"Reserved for Madmen Only"
Story by George Kashdan
Art by Ruben Yandoc
"A Hangman Awaits Me"
Story by George Kashdan
Art by John Calnan
"The Bewitched Beauty"
Story by uncredited
Art by Ruben Moreira
(reprinted from House of Mystery 24, March 1954)
"Prisoner of the Power-Stone!"
Story by uncredited
Art by Mort Meskin
(reprinted from House of Secrets 18, March 1959)
"The Fearsome Fountain of Youth"
|Shaggy! Get me a pizza!|
|John Calnan's "special" use of perspective|
Jack: Scott and Madden are searching for the Lost Desert Gold Mine, the entrance to which is marked by a giant ant hill. They are menaced by a strangely costumed man who calls himself King Pharaoh. They fall down a mine shaft and battle a giant anteater, then accidentally discover a vein of gold while trying to avoid becoming "Captives of the Ant Kingdom!" Back above ground, King Pharaoh attacks them with a swarm of ants but they turn the tables by throwing candy at him. It really doesn't get much worse than this. "Ant Kingdom" will be in the running for worst of 1974.
Peter: I find it extreeeeemely hard to believe this wasn't a 1950s reprint. What editor of a "spooky" funny book would okay such a dim-witted fantasy? Ah, Murray Boltinoff, that's who. Never mind. This story is totally loony. Who's the Ant Man? Is he a guy dressed up as an ant? A mutant? Just a crook who goes to astounding measures and then pins his hopes on two dorky adventurers?
|We are not really clear on why|
King Pharaoh dresses like that.
|Zee French, zey are a funny race|
Peter: Ever the optimist, Jack. Given more pages, it would have been longer to read. That's all. I love how, at the climax, Bret stops their car in the middle of a getaway to read his French dictionary because "something just occurred to him." A really bad story from start to finish.
|So, it's not really a monster, see . . .|
Jack: On the run from bobbies in the London fog, Charlie Robbins ducks into a "Nightmare House." Old Mrs. Winters helps him hide but he ignores her warning and opens an upstairs door, releasing a horrible monster! The monster chases Charlie and he cowers in fear until it is revealed that the whole thing was a stage play and the police are the audience. Peter, if you have any idea what the heck was going on in this story, please enlighten me.
Peter: Reading "Nightmare House" (with its moronic reveal and awful art) hammers home the point that, by 1974, the story was an afterthought with these DC horror comics. Oh, to be sure, there were a few Halloweens amongst the Friday the 13ths but, for the most part, the editors just didn't seem to care. This is even more evident when we're dealing with the 100-pagers where stories about sorcerers who can make men into talking caterpillars and witches who can make ugly men lovable are oodles more interesting than the new material.
|No wonder she won the beauty contest!|
Jack: A similar twist concludes "The Fearsome Fountain of Youth," in which jailbird Roger Hall is tricked into revealing the location of a hidden million by the promise of a drink from the Fountain of Youth. Cops in the fifties had some pretty nifty things up their sleeves! In this issue's letters column, eagle-eyed reader Danny McIntyre of Bethel Springs, Tenn., comments on the repeated use of the word "Ngyaah!" in Unexpected. Danny, if you're out there, we would welcome you as a third reader and writer for this blog. Trust me, we mean it!
|"The Fearsome Fountain of Youth"|
"Requiem for Igor"
Story by Jack Oleck
Art by Alfredo Alcala
|"Requiem for Igor"|
|Jerry being Jerry|
Jack: Count Czerny is on a winning streak in his nightly card game, but he has help from an old witch named Dolma. When he wins big and she demands half, he murders her, but the next night his luck turns bad when he draws a card with the witch's face in place of the queen. It's a sad state of affairs when a story like "Bet Your Life" is an improvement on the one before it, but that's the case in this issue.
|"Bet Your Life"|
|Nino saves the issue!|
Peter: So, since our narrator informs us that the incident was used as the basis for the film, The Night My Number Came Up, does this qualify as a movie adaptation?
|We knew he was gonna crash!|
|The ghostly dogs are suddenly|
replaced by extremely large dogs
|"The Claws of the Phantom"|
Star-Spangled DC War Stories!