Thursday, January 29, 2015

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

Harvey Comics
Part Two

By Jose Cruz
and Peter Enfantino

Peter: As he lay on his deathbed, Old Man Donder reveals to his son, Donald, that every Donder for the last three centuries has disappeared from his deathbed and, he expects, he will be no different. Donald promises his father that, no matter what the family curse, no one will be taking any corpse from Donder mansion as long as he’s breathing. Donald sits outside his father’s room, armed with a shotgun, all night but, in the end, to no avail. His father is gone from the mansion the next morning and the only clues are the footprints of strange creatures and traces of seaweed. Determined to find his father, the young man follows the tracks into the cellar, where he finds a secret passageway. He gets to the opening just in time to see strange crab creatures carrying his father out to sea and his attempts to save the old man are thwarted. Though traumatized, Donald gets on with his life and, two years later, he meets the beautiful Mona and asks her to marry him. The gorgeous dame accepts with one proviso: she’s going to need a hubby with lots of greenbacks. Donald ‘fesses that there’s a huge treasure below his mansion but he’s a little leery of investigating thanks to the big guys with claws. Mona can be persuasive though and, before long, the pair are investigating the subterranean passageways. Sure enough, there’s a fortune in gems and diamonds piled up down below and, predictably enough, Mona is adverse to sharing the payday with her “weak-witted, spineless fool” of a man. Ideally, Donald slips and cracks his head open and Mona abandons him, arms full of riches. Left to die, Donald curses his bad luck until the crab creatures make a reappearance and explain to the bloodied buffoon the real story behind the Donders. Centuries before, one of Donald’s great-great-great-whatevers stumbled onto a serum which contained “the secret of immortal life” and, since then, whenever a Donder is about to die, the crustacean critters show up to administer an injection of said formula. The only drawback, of course, is that the recipient then becomes a giant crab (a dexterous talking crab, mind you, but still a crab) and has to live beneath the sea. Not one to live the good life alone, Donald shows up to bring Mona back to his new paradise. Unfortunately, the gorgeous gal is lacking gills and she’s doomed to drown.

Like “Crawling Death” (from CoC #7), “The Bride of the Crab” (from #12) isn’t so much great literature as a great indicator of what these gems were all about in the 1950s. Surprisingly enough, for the most part, CoC avoided the “classic monsters” (the vampire, werewolf, etc.) but reveled in “natural horror” like giant crabs and killer trees. There’s just no way to describe the goofiness of Moe Marcus’ depictions of humanoid crabs, beings who have huge pincers but can skillfully manipulate a syringe full of eternal youth. You gotta love that climax as well: Mona, now on a cruise in the middle of the ocean watches in horror as Donald, still in love with the woman who betrayed him and left him to rot, enters her cabin and explains his new look to her. Will he be able to make a respectable crab girl out of Mona or will she drown on her way down to Bikini Bottom? Stay tuned for The Bride of the Crab Walks Among Us!

(You ain't just whistlin' Dixie about this not being great literature. Despite my affection for "Crawling Death," I was not feeling this crabby-horror at all and I think Marcus' sloppy art goes a long way in sinking any sense of fun I was going to have with this one. - Jose)

Jose: “Far out in the whirling cosmos” there exists a sordid planet known as Varsuvia, a gaseous hell full of burning flame and searing sulpher. One of the miserable denizens, Eric (!) Valborg, is bemoaning the fate of his people when a hideous hag tells him that through her magic she can transport him to another planet in order to find their salvation. And faster than you can say “trubdon zurdit bareno” Valborg is on planet Earth! Peeping in the window of couple David and Jean, Valborg decides to steal the woman away so that he might enjoy a little peace at her beautiful side before his imminent immolation. A scuffle breaks out as the alien tries to make away with his prize and soon all three of them are back on Varsuvia. When the humans show ingratitude for their latest vacation, Valborg tries throwing them into one of the sulpher pits. The hag, upset that her powers have been used to such wicked ends, gives Valborg the heave-ho herself and sends the lovers back to their home.

Were it not for Rudy Palais’ distinct artwork in “The Horror from the Shade” (CoC #11), this oddball scifi excursion might have only been notable as a one-off experiment and nothing more. And though the panels tend to be over-busy and stuffed with detail, as was one of Palais’ trademarks, his depiction of the aliens and their terrible planet are worth the cover price alone. The Varsuvians are skull-faced, morbidly thin creatures who perspire just as copiously as the Homo sapiens (profuse sweating being another of Palais’ stock images). You can almost see the aliens move in slinky motions and hear the creak of their nasty bones. And lord have mercy, if ever a comic book story was drawn to look like it literally stank to high heaven, this one would be it. Not even Galactus would dare devour this bilious little appetizer.

(Palais' art is fabulous but this script belongs in Varsuvia. Highlight is when Jean tells hubby David that Eric Valborg, who's been salivating over her sleeping form, is "insane!! He talks of burning pits -- of another world--!" Not sure about you, dedicated blog reader, but if a giant blue pointy-eared shorts-wearing caped monster was threatening me, I'd be worried about more than his sanity. -Peter)

Peter: Farmer Rafe and wife Sara live on a small bit of acreage, the soil too poor to properly grow edibles. Only one patch of land, in fact, has soil suitable for planting but on that plot stands a huge fruit tree. Though the couple fight over anything and everything, the tree is the one piece of dirty business that continually chews away at Sara. Rafe, however, is not to be swayed as he’s convinced that someday this husk will bear delicious fruit. After a blight ruins their entire crop, Sara takes a hatchet to the tree until Rafe discovers his wife mid-swing and strangles her, burying her beside his beloved tree. A year later, the tree does indeed begin bearing fruit but not any that Rafe has ever seen before. The blossoms resemble Sara’s hands and, as he’s inspecting them, the “hands” wrap themselves around Rafe, killing him and burying him beside his wife’s body. The next spring, the tree bears even stranger fruit.

A tale oft told but, this time out, told with supreme nastiness and stunning visuals. Rudy Palais (who is known to comic fans for his trademark, flying beads of sweat)  absolutely loved to mess with the constrictions of the panelled page (something that wasn’t done much over at EC) and his layouts for “The Fruit of Death” (CoC #12) are very evocative of Will Eisner’s The Spirit (especially Sara’s corpse “bleeding” into the panels all around it). The final panel, of the miniature “fruit heads” of Sara and Rafe, is truly horrifying, another perfect example of just how nasty the pre-code horror could get.

(Good ol' Palais! This was not the strongest of narratives, but it gave the artist the opportunity to draw rotting fruit with screaming human faces, and in my book that's something not to be easily dismissed. - Jose)

Jose: Blood runs red in the streets of France during the Revolution, with the insidious Madame Guillotine doling out horrendous, gory death to members of the bourgeois who refuse to renounce the king. Our eponymous fiend is the one responsible for manning the blade, and he finds only the utmost joy in his work and rousing the rabbles that come to watch the executions. One aristocrat remains relatively calm on the eve of his sentence. He says that the guillotine claimed his revolutionist father as well. Once the lad’s head is lopped off, the executioner recognizes a locket that fell from the man’s neck that puts him in a funk. His somber reverie is interrupted by the headless spirits of his victims who hold out their wailing gourds to him as he tries to flee. Confronted by the young aristocrat’s ghost, the executioner reveals that he is the man’s father… and finally removes his hood to reveal that he is also headless! The spirit is left alone to ponder the nature of man’s evil ways.

Ludicrous. Silly. Perhaps even half-assed. And yet something that defies logic calls to me from “Man in the Hood” (CoC #13) I’m a sucker for some good old fashioned beheading, and Powell seems to be having fun with his blood-bedewed baskets and blades and muscle-bound punishers. There’s just enough story here to give “Man in the Hood” a narrative foothold, but most of the finer details are disposed of completely. At times it almost seems to be a mere filler piece made for the purpose of giving us copious panels of powdered-wig types screaming from sliced throats and buxom madams getting knifed in the back. But there’s something endearing about our nameless man. Perhaps it is his very lack of identity engendered by his masked status. Maybe it’s because we all wear hoods, ones that keep the world blind to our dark secrets and desires. Only when our backs are pressed up against the wall and our old skeletons come rattling from the closets do we reveal our true selves.

(After the two headless men verbally spar at the climax, one falls to the ground dead. The survivor, with his head in his hands asks, metaphysically, "I killed him and he killed me! Will man ever know peace?" Not if Harvey has anything to do with it. -Peter)

Peter: Life for big game hunter, Thaddeus Stevens has become boring since he’s bagged, stuffed and mounted every rare species known to man but salvation arrives in the form of the Upper Ubangi, a largely unexplored area of Africa. There, it is said, several wild new animal specimens have been spotted. Quickly, Stevens sets off for Africa but his efforts are for naught until he stumbles across a large pool of water that almost seems to churn and pulse as though alive. Thaddeus watches in amazement as a bird falls into the pool and emerges as a different animal altogether. Hypothesizing that the pool contains “the essence of life,” the hunter captures a gazelle and pushes it into the pol. Moments later, the animal rises from the water as an almost otherworldly creature. Stevens captures more animals and continues his offbeat safari. While tossing a lion cub in, Thaddeus has a mishap and falls into the water himself. When he crawls from the water, he notices an evil twin of himself emerging as well and attempts to flee. The twin catches up to him and we find that this Thaddeus Stevens likes to mount the heads of his kills as well.

A really whacky tale with a climax that might actually carry a moral… I think. I’d ask why Thaddeus is the only creature to merit a double but then most of these stories have the same vague qualities to them. Best to just enjoy “The Collector” (from CoC #17) and savor that final panel of evil Thad, enjoying a beverage while admiring his new trophy head (evil Thad looks quite a bit like one of EC’s horror hosts!). Artist Joe Certa contributed to 41 of the Harvey pre-code strips in both penciller and inker positions. He’s probably best known as co-creator of DC’s Martian Manhunter but also worked on western and horror titles for Marvel in the 1950s and would later work extensively on the Gold Key horror titles in the 1960s and 70s. As a side note, the identically-titled and similarly-themed “The Collector,” (from the second issue of the Dell version of  The Twilight Zone, August-October, 1962) features pencils by George Evans and inking by Frank Frazetta.

(Stories like this are always fun to discover because they show you how far the writers were willing to push their ideas in order to get the biggest shock. Sometimes it didn't work, but I think it does here and the ending is quite clever and sardonic. - Jose)

Jose: Karl Dresden wants his beautiful new home built over a stretch of land, and he isn’t going to let a dilapidated old cemetery get in his way either. The workers are mighty scared and sickened by the job, but soon construction of the palatial mansion is completed. But now that the work is done, why does Karl still hear the clank and scrape of tools in the dead of night? Peering from his bedroom window, Karl spots a group of chalky zombies slapping some brick and mortar together for some unknown purpose. But not only do the weird creatures disappear without a trace, but their mysterious building is impenetrable even to the blows of a sledgehammer. Seeking to get to the bottom of this, Karl sneaks up on the creatures as they finish their project but quickly wishes he didn’t: they have just finished making his very own personal tomb.

If the Harvey titles are ever charged with unoriginal premises, let it be known that the simplistically-titled “It!” (CoC #14) was published a full two issues prior to The Vault of Horror #29 from E.C. in Feb/March of 1953, a tale that also focused on a selfish landowner who met his doom at the hands of a ghoulish band of construction workers that supplied him with his final resting place. Vic Donahue’s art is lively as always and though the script never takes any unexpected turns you can’t help but grin in knowing where it will go next. The irony that the zombies should build Karl another home when it was this reason that provoked their vengeance in the first place is palatable. Will these fools ever learn that it isn’t nice to mess with the dead?

(This one was on my short list as well. Whereas a lot of these stories shine because of their art rather than script, this one is just the opposite. I think Donahue's art is rather bland and shows not a lick of the imagination found in the work of Palais and Powell. In addition to "The Mausoleum," the Johnny Craig story you cited, Jose, "It!" reminds me most of "Blind Alleys," with its band of unseeing workers exacting revenge on a selfish penny-pinching bastard. -Peter)

Peter: With champagne chilling and husband waiting in the dining room, Charlotte strides merrily
down memory lane, recounting both the good and the bad. Seems it took quite an effort to land Fred but Charlotte's inevitable inheritance was enough to get the guy to the altar. Unfortunately, Fred has a straying eye but Charlotte is a woman in love and love will conquer all indiscretions, it seems. As she pours the champagne into Fred's glass, we see just how far Charlotte will go to obtain her dream life.

For the veteran horror fan, there's no surprise what waits us in the final panel of "Happy Anniversary" (from CoC #19); we know what's going on right from the get-go despite Charlotte's bubbly dialogue. If this was True Romance Comics, we might be fooled but, since we never actually see nor hear from Fred until the denouement, we've got a pretty good idea what's up. What pushes this over into Recommended territory are the queasy little nuances: Charlotte's smile (which, on a re-read, borders on crazed), her dialogue in the final panels (the deliberately vague "I knew you wouldn't lose your taste for flashy women! That's why, the night we were married... but that's enough of the unhappy, sordid past!"), and Fred's degenerated state ("ten years we've dined together... listened to our favorite songs together... just the two of us blissfully alone...") all combine for a tale guaranteed to make you ponder. How has Charlotte managed to hide her decomposing hubby from public scrutiny? How did she kill him? Are those tears in her eyes in that fantastic final image? Why is Fred's shirt torn but he's still got a lovely full head of hair? Much more than just a five-page throwaway, "Happy Anniversary" is a chilling descent into madness, one that only gets better the more times you experience it.

(Harvey hits a real nerve with this one. The climax won't be surprising anyone, but what is startling is how emotionally touching the story is, probably due to the rare amount of restraint that's at work here. We see absolutely no signs of violence, only the terrible aftermath. And those tears. Those tears really sell that moment. - Jose)

Jose: After mugging an elderly well-to-do gent and leaving him to bleed out in the street, Greg Vantucci and “Fingers” Watson hurry back to their grimy hovel to slobber over their spoils. But, as is common in the criminal element, greed over who-gets-how-much quickly sets in, leading Watson to shoot off a round at Greg just as the other stabs Watson in the heart. Merely grazed by the bullet, Greg gloats over his victory as he leaves his ex-partner’s disrobed corpse for the hungry rats to get their fill. Retiring to another tenement, Greg is more than a little disturbed to see Watson’s nibbled corpse waiting for him in the bed. Greg thinks he somehow came back to the scene of the crime in his confusion and hurries out to another hotel. But when he enters his new room, he’s greeted by the horrible sight yet again. Finally resolving to go the ritziest hotel in town to avoid any possibility of vermin and cadavers, Greg’s sent over the edge when he sees the rats and those gnawed little piggies staring right back at him in not just one but two separate rooms. The munched-on corpse of Watson shambles forth to give Greg the bad news: that bullet he shot earlier was more accurate than Greg realized and he has now taken up a permanent residency in Hell.

With the beats of a good psychological noir and the squishy gruesomeness of the comic book medium, “Cycle of Horror” (CoC #16) scores high marks for its strength as a narrative. The art by Chamber of Chills newcomer Al Eadeh (he did pencilwork for two scripts from Black Cat and another in Tomb of Terror)  is a perfect match for the material. It looks just as scratchy and seedy as the characters who inhabit the story, and the choice to leave the corpse’s messy remains restricted to a pair of gnawed feet is actually very effective. The shots of Watson in his full glory can’t quite match up with the disquieting sight of the gaping hole in his ankle!

(Despite a cliched climax [well, wait, if Greg is dead, how come he's not being munched on as well? Oh, never mind], I found this to be one heck of a gruesome and effective shocker. And thank goodness when we do see Watson "in his full glory" that the rats were kind enough to leave his boxers relatively untouched. I've heard that rats do tend to go for the soft bits first... -Peter)

Peter: George and Clara hop on the underground, en route to see Clara’s old friend, Emily. They haven’t seen Emily in years and there’s so much to catch up on, as well as meeting Emily’s new husband for the first time. As they take their seats, a roguish scamp across the car from Emily winks at her. Taking umbrage, George leaps up to defend his wife’s honor and the two men engage in a skirmish. As the train comes to a halt, the shoving match stumbles out of the car and onto the platform. George delivers a left upper cut that sends the man sailing into the path of an oncoming train. Luckily, for George, there’s a policeman nearby who witnesses the entire melee and George is free to go (yes, we can all wonder why this cop stood by as a fist fight unfolded before his eyes) provided he shows up at the precinct the following morning to fill out a report. The couple arrive at Emily’s house where George comforts a visibly shaken Clara and Emily puts on a pot of coffee, telling Clara that her husband will be home soon but there’s a picture of him on the mantle if she’s interested. The phone rings as the horrified couple realize Emily’s husband is….

I have to be completely honest and confess that I never saw the twist of “End of the Line” (from CoC #20) coming. I’ve read thousands of comic book horror stories and I can usually tell a mile away what’s going to happen. My initial suspicion was that the guy on the subway train was Emily’s lover and that the plan was to do away with George. After that never unfolded, I was pleasantly blindsided by the revelation that George had killed Emily’s husband! The masochist in me wanted to see at least a few more panels as the whole truth unfurled in that living room and Emily threw scalding hot coffee in George’s face, evening up the score. Bob Powell’s visuals are so unusual here, almost evoking a 1930s feel rather than the 50s and, unlike Rudy Palais’ work, Powell’s images play out within the confines of the panel, no spilling at all, and (with the exception of the large image on the splash) all pages are laid out in two or three panel lines. I usually like my art to be a little less confined but in “End of the Line,” this format only seems to amp up the claustrophobia.

(From "Saw it coming" with your last pick to "Holy Christmas!" with this one. Like you, I was totally in the dark as to how this tale was going to pan out. Its simple structure allowed for a lot of potential paths to open up, but it was only in getting to the final destination that the implication of all that had come before socked me right in the gut just like the characters. - Jose)

Jose: You’re walking down a dark road to a local cemetery, pondering, when suddenly from the rumbling heavens descends a white-hot bolt of lightning that knocks you into this side of next Tuesday. Thankfully the freak accident has proved non-fatal, but upon awaking in the hospital later you can’t seem to remember your name or what you were doing in the cemetery. The doctor’s diagnosis is definite: you have amnesia! So what else do poor, forgetful saps do but flee into the night in search of answers? That’s just what you do, retracing your steps at the cemetery and finding an old-fashioned key in the dirt where you fell. When you see the rickety old mansion in the distance, you rightfully figure that they key will grant you access. You haven’t poked around too long before a moldering old corpse decides to pester you. You flee in terror, even though the nameless horror seems to recognize you. Solace is not to be found in the next room, where two robed wraiths eagerly await your arrival. Though you stammer in terror they assure you that you’re in the right place. After all… you are the Devil!

I know this makes two similarly Satanic stingers in a row, but to deny “Amnesia” (CoC #17) a top spot in this week’s exemplary cluster would be the most egregious form of forgetfulness. Like “Cycle of Horror” before it, this story drips with the shadows of a noir film. The theme of lost identity and the detective work the second-person narrator performs would be right at home in such a production. But even if the story and its left-field dénouement leave you a little cold (they tickle me pink personally), then “Amnesia” is still noteworthy for the A-plus artwork by Howard Nostrand. Reminiscent of Jack Davis’ work for E. C., Nostrand’s characters are expertly drawn but have that one note of unreality to them that pushes them over into the wonderfully outlandish. It’s a compliment that Nostrand manages to make his lead look both surly and dangerous in one panel and impishly cartoony in the next.

(I think CoC #17 was the best issue out of the first twenty we've perused. Three of the four stories -- yes, I know "The Bridge" is a big stinker -- get high marks from me. "Amnesia" has one of the biggest WTF? endings we've seen so far, one that's pulled right out of the uncredited writer's hat, and leaves you either scratching your head or laughing out loud. -Peter)

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

Peter: "Vengeful Corpse!" (from #15), like last Volume's "Stinking Zombie", was carefully chosen for this honor because of the boredom which creeps upon the reader very quickly after the initial set-up is presented. Rich Peter Rich is dying and his vulture-like children have come to hover over his deathbed. All three are hoping for endless wealth and all the old man is asking is that the trio preserve him in a really nice tomb. Rich shuffles off and his lawyer cautions the children: "Take my warning and build his magnificent tomb! If you disobey him, he swore to return from his grave for vengeance..." If the children had listened, we'd be all the better as that would be the end of this nonsense but, no, they take the easy route and stuff the corpse in a stingy old tomb. "Ah, they'll die in horror for this..." swears the lawyer and die they do. Each meets death in a ghastlier fashion: cable car, fall from a great height and, finally, asphyxiation in dad's crypt. At least the old man grows a smile. Not only does this five-pager seem to move as slow as that plumber you hired by the hour but Moe Marcus' art is the pits, lacking any of the dynamics of his colleagues' work and laid out and choreographed with no energy whatsoever. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you this Volume's "Stinking Zombie"...

Moe Marcus? No, Less Marcus... Please?

Jose: This must be the week of the literal stinking zombies, because my pick for the dog of the pack, "Bridge" from CoC #17, is another tale that deals with those pesky revenants from beyond the grave. Criminal Rand is pitched over the side of the London Bridge by his cohorts after a successful hit, but the revived robber goes forth to mete out justice, mostly by calmly walking through the streets and letting everyone scare themselves silly and/or to death.  I have much more respect for stories whose reach far exceed their grasp (even the WTF-ery of bedfellow "Big Fight" is commendable for at least trying to be different), but I have zero patience when it comes to stories that are so inanely routine that it becomes a chore just to get through it. "Bridge" has absolutely nothing about it that distinguishes it from others of its type, and the script and dialogue sound like they were written by a somnambulist. And Moe Marcus' art isn't doing anything for me either. Sorry, Moe!

Sadly for our friend, only the script was on autopilot.


Peter: My pick, this time out, for reprinted story is Howard Nostrand's "Haircut" for a couple of reasons. One, it's got great Jack Davis-ish art (Nostrand is notorious for his aping) and it's the lone story we could find (in color) from the only issue we had no access to. Here, from issue #18, is "Haircut":

Jose: For my choice this week, I’ve selected another story, like “Formula of Death” from the last go-round, that isn’t here because I rate it as one of the very best. “Lay That Pistol Down” (CoC #20) is a grabber based on that title alone, but if you make any presumptions of its content based on its name then whoo-boy are you in for a shock. I have no idea what they were going for here; is this supposed to be a dopey gimmick tale torn from the pages of a MAD Magazine ripoff? Nostrand’s art sure makes it look like that! Things get very silly very quickly here, but damn if it hasn’t stuck in my mental craw this whole time. Now it’s your turn!


Peter: As noted above, we didn't have access to CoC #18 and we're really too cheap to plunk down big bucks for either the original or the UK reprints. The pages of "Haircut" above were found on a site auctioning the original artwork for the story. I was able to find original pages for one other story from #18, Bob Powell's "Friend," but the pages were in black and white and I didn't think we'd get the full effect sans color. When we get hold of a digital copy of #18, we'll give a full rundown of our findings.

Quote from "Curse of the Black Panther" (#16): "But now a strange restlessness ate at her vitals." Almost winks at those in the know: the story is very reminiscent of Lewton's Cat People and the final panel has the hero uttering over his dead lover's body: "No, don't die! Come back to me, Lenore! Oh, my darling-- Nevermore!" "The Things" (from #13) has some of my favorite goofball writing:

Eyes bulge with horror which was before suppressed... but which was now unleashed in a wild fury!

In a dirty cafe on the Gold Coast, a tired candle gashes out deep scowls of thought on the faces of three men...

The perspiration of fear and fatigue popped out as huge globules on the foreheads of the men...

Harvey takes a break from ripping off EC Horror and gives EC Science Fiction an homage with "TerrorVision (from #19), a pretty on-the-money aping of the sort of story that filled the pages of Weirds Science and Fantasy.

Jose: The snappy twists of "Black Passion" (#19) and "End of the Line (#20) also recall the narrative mold of another E.C. title, Shock Suspenstories. Though you won't find a grinning skull or salivating vampire anywhere within the pages of this duo, they have a biting impact in their depiction of the human heart of darkness.

With this block of issues, Harvey has solidified its patented scream of terror: "AGRAAA!!!!" Sounds more like the name of allergy medicine to me, though.

There are some days when I've really wished I had something like the magical flying knife from "The Curse of Morgan Kilgane" (#11) at my disposal. Probably better that I don't. They have a habit of stabbing you in the back.

Chamber of Chills #11-21

#11 (August 1952)
Cover by Lee Elias

“The Girl in the Moonpool”
Art by Bob Powell

“The Horror from the Shade”
Art by Rudy Palais

“Return from Bedlam”
Art by Al Avison

“The Curse of Morgan Kilgane”
Art by Manny Stallman

#12 (September 1952)
Cover by Al Avison

“Murder at Moro Castle”
Art by Warren Kremer

“The Swamp Monster”
Art by Abe Simon

“The Bride of the Crab”
Art by Moe Marcus

“The Fruit of Death”
Art by Rudy Palais

#13 (October 1952)
Cover by Al Avison

“Man in the Hood”
Art by Bob Powell

“The Lost Race”
Art by Abe Simon

“The Man Germ”
Art by Howard Nostrand

“The Things”
Art by Moe Marcus

#14 (November 1952)
Cover by Lee Elias

Art by Vic Donahue

“Down to Death”
Art by Moe Marcus

“The Spider Man”
Art by Abe Simon

“The Devil’s Necklace”
Art by Rudy Palais

#15 (January 1953)
Cover by Lee Elias

“Nightmare of Doom”
Art by Al Avison

“Vengeful Corpse”
Art by Moe Marcus

“The Living Mummies”
Art by Don Perlin (?)

“Mind Over Matter”
Art by Bob Powell

#16 (March 1953)
Cover by Lee Elias

“Cycle of Horror”
Art by Al Eadeh

“Curse of the Black Panther”
Art by Howard Nostrand

“The Wax Man”
Art by Moe Marcus

“The Creeping Death”
Art by Rudy Palais

#17 (May 1953)
Cover by Lee Elias

Art by Warren Kremer

“Big Fight!”
Art by Howard Nostrand

Art by Moe Marcus

“The Collector”
Art by Joe Certa

#18 (July 1953) **MISSING**
Cover by Lee Elias

Art by Howard Nostrand

Art by Joe Certa

Art by Bob Powell

“The House!”
Art by John Giunta

#19 (September 1953)
Cover by Lee Elias or Warren Kremer

“Happy Anniversary”
Art by Bob Powell

Art by Howard Nostrand

“Garzan the Magnificent”
Art by Joe Certa

“Black Passion”
Art by Jack Sparling

#20 (November 1953)
Cover by Howard Nostrand

“The Clock”
Art by Joe Certa

Art by Manny Stallman

“Lay That Pistol Down”
Art by Howard Nostrand

“End of the Line”
Art by Bob Powell

In two weeks, the conclusion of our coverage of Chamber of Chills and the first look at Witches Tales!


Grant said...

One tiny thing I noticed about "HAIRCUT" is the wall calendar. People probably think there were no "girly" calendars with VERY skimpy clothing (let alone nudity) in the ' 50s and before, but I far as I know, there were plenty, even if you don't usually see them in pop culture like movies and shows. So seeing that one in a comic is a little surprising, even if it's a tiny picture in the background.

Jack Seabrook said...

Another very enjoyable post! Those covers are really something. "Lay That Pistol Down" recalls Fredric Brown's "The Last Martin" in its twist ending and, of course, "Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?" from The Twilight Zone.