Monday, April 27, 2015

Do You Dare Enter? Part Fifty-One: September 1974

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

Luis Dominguez
House of Mystery 226

"Garden of Evil"
Story by Jack Oleck
Art by Alfredo Alcala

"Teddy Doesn't Seem to Smile Anymore!"
Story by Martin Pasko
Art by Frank Robbins

"The Devil's Chessboard"
Story Uncredited
Art by Leonard Starr
(reprinted from House of Mystery 12, March 1953)

"The Living Nightmare!"
Story by John Broome
Art by Carmine Infantino and Bernard Sachs
(reprinted from The Phantom Stranger 5, May 1953)

"Monster in the House"
Story by Jack Oleck
Art by Nestor Redondo

"Scared to Life"
Story by Marv Wolfman
Art by Berni Wrightson
(reprinted from House of Mystery 180, June 1969)

"The School for Sorcerers"
Story Uncredited
Art by Bill Ely
(reprinted from House of Mystery 74, May 1958)

"The Perfect Mate"
Story by Robert Kanigher and Michael J. Pellowski
Art by Jess Jodloman

"The Wishes of Doom!"
Story Uncredited
Art by Curt Swan and George Klein
(reprinted from House of Mystery 10, January 1953)

"The Haunted Melody"
Story Uncredited
Art by Bill Ely
(reprinted from House of Mystery 58, January 1957)

"Do You Dare Enter the House of Mystery?"
Story by Paul Levitz
Art by Pat Broderick and Sergio Aragones

"Out of This World"
Story by Jack Oleck
Art by Gerry Talaoc

"Garden of Evil"
Peter: Mace spots a beautiful painting in a curio shop but when he draws his wife's attention to it, the painting becomes merely a mirror. He convinces Myra to buy the mirror anyway and takes it home. Soon, Mace is drawn into a parallel universe within the mirror populated by a gorgeous girl named Althea, a babe who's having trouble keeping the local demons at bay. Mace chases the creatures away and, after spending time with the girl, falls madly in love with her. Althea explains that she was cursed to remain in this land until someone from our world would willingly take her place. When Mace comes back to his own world, he explains the situation to his wife and she rather surprisingly agrees to switch places with Althea so that her husband will be happy. Mace returns to Althea with the good news but the girl quickly turns on him after something goes wrong. She becomes a hideous old hag and sics the demons on him. In the end, we discover that the entire scenario had played out within Mace's mind and, on advice from a psychiatrist, Myra has destroyed the mirror. Now, Mace lies in a coma-like state, completely insane. Though "Garden of Evil"is not among Alfredo's best work (way too many small panels for Alcala to work his magic), the Oleck script is smart and witty and, even though Mace was ready to trade up on his wife, I felt a big gob of sympathy for what was left of our protagonist in the end. As Jack notes below, the ending leaves a major question unanswered: was this really all in Mace's mind or did the mirror have supernatural qualities? If it did, wouldn't the shopkeeper have been aware of those qualities?

Jack: Any story that reminds me of "The Hungry Glass" is okay by me! Oleck does a nice job by slowly exposing Carl's true nature and the revelation that Althea was a witch surprised me. The ending is still a little fuzzy in my mind, but I thought this story was excellent in both writing and art.

Peter: Barbara's about to get married so it's time to put the stuffed animals (even Teddy) away and grow up. Wedding night comes and, just as the big moment is going to happen, who should pop out of Barbara's suitcase but... Teddy! Obviously, Marty Pasko wanted to slip one in (so to speak) about sexual innocence without alerting the Code. For a three-pager, this one's not too annoying. But then there's our old whipping boy, Frank Robbins who, based on the first panel, believes that bare breasts have buttons.

Jack: I think I must have stepped into the mirror world because I liked this story! It's a quickie, sure, but the portrait of a young woman having a mental breakdown on her honeymoon is frightening and Frank Robbins proves that he can draw a beautiful girl in a negligee!

Peter: Cora Willis gives birth to twins, one a cute little whippersnapper, the other not so. Young Philip inherits his parents' genes and will do well in the world but Adam, the new black sheep of the family, with his one eye and hunched back, would seem out of place everywhere but at Notre Dame. The parents do the only sensible thing: they lock Adam into a dungeon for the rest of his life while spoiling Philip with their love and attention. Reaching his 21st birthday, Adam discovers he's got a few paranormal tricks up his sleeve and he uses them to convince his parents to release him. They tell him they'll think about it and then plan his murder. One night they drug Adam's dinner, slip into his cell, and stab him to death. They drag his body out back but, while they're burying their son, Philip approaches. His parents try to explain themselves away but Philip shrugs and lets them in on his secret: Adam was able to project his mind into Philip's body so the Willises actually murdered their favored son. Aarghs are shared all around.

A familiar and predictable fable but one executed with a lot of flair. Cora and George are so irredeemably evil that, at times, the reader's credibility is stretched very thin. Still, Redondo's art is a thing of beauty and, overall, "Monster in the House" is a tad above average. Because he wrote so many scripts, many of them just so-so, there's an argument to be made that Jack Oleck was the best overall DC horror writer.

Enfantino's secret origin

Jack: Nine-tenths of a great story, with gorgeous art. Redondo is so good that he can even draw a hideous baby! The Quasimodo parallels are obvious and the parents are as evil as we've ever seen. If the twist ending weren't a letdown this would be a great story!

"The Perfect Mate"
Peter: Countess Irina Von Hohlberg only wants a man who'll love her for herself, not for her wealth or power. Finding that man is a tough road and the bodies pile up very quickly. Oh, I forgot to reveal that Irina is a vampire and she can compel her suitors to tell the truth (bad news for the guys!). The ones that lie end up stuffed in her museum. Eventually, Irina finds "The Perfect Mate," one who craves neither power nor wealth but only wants her "for herself." Trouble is, the guy's a werewolf. Double groan! This one's been done a bazillion times interchanging vampires with werewolves, ghouls, and demons. Michael Pellowski was a newbie (and would only contribute a bit more to the DC Horror Universe) but Bob Kanigher continues his unbroken streak of horror turkeys by subjecting us to one of the oldest cliches in comics. The saving grace is Jodlomon's incredible art. Kudos to the colorist as well (an artist that, perhaps, we don't give enough applause to on our journey) for making the whole doggone thing seem almost three-dimensional.

Jack: Wondering about the identity of Michael J. Pellowski, who provided the idea for this story, I did a little online sleuthing and discovered that he and I both went to Rutgers and we both live in Central NJ. He came from a broken home and managed to get on his feet, writing for comic books and eventually writing scads of books for children and young adults. It's interesting to see how often comics were an escape from an unhappy childhood and a doorway to a lifetime of writing.

"Do You Dare Enter..."

Jack: A likable two-page spread by Aragones makes "Do You Dare Enter the House of Mystery?" worth noting, especially since we meet the monster versions of several writers and artists whose names we often see in the DC horror comics.

Peter: Chip Barrow is one jealous guy. He used to have a bit of success on the circuit with his partner, Bobby Vance, but now Bobby's gone the solo route and is the hottest act in show business with his levitating gimmick. Now, Chip wants what Bobby's got so he visits Bobby's manager, the ominous Mr. Beals. The devilish Beals draws up a contract and tells Chip he can have Bobby's act but how he gets it is up to him. Chip takes charge and befriends Bobby, earning his trust, before lowering the boom on the rock star, torturing him until he gives up the secret. Seems that all Bobby has to do is hit a certain chord sequence during the act and he levitates. Chip murders Bobby and takes his place in the next concert, hitting the chords and setting off into the sky. Unfortunately, Chip never got the chord sequence that returns him safely to earth and he goes "Out of This World." Didn't we just get a demonic rocker tale not too long ago? Are the DC bull penners so desperate for material that they're recycling plots every few issues? I must say I was quite surprised when it was revealed that Mr. Beals (Beelzebub... get it?), the guy that can make contracts appear out of thin air and lights his cigars with a flaming finger, was the devil! No way! And can you remember the days when rock audiences were so vacuous that a gimmick like levitating would be seen as more Gosh! Wow! than the actual music? No, KISS doesn't count. Jack Oleck proves he can steal from the best as that climax, where we see Chip re-enter earth's gravity and a hippy in the park remarks on "the shooting star," borrows an effective twist from a controversial Wally Wood EC sci-fi tale by the title of "Home to Stay" (from Weird Fantasy #13, May 1952).

Jack: The weakest of the new stories in this issue, "Out of This World" combines two DC horror cliches--selling your soul to the Devil and rock and roll that seems a few years out of date. Still, Gerry Talaoc's art is always worth a look and I love that we were treated to new tales by Alcala, Redondo and Talaoc all in the same issue!

Drat the luck!
Peter: In the trusty "Reprint Department" this issue, a decidedly mixed bag. We get the unintentional  laughs and fanciful hi jinx of "The Devil's Chessboard" (wherein a foolish chess player insists on defying bad luck and playing on a cursed board) and "School for Sorcerers" (which has one of the most unbelievable sequences ever written for four colors (reprinted below)) as well as the hum-drum Phantom Stranger mystery, "The Living Nightmare" (a surprise since I've enjoyed all the Stranger adventures reprinted in the past). The tall tale that tickled my fancy the most this issue was Curt Swan's "The Wishes of Doom!", which follows a mysterious and deadly idol as it changes hands and lives. A murderer finds the ornate bust in a curio and, suffering from guilt, wishes his victim back to life. But with every wish comes a curse and the dead man rises to enact revenge on his murderer. We then watch as the curio falls into the hands of a vain woman (who wishes for beauty and then loses her boyfriend when he accuses her of being a witch) and a spoiled millionaire whose only wish is to land on the moon (he gets there but then, in an odd twist of bad planning, realizes that the inventor of the rocket never planned for a return trip!) before finally breaking the evil curse by coming into the possession of a man who only wants to build playgrounds for poor children. Ah, a happy ending in the House of Mystery? Well, sorta. Once our unselfish hero gets his wish he discards the idol so that no one will have to pay the penalty again but then, in the last panel, we see a garbage man taking a shine to the curio at the dumps! If I had one wish, it would be that all the stories in The House of Mystery 100-pagers would be as fun and innocent as "The Wishes of Doom."

Uh... could you run that by us one more time?

Jack: My favorite reprint this time was "The Haunted Melody," in which an organ grinder steals a music box that, when played, hypnotizes everyone within earshot into giving the monkey all of their money. At the end, the organ grinder is on the run from the cops but when he stops at a toll bridge, the monkey starts playing the music and his master has to give the toll change to the monkey! Fantastic. In a rare turn of events, the new stories outshone the reprints this month.

More Jess Jodlomon from "The Perfect Mate"

Frank Robbins
House of Secrets 123

"A Fugitive Apparition"
Story by John Albano
Art by Leandro Sesarego

"A Connecticut Ice Cream Man in King Arthur's Court"
Story by Michael Fleisher and Russell Carley
Art by Alex Toth

Peter: Pre-teen Harold Hansen stumbles upon "A Fugitive Apparition" in an abandoned house and escapes death by fooling the ghost with the old "look out behind you" trick. A few days later, the ghost is surprised to see little Harold descending the ladder into his dungeon again, this time warning the spectre that the house above will be torn down and that he should exit, stage left. The boy tells the spirit that there's an abandoned shack by the graveyard and the ghost hightails it. Several days later, as the apparition is reading Ghosts, he senses the boy is in danger and teleports to a cave where the boy has gotten lost and is threatened by a giant snake. The spirit zaps the snake and the two finally become friends. The spectre explains his origin to Harold: years before, our ghostly hero was put on trial by "the world spiritual court" and found guilty. He was tortured but managed to escape to our dimension but the "spiritual security chief," Mr. Santana, has been looking for him ever since. The boy leaves but promises he'll return. When a week goes by and Harold doesn't show, the spirit becomes worried and ventures out, catching the boy out with a young girl. Harold tells the ghost he's got better things to do and he won't be visiting anymore. The forlorn spirit returns to his shack, where he's confronted by Mr. Santana. He pulls a "look out behind you" trick and grabs a hunk of the highway.

The DC horror bullpen has tried to replicate the feel of the old sci-fi/horror stories of the 1950s (most recently with Dave Wood's inane "Captive of the Ant Kingdom" in Unexpected #158) but, until now, they've failed miserably. "A Fugitive Apparition" is lightning in a bottle, a retro-tale that actually works. It's guaranteed to put an ear-to-ear smile on even the most curmudgeonly of critics (that would be me) and its finale is one of the funniest we've encountered.  As Jack notes below, Leandro Seasarego won't join the top-tier ranking of Alcala, Jodloman, Nino, or Talaoc, but his simplistic drawings seem appropriate for the subject matter. Definitely a jewel in the rough.

Jack: Talk about a story that comes out of left field! The art isn't great but I enjoyed the sheer goofiness of Albano's script. The trick that the boy plays on the spook is akin to telling someone that he has something on his tie and then smacking him when he looks down.  Not the least bit frightening, but it brought a smile to my face several times and the ending was a delight.

Peter: Ice cream delivery man Ernie Baxter finds himself magically transported to the 6th Century and delighting the taste buds of King Arthur with his 31 creamy flavors. Unfortunately, greed gets the best of Ernie when Arthur gives him the run of the Court and he decides to poison the entire round table to become king. Wizard Merlin gets wind of the planned duplicity and informs Arthur. Merlin transforms Ernie into flavor #32 and the entire round table enjoys dessert. "A Connecticut Ice Cream Man..." completes a one-two punch to the funny bone begun with "A Fugitive Apparition" but leaves us on a very Fleisher-esque sick note. I liked it, though I must say that Toth's art is somewhat diluted (perhaps by a different inker) and not the usual home run. The time travel fog that Ernie drives through to get to King Arthur's Court is never explained. Why a seemingly innocent ice cream man?

Jack: Mike Fleisher + Alex Toth should equal a great story, and this is fun for most of its length, but the ending fell flat for me. I would have preferred a shocker finish more like the great cover by Frank Robbins. Hold on, did I just type that sentence?

Peter: Wasn't the finale exactly like the Frank Robbins cover, Jack? Though I disagree with you on "Ice Cream" 's twist ending, I must completely agree with you on the cover, which could be the single best piece of art Frank Robbins ever created. It is, in fact, almost anti-Robbins in its glory.

Nick Cardy
The Witching Hour 46

"The Killer Came Slithering"
Story by George Kashdan
Art by Lee Elias

"A Ghastly Revenge"
Story by uncredited
Art by uncredited

"Burial Insurance"
Story by George Kashdan
Art by uncredited

Jack: Colonel Calhoun is a powerful man in the ante bellum south, but the Grim Reaper is more powerful. When death threatens to claim the colonel's son, only the timely intervention of old Zebulah can save the boy. Zebulah is the high priestess of the local snake handling cult and she makes the colonel promise to tear up the mortgage on her church before she'll save his son. But when the colonel double-crosses her and refuses to honor his end of the bargain, he learns that "The Killer Came Slithering." A beautiful young woman named Eva Beauregard happens on the scene and the colonel hires her as governess and soon asks her to be his wife. She turns into a boa constructor and strangles him to death. I guess it was the Old South setting and some sweet drawin' by Mr. Elias that made this story a tad more enjoyable than the usual Kashdan fare. And Cynthia never looked lovelier.

Peter: If the point of the DC horror stories is to shock and surprise, then these tales that just... end... are a bit tiresome and tough to slog through. Unfortunately, it seems we're hitting a point in the era where that type of story dominates. It's a double-edged sword though, I realize, in that the alternative is a shock finale that was set up and telecast in the first few panels.

Story? What story?

Jack: Constance may be a rich heiress, but her younger sister Nan really has what it takes to land a man. Unfortunately, the man she falls for is Baron Johann Von Macklund, who is engaged to Constance. Johann falls for Nan and the two marry, but Constance gets "A Ghastly Revenge" by sending her sister a pittance each month and having her chauffeur drive by her apartment daily to rub in the fact that Constance is still wealthy. To make it even worse, Constance wears her wedding dress and sits in the back of the open car to remind the young lovers of how she was jilted. After ten years of this, a few days pass without a drive-by, so Johann and Nan visit Constance's mansion to see why she stopped torturing them. Inside, they find the chauffeur lying dead on the floor and the rotting corpse of Constance, who died a few months after their wedding. Her loyal driver kept taking her dead body by their window every day for ten years in accordance with her wishes. The revelation drives Nan crazy. I had to read this one twice to figure out what the heck was going on. I assume Kashdan wrote it, though there's no credit, and the art looks a bit like watered-down Alex Nino to me.

"A Ghastly Revenge"
Peter: I actually liked this one quite a bit. Its soap opera aspects drew me in and I never saw that sick finale coming. I kept waiting for Johann to be a gigolo after Nanette's money but... hey, wait a minute! If Johann is a Baron, why is he penniless and scrounging for jobs? I've got to read this one again. I'll be back.

Jack: Rich old man Archer keeps his valuables down in the basement vault. When Radley, his driver, and Dell, his nurse, are burgling the loot and hear the old man and his watchman coming along, they have the brilliant idea of hiding Radley in the vault. Dell swears that no one else is there, so Archer has his watchman build a brick wall in front of the vault to make sure she's not lying. "Burial Insurance" is four pages long but really goes nowhere. There's no surprise ending--Radley is trapped in the vault and that's that. No big deal.

Peter: I wonder why there are no credits listed for artists on these last two stories. "Burial Insurance" looks like the work of Gerry Talaoc to me, but I could be wrong. How would you like to have a girlfriend like Dell, ready and willing to allow her beau to be walled up just to escape discovery?

"Burial Insurance"

Luis Dominguez
Weird Mystery Tales 13

"Come Share My Coffin"
Story by Jack Oleck
Art by Jess Jodloman

"His Master's Voice"
Story by Jack Oleck
Art by Alfredo Alcala

"Search for a Werewolf"
Story by George Kashdan
Art by Alex Nino

Peter: Peter Ward mourns his dead brother, John, and swears he'll take care of his widow, Myra, on the little farm the trio owned. Things are not what they seem, though, as we soon discover that John has only faked his death with the help of his "widow" in order to drive his slightly feeble-minded brother insane and take complete control of the farm. John makes his face up and pretends to be a vampire, "attacking" Myra in front of Peter. This drives Peter to distraction and Myra calls the sheriff, who calms Peter down and takes him out to the family crypt. There, trying to convince the big oaf that John is dead, he opens the coffin and they view John's body. Knowing they're well on their way to commitment to an asylum, the couple continue to pick at Peter until he snaps and accidentally kills Myra. When the sheriff shows up again, he listens to Peter's theory that Myra is also a vampire and takes the man back out to the crypt. This time though, when the coffin is opened, they find John, very dead, with bloodied hands and a ghastly death mask. Peter 'fesses up to the sheriff that that very day he'd nailed the coffin lid closed to prevent any more attacks from his vampiric brother.

Hey, if we gotta look at this, so do you!!

Wow! "Come Share My Coffin!" is a stinker in so many different ways. Jack Oleck piles cliche upon cliche but still finds room to heap in plot devices so stupid as to be almost criminal. John tells Myra that it took him "years to learn how to go into a coma." Some trick that, not only willing yourself into a death-like state but also using mind control on the simpleton doctors and coroners who pronounced him dead. And, usually, corpses are embalmed. No explanation on that one either.  Jess Jodloman's art is just as bad (if not worse), which is strange because just the same month he delivers a gorgeous job on "The Perfect Mate" in House of Mystery. There's no rhythm to his lines, characters look completely different from panel to panel (especially egregious is the sheriff who looks like your typical Carol O'Connor-type sheriff in one panel and a demonic ghoul in the next). Check out Myra's teeth below! The last page (reprinted above), in particular, is awful. To me, it looks like someone whispered in Jodloman's ear, "Be more like Ghastly Graham!"Bad mistake.

Jack: John remarks that "It took me years to learn how to go into a coma." He could've saved a lot of time if he just bought an issue of Ghosts. The art in this story is very uneven. Some panels look great while others are a mess. I did not understand how John got back into the coffin the first time around and sealed it, since they have to use a pry bar to open it. This means that the last time, when it's nailed shut and they use a pry bar again, it doesn't make much sense that they tell us that it was a snap to open the first time.

Peter: A loving dog watches as his young master's life slips away but then meets up with him again in the afterlife. Maudlin. Maudlin. Maudlin. What's meant to tug at your heartstrings only makes you roll your eyes to the heavens. The finale, when the boy's parents witness their dead son's ghost and his dog dancing at the graveyard, is bad enough but it's topped by a final panel where the husband pleads for his wife to be rational ("We saw what we wanted to see. But there was no one there. There couldn't have been.") just before they watch the dead boy's wind-up toy soldier walk past them in the road. Alcala is once again wasted in this claustrophobic six-panels-per-page format.

Jack: In trying for a touching tale, Oleck misses the mark. The twist ending is unnecessary. Alcala is not at his best, either--the size of the dog varies from panel to panel and in one he's the size of a large door. The panel where the dog sits alone by the boy's grave in the rain is impressive, though.

"Go ahead and hate your neighbor/
go ahead and cheat a friend..."

Peter: Famous horror film director Max Von Milstein demands realism in his flicks and, to that end, he travels to Transylvania to "Search for a Werewolf." What he finds is Count Wroclaw, a strange man who lives in a castle high in the hills with his servant, Orczy. Wroclaw is only too happy to provide data on the London Werewolf, a legend that Max is intent on recreating on the silver screen, until he finds out that Max is going to make a movie and that doesn't sit well with him. He warns the director not to tamper with things he doesn't understand. Max pays little attention to the old fool and, once he's back in America, he gets right to work. The actor chosen to play the werewolf isn't going well and von Milstein tells him to go off and rehearse somewhere. Before you can say "Larry Talbot," there's what seems to be a real werewolf in camp. The beast gets tangled up in cans of silver nitrate and that's his undoing. Once dead, the werewolf reverts back to... Max von Milstein! More lackadaisical scripting by hack Kashdan. It makes not a whit of sense that Wroclaw would help Max with his research and then cast him out (cursed as a werewolf yet) when he finds out von Milstein's next pic is A London Werewolf in America. The guy's a movie director and Wroclaw admits to said knowledge. What else is a director going to do with the information? As usual, the saving grace is the art by Alex Nino, whose werewolf is muscular and ferocious.

Jack: Was there ever a worse match of writer and artist than Kashdan and Nino? Kashdan's story is run of the mill with a dopey ending, but Nino's art just soars. I wait each month, hoping for something good by Nino, and this does not disappoint.

Nick Cardy
Ghosts 30

"The Dead of the Night"
Story by Leo Dorfman
Art by E.R. Cruz

"The Phantom in Our Family"
Story by Murray Boltinoff
Art by Lee Elias

"The Fangs of the Phantoms"
Story by Leo Dorfman
Art by Ernie Chan

Jack: A ghostly train comprised of seven black cars passes through a run down New York town on the anniversary of the date that the train carrying Abraham Lincoln's corpse passed through the same town a century before. That night, young Doug Carter runs away from home, hoping to spare his struggling father from having to feed another child. He boards an old, empty train and, once it is in motion, a shadowy (and very tall) figure lectures him about courage and tells him to never give up. In the morning, he returns home and all realize he rode the Lincoln ghost train in "The Dead of the Night" and got advice from Honest Abe himself. The identity of the ghostly advisor was obvious from the get-go, but at least Cruz drew a nice, spooky train.

Peter: I never get the point of these stories. If it's a "ghost train," how is Doug able to board? And for what purpose? To tell others that Honest Abe's spirit still rides the rails? Odd that Abe's face is never shown; as if it was a big secret who the ghost was. The art's okay but it doesn't touch Nick Cardy's vision of the haunted train on the cover.

"Gee, you look just like the back of this penny!"

Jack: It's March 1972, and the soldiers are coming home from Vietnam. Mama's family knows her son Joey is dead, but she doesn't believe it. When his coffin is delivered she runs from the room. In the next room, she sees Joey's spirit in the curtains blowing at the window and she holds his bronze star, which she claims he finally brought home to her. "The Phantom in Our Family" is fairly clunky in its exposition but the timeliness of its tale makes it unusually powerful for a story in Ghosts.

No laughing matter!

Peter: This one has an ending just like "The Dead of Night," an exposition built around an item delivered by a dead person. Did they really deliver the coffins to the houses of the relatives like that? If so, it was very cold and ghoulish. The more of Lee Elias' work I see, the more I come to think of him as a "competent" artist. He's neither horrible nor very good; nothing stylish but it gets the job done.

Jack: Back in 1923, the Congo was not the place to be, especially for District Officer Pierre Fontaine, charged with bringing two native murderers to justice. The men call themselves spirit sorcerers and conjure up a series of dangerous animals to attack their captor, though each animal dissipates into mist when fired upon. Finally, the natives escape by turning themselves into crocodiles and swimming away. "The Fangs of the Phantoms" sounds stupid, I know, but it's actually pretty good. At one point, one of the natives accidentally has one of his fingers shot off. You don't see that every day in a DC comic!

"The Fangs of the Phantoms"

Peter: Ernie Chan, our friend from Batman in the 1970s days, makes the jungle ride tolerable and the script, by process of elimination, wins Best of the Issue. An accolade like this, mind you, is like voting "We're an American Band" the best hit of Grand Funk's career. It's all relative.

After yet another awful issue of Ghosts!,
Jack wants to throw in the trowel.

Please do not write on your computer screen

Peter and his bestest pal, Superman

All we ask is that you meet us here again next week for our next genre-busting issue!


AndyDecker said...

You are right. It is hard to believe that this cover is by Frank Robbins. This is great.

Compared to the often meh stories DC put a lot of effort in the Mystery covers.

Jack Seabrook said...

Thanks, Andy. One of the artists I've come to love as a result of doing this series is Nick Cardy, who drew so many of the covers for DC and so few of the inside stories. I had always liked his art but I never really thought about his name till recently.

IanReyno said...

Good day! I stumbled upon your site, and was wondering if you're familiar with the "House of Mystery" story where one guy was buried alive in a wall of bricks, and then he begins to haunt people? It's been a childhood nightmare of mine so I've begun a lifelong quest to find that edition. Maybe you could help me. Thank you so much! - Ian, Philippines

Jack Seabrook said...

Ian, I don't know it but maybe Peter does. I am also haunted by a comic book story I read as a kid. There was this kid who loved spiders and other creepy crawlies, but his mean stepfather hated them. The kid dies and the stepfather snuggles up in the kid's bed only to find that's where he kid all the spiders, etc.! Yuck! I have a feeling it was in a Red Circle comic in the early '70s but who knows. In any case, maybe Peter can help.

Peter Enfantino said...

That doesn't sound familiar to me either, Ian, sorry, but it sounds like it might have been from one of the pre-1968 issues that Jack and I didn't cover.

IanReyno said...

This is totally cool, talking to the both of you with the same common interests! Thanks for your replies. Totally appreciate them. :) cheers!