was confined to an undertaking parlor! Can you imagine such a world? Age-worn carpets... continual silence... dead bodies... swathed in rigor mortis...being rolled to a waiting coffin... dressed in Sunday's finest... hands clasped angelically... reposing on a bed of wood... soft satin ruffled to caress its face... then the lid slamming shut... tightly shut... What a life! What a decrepid (sic)... no-good... germ-eaten... stagnant... mute life!"

Nostrand once again provides a stable of characters obviously inspired by Jack Davis but surprises us with panel arrangement and design straight out of Will Eisner's The Spirit (see that evocative splash above). Was Nostrand the Rich Little of 1950s comic books? Derivative but undeniably original at the same time.

The final panels of "Undertaker"
Jose: Captain William Blah rules over the crew of the HMS Boundary “with an iron fist and a black soul,” ceaselessly driving them to work with no regard for exhaustion or basic human dignity. His first mate Mr. Gobble abides most of Blah’s torturous tactics but even he can’t stand the captain’s merciless ways for much longer. When Blah has one deckhand strung up by his wrists and shoots another objecting lackey, the crew begins to stir with mutterings of mutiny. When they reach their destination of Tahiti and the generous natives bestow them with gifts of fruit and other bounty, Blah demands that the crew toss it over the side so that they may adhere to their original shipment orders. After setting sail again Blah starts blabbing about his boots not being properly polished and this is the final offense that breaks the collective back of the crew. Cornering him with knives, the sailors promise Blah that they won’t be mutinying and will still be following his orders. And that they do until they return to their port in England. When confronted by a diplomat who has heard rumors of the mutiny, the boys show him that Captain Blah’s been with them for the whole ride back: silent, stuck to the mast, and decaying excessively!

“Mutiny on the Boundary” (from #24) was the second “Boo of the Month” feature following “Ivan’s-Woe” from the previous issue. This story finds mighty, mighty Bob Powell at the pencils; he would go on to draw the two remaining “Boo of the Month” stories for the last two issues of Witches Tales. Like those other yarns, “Mutiny” has a humorous streak and a dash of the ghastly that colors it as one of stories to come closest to being a genuine E.C. clone. (Powell seemed to be the one writer/artist who had his finger on that company’s pulse the most consistently.) Blah is an obvious caricature of Charles Laughton and sports a ridiculous lisp that gets exploited at almost every turn (he calls the crew “tchum” but somehow the word “answer” remains unaffected!) and I found myself giggling like a little kid every time he’d call out to his put-upon first mate (“Mither Gobble! Mither Gobble!”). I can’t resist a well-told tale of a tyrannical asshole getting his just desserts and even though Blah’s punishment isn’t particularly elaborate it still as stinging and refreshing as a burst of ocean spray.

Peter: Maurice Shmeerz is one of the world’s most respected mountain climbers. So, then, why is Maurice rotting away in a sanitarium after climbing Lanapurna, “the most dangerous of the Rimolya Chain”? Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? After two months of preparation, Maurice and his three associates leave France and head for Lanapurna and, they hope, the history books. The mountain proves to be treacherous, with severe shifts in the climate, deadly cliffs, and avalanches. Half way up the mountain, there is dissension and two of the climbers opt to head back down the hill while Maurice and Marius plod on through the snow.The next morning, while attempting to make a dangerous ascent, Marius’ rope snaps and he falls to his death, leaving Maurice alone to continue. At last, the climber reaches the peak of Lanapurna where he finds something so bizarre that it makes his mind snap. Maurice whips out his movie camera and takes footage of the scene. Later, back in civilization, three professors analyze the film and witness what drove Maurice slightly mad.

Far from horrifying, “Up There” (from #26) is an odd job, a story that begins with intrigue, sets a suspenseful pace, and then delivers a final panel that can’t fail to elicit a chuckle or two (and then a “hmmm”). I’m not sure why the uncredited writer chose not to use the Annapurna (according to Wikipedia, the "tenth highest mountain in the world" and one of the most dangerous) as Maurice's mountain of choice, rather than concoct the wholly mythical Lanapurna, except maybe to avoid homework. Joe Certa perfectly illustrates the perils the men must endure for no other reason than to say they did it. The writer of "Up There" (could it be artist Joe Certa?) gets extra points from me for not falling back on yet another Abominable Snowman fable and, instead, delivering a clever twist no one could see coming. One part Witches Tales, one part Mad Magazine, this tale is "Up There" on my list of Favorite Harvey Stories.

Jose: There’s no doubt about it; even Sweeney Todd’s customers never complained about the service as much as Ali Barber’s clientele does. And they have ample reason to: the jittery barber can’t apply a towel without burning a gent’s face or cut a hair without turning a chap’s scalp into a mess. “You’ve ruined me!” utters one horrified customer. But it’s Ali who’s really ruined. The decline in patrons has led to dwindling funds, so much so that his wife’s request for money to buy a new dress sends him into an impotent rage. He can’t just give up his job either. Ali sees himself as an artist and as such feels he should only work harder at his craft. But try as he might he’s met with more curses, more denials, and more condemnations than he can handle. His landlord’s threats of eviction and the prosperity of his neighbors only sinks him lower. Providence seems to come in the form of an advertisement he spots for a “businessman’s dinner” being held at a nearby hotel. Ali thinks he’ll be able to offer his services to the whole gathering for some quick cash, but an accidental case of eavesdropping reveals that these “businessmen” are really members of the Mafioso. Ali hatches a scheme to turn in each head for the reward money… literally. With a manic gleam in his eye, Ali sets to visiting each room and gets busy with his slicing razors. Weighty, grim cargo in tow, Ali makes for the exit when he notices that the “businessman dinner” was cancelled… and a policeman’s ball has been scheduled in its place.

Like “The Choir Master” (CoC #21) before it, “Ali Barber and the Forty Thieves” is an affecting portrait of a man who just cannot catch a break. Mr. Furelli and Barber are both basically good people, wanting to do right by their professions and passions to make something of themselves, driven by hardships and unsympathetic conditions to sanity’s breaking point. Furelli is on the way out and Barber’s trying to make his start but this is the desire that binds them both. Bob Powell authored the two stories and they both seem to further solidify the notion that some people were just born losers. The horrific element doesn’t come into play until the very end in "Ali Barber", but what we’ve seen already has been squirm-inducing enough; the mordant punchline that Ali has, yet again, really stepped in it is just grim garnish on the watery soup that has been his life. The panel of him knocking on the door of his first customer is perfect: Powell draws Ali with a smile that he’s got frozen on his face to keep himself from crying. Or screaming. It’s beautiful, and one of the most emotionally striking depictions I’ve ever seen in a comic of this vintage. 


“I will relish your body!”
- "Dimension IV"

“This is the shop of Frederick Kaffner… a master clockmaker… and a man who would master his maker!”
- "Walpurgis"

“As he speaks, the air becomes foul and fetid with the sudden appearance of the demons of evil—ghastly beings and animals dripping gore—shocking embodiments of depraved minds!”
- "Star of Doom"

"You are doomed to a deathless eternity of frozen life!"
- "Mannequin of Murder!"

Just so you know that we're not making it up.
“Die! Die! You deserve to die!! You have too much money! Die!!!”
- "Bird of Prey"

“And that night the boy’s head—and mouth—were put to good use!”
- "Jungle"

“But what seemed like a palace of pleasure was really a yawning pit of hell!!”
- "Kiss and Kill"

“Then have at it, my jealous cock!”
- "Ivan’s-Woe"

“Who ya calling ‘Hey?’ Hay is for horses!”
- "So What Next"

“Every artist has his bad day. But for Ali Barber that day didn’t end until he became an artist at something else—murder with a touch of face lotion!”
- "Ali Barber and the Forty Thieves"

"All through the day Stevens lay dead..."
- "Mannequin of Murder!"

                                          And the "Stinking Zombie Award" goes to...

Peter: A vampire gives a pep talk to his son after the young man comes home from Vampire U., not knowing what he wants to make of his (un)life. The usual vampire antics (snacking on the necks of good-looking girls, for instance) hold no interest for the intelligent young blood-sucker but pop seems to think he can turn that disinterest around by showing the kid a trick or two. Alas, the field trip doesn't go the old man's way and, if anything, a botched attack on a helpless girl puts the final nail in the coffin. Junior explains to his father that a different mentality has pervaded Vampire U. He tears off his wings, blunts his pointy ears and emerges from a darkened alleyway a changed... creature. "Vampire U told me how to become...a... ghoul!"

Here's the flip side of "Up There!", a very silly and deadly dull story with a really dumb climax. "Go, Vampire" (from #26) is designed to draw out the guffaws but there's nothing here to smile about. With its Archie-esque artwork, this is the kind of story that would feel safe in the pages of a post-code comic book but thoroughly out of place in the swan song of Witches Tales.

Jose: Stevens works at Crane Enterprises as a “dummy designer,” his eyes are two different colors, and he smokes his pipe upside down. Right from the first two panels we are told that this man is a psycho. In a bid to make his displays more life-like, Stevens concocts a serum that instills permanent catatonia in its recipients, so it isn’t long before he starts targeting humans for his shop window. Once rendered into frozen statues, the victims are arranged in a panorama of murder that shocks the crowds who come to gawk. When one model stirs to life and strangles Stevens, everyone thinks it’s part of the act and just leave his body unattended on the ground. Now with the power to move but driven insane by the serum (sure why not), the mannequins dump ol’ Stevens down an elevator shaft and scare the night watchman out of his wits. When he tries explaining what he saw to Mr. Crane, the old coot is taken away by the men in white and all the mannequins are shipped out to all of the Crane Enterprises across the country.

When good stories have a long history behind them, they’re called classic or timeless. When old plots resurface in bad stories, they’re called tired, exhausted, done-to-death. “Mannequin to Murder” (from #17) is far past its shelf life and Manny Stallman’s art is a big ol’ gulp of sour milk. I’m not generally a stickler for logic, but why in the name of Vincent Price do the models start moving? It’s like the story is trying to have its cake and eat it too: yes, the victims are frozen into living statues… except when they have to murder! “Mannequin” is equally indecisive about Stevens’ motives; his experiments start out as a rebuke against his boss but then his chosen victims are apparently critics who disregarded his work. Maybe? I don’t think the story planned on us caring at all. In this whole set of ten issues, I can confidently say that I could recall the details of each story upon reviewing the titles… except “Mannequin of Murder.” I had totally erased it from my mind after completing it, and it was only in going back to it to refresh my memory that I was reminded it was the worst one from the lot. So I guess Stevens’ real vengeance was on me.


Peter: By early 1954, the writing was on the wall: comics were going to go through some major changes mighty quick. One of the most popular (and copied) successes of that period was EC's parodic Mad, a funny book that had taken everyone by surprise and become a runaway hit with its sardonic humor and sly sarcasm. Naturally, the "other guys" would follow suit. "Eye Eye, Sir" is one of Harvey's initial entries in that sweepstakes. The same month this story appeared in Witches Tales #22, Harvey debuted Flip!, a title stocked with the same kind of film and culture parodies that had made Mad a newsstand grabber. Even though Flip! featured contributions from the same bullpen that was responsible for the horror titles, it never found an audience (or, more likely, was buried under the deluge of Mad imitators) and was nipped in the bud after only two issues. Sid Check's "Eye Eye, Sir" would have fit very comfortably between the covers of Flip!

Jose: Color me the most surprised to have chosen a football tale for my Story of the Week. If you had told me that I’d be waxing over a sports yarn with nary a crumbly ghoul or act of bloodshed to be seen, I would’ve thought you were plumb crazy. But here I am and here’s “Monumental Feat” from WT #24 right at my side. There was a really exemplary batch of selections this time out, and while I could’ve just as easily selected other alternatives like Bob Powell’s sassy shocker “So What Next?” or a manic monsterama like “Star of Doom,” “Monumental Feat” takes home the gold for one aspect alone: it is unremittingly grim without an ounce of humor. From the mournful splash page to the cruel twist, this stone-faced parable shows us that simple human dreams and the fervor with which we pursue them can eventually lead us right into the pit of our own folly.


Jose: Just a couple of observations this time around.

I'm was wondering if Harvey Comics developed their "Boo of the Month" feature in a fashion similar to how E.C. started openly acknowledging and adapting Ray Bradbury's short stories after they passed a few of them off as their own product. If you look at the issues immediately preceding the first "Boo," ("Ivan's-Woe" from #23), the writers were "freely" adapting several literary works without giving any kind of credit or attribution. "I'll String Along" (#20) is a clear variation of Ambrose Bierce's "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge;" Ambrose can rest easy (wherever he is) knowing that his legacy still remains intact. "Revenge" (#22) is a total copy of the immensely popular Samuel Blas story of the same name; it would later be adapted, illegitimately and legitimately, for E.C.'s Crime Suspenstories as "Murder May Boomerang" and as the first episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. And "The Hunter," lest I'm mistaken, is a play on Walter Van Tilburg Clark's 1949 novel The Track of the Cat

Is it possible that there was legal action implied or threatened that prompted Harvey to adopt the "Boo of the Month" moniker to show that they were consciously sourcing ideas from literature? The fact that the four stories written under this banner were essentially parodies makes this appear unlikely, but it is a curious series of events nonetheless. I wonder if any of our readers know of or spotted other plots that were mined from the book rack.

No "Chilly Chamber Music" this time around; in Witches Tales we have the appropriately-named "Mother Mongoose's Nursery Crimes." These are, for the most part, pretty forgettable. Some of them abandon any preconceptions of horror altogether and just go for cheap jokes and gags in the style of a raunchy limerick. In one, a hot-blooded plumber eyeing his foxy customer's legs gets smacked in the face with a pipe. The end. Definitely nowhere near the traumatizing serenades from "Chilly Chamber Music," but this perversion of Georgie Porgie offers a close approximation of the seeming "sweetness" quickly transitioning to the ghastly that that feature was notable for.

The Comics
Witches Tales #17-26

#17 (February 1953)
Cover by Lee Elias

“Bridge of Death”
Art by Warren Kremer and Howard Nostrand

“Dimension IV”
Art by Rudy Palais

“Creatures of the Bomb”
Art by Moe Marcus

“Mannequin of Murder”
Art by Manny Stallman

#18 (April 1953)
Cover by Lee Elias

Art by Howard Nostrand

“Bird of Prey”
Art by Abe Simon

“Star of Doom”
Art Uncredited

Art by Warren Kremer

#19 (June 1953)
Cover by Lee Elias

“The Pact”
Art by Bob Powell

Art by Howard Nostrand

Art by Lee Elias

“A Matter of Taste”
Art by Jack Sparling

#20 (August 1953)
Cover by Warren Kremer

Art by Lee Elias

“Kiss and Kill”
Art by Bob Powell

Art by Howard Nostrand

“I’ll String Along”
Art by Jack Sparling

#21 (October 1953)
Cover by Lee Elias

“The Invasion”
Art by Bob Powell

Art by Manny Stallman

“The Chase”
Art by Jack Sparling

“Dead End”
Art by Howard Nostrand

#22 (December 1953)
Cover by Lee Elias

“Day of Panic”
Art by Howard Nostrand

“Chain Reaction”
Art by Pete Riss

“The Hunter”
Art by Bob Powell

“Double Crossed”
Art by Jack Sparling

#23 (February 1954)
Cover by Lee Elias

“Henry Small… Huckster”
Art by Bill Benulis and Jack Abel

Art by Howard Nostrand

“The Wig-Maker”
Art by Joe Certa and Jack Abel

“So What Next”
Art by Bob Powell

#24 (April 1954)
Cover by Lee Elias

Art by Howard Nostrand

“Mutiny on the Boundary”
Art by Bob Powell

“Eye Eye, Sir”
Art by Sid Check

“Monumental Feat”
Art by Manny Stallman and Joe Certa

#25 (June 1954)
Cover by Howard Nostrand

“The Ticket”
Art by Manny Stallman

“Ali Barber and the Forty Thieves”
Art by Bob Powell

“What’s Happening at—8:30 P. M.”
Art by Howard Nostrand

Art by Manny Stallman

#26 (August 1954)
Cover by Lee Elias

“Long Shot”
Art by Manny Stallman and Ross Andru

“Withering Heights”
Art by Bob Powell and Howard Nostrand

“Go Vampire”
Art Uncredited

“Up There”
Art by Joe Certa

#27 (August 1954)
Cover by Lee Elias

(A complete reprinting of WT #6)

#28 (December 1954)
Cover Uncredited

(A complete reprinting of WT #8)

In four weeks, our first startling look at Black Cat Mystery!

1 comment:

Jack Seabrook said...

Guys, this was the best yet in this series. The art reproductions are gorgeous! I think Witch's Tales really improved over the course of the series, since I thought the first post didn't seem to feature such good stories. Thanks for an entertaining read!