Monday, June 29, 2015

Star Spangled DC War Stories Part 56: January 1964

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

Russ Heath & Jack Adler
G.I. Combat 103

"Rabbit Punch for a Tiger!"
Story by Robert Kanigher
Art by Joe Kubert

"TNT Duds!"
Story by France Herron
Art by Jack Abel

Peter: The boys of the Jeb Stuart get a little well-deserved R 'n' R when a female magician appears for an exclusive appearance. During the show, the magician pulls a rabbit from her hat and the ghostly Jeb Stuart warns the G.I. Jeb Stuart that the rabbit is sending a warning. Very soon, Jeb and his men will be hung up like a rabbit. Because the warning is (as usual) very vague, Jeb sees a rabbit analogy in every obstacle they face that day. The real deal happens when the Jeb rolls into a burned-out village and faces a mammoth Tiger. When Jeb is blown off his own tank and must take shelter in a demolished jeep, the Tiger lifts the vehicle in the air and attempts to blow our hero to kingdom come. With the help of an abandoned bazooka, Jeb is able to deliver a "Rabbit Punch for a Tiger." As with previous installments of The Haunted Tank, I'm beginning to wonder what the use is of involving a supernatural force that does nothing but speak in riddles and disappear. There's no addition or expanding of the mythos at all; General Stuart shows up, delivers a few lines, and then returns to the void. I wonder what he does in his spare time when he's not warning our heroes of impending doom (but not telling them enough to fully prepare for that doom). Kanigher could have excised all references to the specter and this story would not have suffered one bit. The driving force behind this strip is still the gangbusters art delivered by Joe Kubert, who makes even the most tedious proceedings exciting.

Jack: Did you notice that our hero is called Jeb Stuart Smith in this story? I did not recall the last name of Smith, but Wikipedia says it was used in early stories and later dropped. I'm not sure I'd call this an early story, and I'm not sure I trust this Wikipedia entry, but never mind. Kubert's art is fantastic, but so is that cover by Heath and Adler! It's a very dynamic rendering of the climatic battle, against a vivid red sky. At one point, a German in a tank exclaims "Dunder und Blitzen!" It's a little known fact, but this panel and this exclamation led Rankin and Bass to adapt Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer for TV and it aired about a year after this comic was on the stands.

Peter and Jack size
up this week's stories.
Peter: The lieutenant and his men have been labelled "TNT Duds" by their superiors. Time to prove the army wrong. I've been trying to remember when I was so bored by a DC war story and can't come up with an answer so this is it: "TNT Duds" is the most boring, insufferable, and repetitious junk I've had to wade through since signing on to this tour. There are 54 panels and the word "dud" is used 48 times (nope, not an exaggeration and, yep, I counted so you wouldn't have to) but, beyond the usual tedium of the "catch phrase run into the dirt" there's the overwhelming vibe of defeatism. It's absolutely unrealistic that these "duds," G.I.s who do nothing but complain and blather on about what losers they are, could take out the entire Nazi militia without really trying. At least Jack Abel steps up to the plate and delivers a double; it's not great but it gets the job done. If there was a job to get done, that is. This is only the sixth story we've encountered written by France (Ed) Herron while on our journey but, pre-1959, the writer contributed 164 scripts to the "Big Five," making him the fourth most prolific wordsmith for the DC war titles. Herron died in 1966.

Jack: It's a good thing I read the stories before I read your comments, because I jotted down "fairly exciting" in my notes! I thought Herron was playing off the DC war comics writers' penchant for repeating a phrase over and over and making fun of the tendency. He uses "Dud" so often that it has to be a joke. The Dud platoon actually does some good fighting and captures two hills for the price of one.

Joe Kubert
Our Army at War 138

"Easy's Lost Sparrow!"
Story by Robert Kanigher
Art by Joe Kubert

"The Iron Sniper!"
Story by France Herron
Art by Jack Abel

Jack: Just as Easy Co. is about to spring into action to prevent A Nazi advance, along comes a new recruit so slightly built that one of the men calls him a sparrow. Rock doesn't have time to learn anything about him, including his name, and tells the young man to follow along and do everything he does. The recruit quickly becomes "Easy's Lost Sparrow!" when he disappears during a Nazi bombing attack. Though Rock and his men halt the advance, the sergeant is mortified that he lost the recruit before even learning his name.

After defeating an enemy sniper, Easy Co. has to clear a small town. Rock inspects a cellar and find the lost sparrow being held captive at gunpoint by a Nazi, Rock tackles the Nazi and kills him, but the loud gunfire echoing in the cellar temporarily deafens him, so he is unable to hear the recruit when he finally shares his name. In Luke 12:6, Jesus says: "Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God." Bob Kanigher quietly gives us a Biblical parable in this tale, where Sgt. Rock is the Godlike figure who refuses to forget about the sparrow put in his care.

Peter: Beautiful art and a quick twist help elevate this above the standard "new recruit" fare. For once, I would have appreciated a quick finale expository, explaining how the sparrow got to be a prisoner in the basement and what plans that dirty stinkin' Nazi had for him.

Jack: "The Iron Sniper!" has a keen eye and a steady hand as he picks off men in and around a U.S. Tank. He begins to doubt himself when a soldier at whom he aims seems to have the same face as one he recently killed. Soldiers close in on the sniper's perch in a building in town until they succeed in blasting him to bits. What he did not know before he died was that he had been shooting at identical twins! Jack Abel turns it up a notch in this story, using closeups of the sniper's eyes and panels built around his gun's sights to ratchet up the tension. It doesn't make complete sense that there are only two twins, since the sniper seems to kill (by my count) five men, but the story is entertaining nonetheless.

Peter: Most Sgt. Rock stories tend to be a little more on the sophisticated and "adult" side than any of the other stories or series in the DC titles but, aside from that really dopey finale, "The Iron Sniper" reaches new heights of sophistication for a kids' funny book. The comparison of the sniper to a "cold, methodical, and calculating thing" (all the while, ignoring the fact that the Allies had their "killing machines" as well) is pretty heady stuff as is the brutal picking off of the tank engineers. France Herron is an enigma, responsible this month for one of the best of the year and, surely, one of the worst ("TNT Duds" in G.I. Combat). This would have been a lock for Best Story of the Year had Herron not thrown in that silly reveal (and how could the G.I.s have known this trick would have thrown the sniper off his game?) but it's still going to land near the top regardless.

Jerry Grandenetti
Our Fighting Forces 81

"Battle of the Mud Marines!"
Story by Robert Kanigher
Art by Jerry Grandenetti

"Sunk Alive!"
Story Uncredited
Art by Jack Abel

Jack: Pooch picks two names out of a helmet full of slips of paper to see which two Gyrenes will get a 48-hour pass to leave the island for some rest and relaxation. Gunner thinks back to many of the close scrapes the trio have had and recalls that they often ended up covered in mud, fighting the "Battle of the Mud Marines!" No sooner do the threesome head off on a PT boat for their time off than they engage in battle with a Japanese destroyer. A bomb from an enemy seaplane knocks them into the water, where they find themselves standing atop a Japanese sub. They blow up the sub and are captured by the seaplane, hanging onto one of its pontoons as it takes to the air. They manage to drop grenades into a smokestack and blow up the enemy destroyer before dropping back into the water. Back home on their island, Pooch picks their names out of the helmet again, but this time they decline the two-day pass, having had enough excitement.

What a dog!!

Peter: Why is it that, with each new installment, I get the funny feeling I've read the story before? WWII's dopiest and luckiest G.I.s (think Martin and Lewis) continue the yucks they've become famous for. At least there's no Col. Hakawa to contend with this time. I like when the C.O. tells Pooch to pick two names out of a hat and he does it. Arff!

Jack: Pete always looked up to Jack Bill as a civilian and it's no different when they join the Armed Services--Pete as a frogman and Bill as a torpedoman. When Bill is "Sunk Alive!" in a submarine, it's up to frogman Pete to come to the rescue. He does so swimmingly, even to the point of sharing his oxygen with Bill as they surface. Now that the DC war comics seem to have settled into a new format of one ten-page backup story, I hope the backup stories are more interesting than this one, which seems padded to fill out the allotted space.

Swapping breath or swapping spit?

Peter: How did the more-than-a-whiff of homoeroticism present in "Sunk Alive" ever make it past the censors? There's not much suspense in this one as we know exactly what's going to happen at least two frames prior. By-the-numbers script but nice Heath-ian art by Jack Abel.

Ross Andru and Mike Esposito
Star Spangled War Stories 112

"Dinosaur Sub-Catcher!"
Story by Robert Kanigher
Art by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito

"No Escape From Stalag 7!"
Story Uncredited
Art by Jack Abel

Peter: The submarine UDT-7 is sent on a recon mission from their Pacific base; they must travel to the North Pole to unravel the mystery of Polar Ice Cap X-3, a weather station, vital to the Allies, that's gone dark. It seems as though the sub can't get more than three or four nautical miles without bumping into some prehistoric horror from the extinct dinosaur age. Three frogmen from the submarine are constantly dispatched to uncover what's troubling the tin fish. Each time the men must battle more fearsome and deadly creatures from a nightmare and, each time, their story is met with disbelief and derision. Finally, the UDT-7 reaches its destination and the threesome goes above the ice cap to investigate the source of the station blackout. As they rise from the freezing water, their senses cannot be ready for the sight that disturbs their eyeballs: a giant Duckasaurus is munching on the station's communications tower ("That's why the weather station hasn't reported in!!" screams the brightest of the explorers)! Something catches the monster's attention and, up through the ice, is hauled the UDT-7. Luckily, the boys have come armed with explosives and, after a harrowing battle, the Duckasaurus is blown to bits and the men are reunited with their fellow sub-men.

Helluva throw, boys!
Believe it or not, I really liked this installment. Maybe it's the change of scenery or the (at least, initial) intrigue of the journey, but there's a real sense of danger and a tad bit of suspense as well. Sure, there are enough holes here to accommodate a Russian Typhoon and some of the dialogue is a bit... rushed ("It's sealed up the hole under which the sub is!") but "Dinosaur Sub-Catcher" is, easily, the most enjoyable chapter of The War That Forgot since the opener. About those plot holes though (yes, you knew I'd have questions!): The journey to the North Pole must have taken weeks for the sub and yet, when they get to the station, here's the dino chowing down on the com tower. Has he been working on that tower for weeks? And what happened to the observers who manned the station? If they escaped, where to? Did they freeze to death? Eaten by dinosaurs? Wouldn't the submarine have picked up any giant monsters swimming towards them? Why are the same three guys sent on every mission while the rest of the men on the sub play cards or write letters to mom? These are all minor questions, of course, when compared to the most important: now that we know there are monsters at the North Pole and on every island in the Pacific, does this mean that the entire planet has been overrun by giants from the stone age?

Jack: I think you are suffering from the same sort of nitrogen narcosis hallucinations that the frogmen in this story are accused of having. This is the same old story we've read umpteen times! And I believe that "duckasaurus" is intended to be a hadrosaur. You're welcome!

Abel turns in some nice work
Peter: The tank crew of Sgt. Wilson have always depended on their chief to get them out of dangerous scrapes but when the crew find themselves behind the fences of a Nazi POW camp, even the sarge must throw up his hands in defeat. Well, for a few minutes at least. Even though Commandant informs the men that there is "No Escape From Stalag 7," Wilson begins hatching plan after plan. Only problem is that each escape attempt ends in failure; there seems to be a mole in the outfit leaking details to the Nazi chief. Finally, Wilson takes command of an enemy tank and blasts his way through the fences, taking the head honcho prisoner. When the Nazi asks how the Sarge could have escaped without being given up by the mole on the inside, Wilson allows how he was the mole, setting his captor up for the big charade. Not too bad, but our uncredited writer (probably Hank Chapman) relies on way too much hip dialogue for my tastes ("Our Sherman sneezed a 105mm sneeze at the middle tiger and when the pig-iron beast caught the TNT germ..." and "Tiger fangs clomped on the double-double..." jump out at me as two wretched examples). Thankfully, the dopey lingo is front-loaded and, by the halfway point, we're more involved with the (admittedly, Hollywood-style) great escape attempts. It is funny that, after busting the fences down, the sarge remarks to the Nazi that since he's been such a great host, maybe it's time the tables were turned. This, while the pair are inside a slow-moving tank, ostensibly surrounded by a zillion more Nazis. The prolific Jack Abel (four stories in one month!) turns in some nice work here.

Jack: Not bad! The escape attempts held my interest and the concluding tank action was exciting. Jack Abel will never be among my favorite artists, but at least he turns in a competent job month after month, much better than what we get from Grandenetti on Gunner and Sarge.

"Head" to Cyberspace next Monday for
the 56th Chilling issue of Do You Dare Enter?!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Hitchcock Project-Cornell Woolrich Part Three: "Post Mortem" [3.33]

by Jack Seabrook

"Post-Mortem" first
appeared here
"Post Mortem" is an example of a mediocre Cornell Woolrich story that was vastly improved when adapted for television. The story, titled "Post-Mortem," was first published in the April 1940 issue of Black Mask. The TV adaptation on Alfred Hitchcock Presents aired on CBS on Sunday, May 18, 1958, with a teleplay by Robert C. Dennis. It starred Joanna Moore, Steve Forrest and James Gregory and it was directed by Arthur Hiller.

Woolrich's original story begins as the former Mrs. Josie Mead receives a visit from three reporters who tell her that she is one of three Americans to win the Irish Sweepstakes, to the tune of $150,000. She tells them that she is now Mrs. Archer, having remarried after the death of her first husband, Harry Mead. Knowing nothing about a sweepstakes ticket and unable to collect the winnings without it, she and her new husband Stephen search their house without success. Once Mrs. Archer is alone, she receives a return visit from Westcott, one of the reporters, whose probing questions lead to the conclusion that the winning ticket must have been in the pocket of the suit in which Harry Mead was buried.

Although Westcott and Mrs. Archer discuss exhuming the body, when she proposes the idea to Stephen he has a negative reaction, saying that "It gives me the creeps!" Without Stephen's knowledge, his wife and Westcott go to the cemetery, where workmen dig up the grave of Harry Mead.  Westcott and Mrs. Archer open the coffin and Westcott locates the winning ticket in the corpse's suit pocket. He also notices something else and asks that the body be removed and sent for an autopsy.

Joanna Moore as Mrs. Archer
Mrs. Archer figures out that Westcott is a detective, not a reporter, and explains that her first husband died suddenly after her second husband had sold him a life insurance policy. Westcott admits having noticed that the corpse had a fractured skull and thinking that Archer murdered Mead. Though Mrs. Archer confesses to the murder, he tells her that she has the details all wrong and that he knows she is trying to protect her new husband.

Mrs. Archer explains to Westcott that her second husband bought a new sun lamp for her to use while in the bathtub but that he keeps accidentally knocking it over. She also mentions that Archer brought Mead a bottle of whisky right before he died, but Westcott's suspicion that the bottle was poisoned does not make sense because the bottle dropped and smashed on the floor. The delivery man who brought a replacement bottle helped her pick up the pieces and said that there was enough for a stiff drink in some of the larger fragments.

Westcott leaves Mrs. Archer home alone and Stephen returns. When she is in the bathtub, her new husband knocks the sun lamp over and it falls in the water, but she is not killed because the power goes out right before the accident. Westcott sneaked into the basement and turned off the power just in time! He accuses Archer of the inadvertent murder of the delivery man, who died of poisonous liquor that he drank from a broken fragment of the bottle with which Archer had planned to murder Mead.

Steve Forrest as Archer
It turns out that Harry Mead had died a natural death after all, but his sister suspected foul play and got the police involved. The fractured skull that Westcott saw on Mead's corpse was due to an accident that occurred when the undertaker's assistant dropped the coffin while loading it into the hearse! Westcott remarks wryly that he happened upon one murder unexpectedly while investigating what turned out to be a case of death from natural causes.

It's clear from the convoluted plot of "Post-Mortem" that Woolrich got tied up in knots while writing this story and had to come up with some wild coincidences to wrap up all of its dangling threads. Robert C. Dennis had a challenge ahead of him when he was given the task of adapting the story for the small screen, a challenge that he solved quite neatly by streamlining the plot and utilizing a comic tone.

The TV show begins with a scene where Judy (Josie in the story) relaxes in a bubble bath. Steve brings in an electric heater and places it on the side of the tub before plugging it in. They argue about money; she has savings from her first husband's life insurance policy and he thinks they should invest the money in something risky but potentially rewarding. He accidentally knocks into the heater and burns his hand. This scene sets up the attempted murder at the end of the episode nicely and provides a welcome opportunity to see the lovely Joanna Moore in a bubble bath!

It's not in the attic!
The second scene corresponds with the beginning of Woolrich's story, as the reporters arrive at Mrs. Archer's home. Unlike the source, Westcott is not among them, and it becomes apparent that the story will be told with a light touch, taking full advantage of Moore's excellent comic timing. She banters with the reporters who keep pressing her to pose on the sofa for flattering photographs as she tells them about her life "on the stage" before she met her first husband. Moore plays the role with a delicate southern accent and her performance is perfect.

In the next scene, Steve and Judy search the attic for the ticket and realize where it must be. Steve turns down Judy's suggestion of digging up the body, so we get another scene of her in the bubble bath, this time telephoning the cemetery to arrange the exhumation all on her own. The scene then shifts to the Shady Rest Cemetery, where Judy, all in black, arranges the grisly task. Finally, Westcott makes his appearance, entering the cemetery office and volunteering to search the body, claiming to be a reporter doing a human interest story on the sweepstakes winner.

James Gregory as Westcott
James Gregory, as Westcott, adds an amusing touch when he comes back into the office after going over the corpse--he has to ask the cemetery clerk for a bottle and glass so he can down a quick drink before he is able to answer any questions. Back at the Archer homestead, Judy tells Stephen about finding the ticket and he resents her plan to manage the money wisely. Westcott then visits Judy and admits to her that he is an insurance investigator, not a detective as in the story. He suspected Steve of murdering Harry and now has an autopsy report to prove that Judy's second husband poisoned her first. With this simple change, script writer Dennis cleans up much of the muddle that occurs at the end of Woolrich's story. Gone is the skull fracture, gone is the delivery man, gone is the broken bottle fragment with enough poisoned liquor in it for a deadly drink.

Phoning the cemetery
Westcott suggests to Judy that her new found wealth puts her in danger from a husband who has already murdered for a much smaller sum and, though she argues that Steve loves her, the seed of doubt has been planted in her mind. The episode's climax finds her back in the bathtub, as Steve first gives a fake apology and then throws the electric heater into the tub! She screams, the doorbell rings, and Steve races downstairs, where Westcott and some policemen rush in and arrest him. Steve tells them that there was an accident and that Judy may be dead, but she marches down the stairs in a robe and sadly tells them that he tried to kill her. Fortunately, Westcott pulled the fuse before leaving the house, so even though the heater was plugged in it had no electric power and was thus harmless.

Best of all is the conclusion to the episode, completely new in Dennis's script. The cops take Steve out of the house and Westcott tells Judy that he will be electrocuted, the very fate she avoided. Suddenly, she runs outside and approaches Steve before he is put into the police car. She hugs him and observers think this strange, but we see that she has removed the winning ticket from his pocket. "Thank goodness I remembered!" she says. "I don't want to go through that again!"

Robert C. Dennis should get much of the credit for cleaning up Woolrich's somewhat tortuous story and turning it into a straightforward half hour of television. The rest of the credit goes to the three lead actors. Joanna Moore is especially good and carries the show. Steve Forrest is competent as Archer, and James Gregory is his usual, gravelly-voiced self as Westcott. The program is quite enjoyable and a real improvement over the source.

"Post Mortem" was directed by Arthur Hiller (1923- ), who directed 17 episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents in all. Among them were two comic tales that were less successful than "Post Mortem": "The Right Price" and "Not the Running Type." Robert C. Dennis (1915-1983), who wrote the teleplay for "Post Mortem," wrote thirty episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, including "The Right Kind of House" and "Dip in the Pool."

Starring as Judy Archer is Joanna Moore (1934-1997), who was in four episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and another two of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. Her outstanding comic timing and beauty add immeasurably to the success of "Post Mortem," as they do to "Most Likely to Succeed" and "Who Needs an Enemy?"

Archer tosses the heater into the tub
Steve Forrest (1925-2013) plays Steve Archer with a quiet strength; his chiseled features make him perfect for the role of a husband who turns out to be a murderer. Forrest was in the U.S. Army in WWII and fought at the Battle of the Bulge; after the war he embarked on a sixty-year career on stage, in movies, and on TV. He was on Alfred Hitchcock Presents twice, along with episodes of The Twilight Zone and Night Gallery. The twelfth of thirteen children, he was sixteen years younger than his brother, Dana Andrews, who starred in many classic films noir.

James Gregory (1911-2002) plays Westcott; his career stretched from the forties to the eighties and he played numerous cops on countless TV shows. He was on Alfred Hitchcock Presents three times, including Fredric Brown's "The Cream of the Jest" with Claude Rains, he turned up in a single episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, and he appeared on episodes of Thriller, The Twilight Zone, Star Trek, Night Gallery, and Kolchak: The Night Stalker. One of his most memorable roles was a recurring part as Deputy Inspector Lugar on the series Barney Miller from 1975 to 1982.

Roscoe Ates with Joanna Moore
Familiar faces in smaller roles include Roscoe Ates (1895-1962) as the cemetery clerk, who was in six episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. His long career began in vaudeville and included a role in Freaks (1932) and small parts in King Kong (1933), Gone With the Wind (1939), Sullivan's Travels (1941)and The Palm Beach Story (1942). Playing one of the reporters was David Fresco (1909-1997), who appeared in twelve episodes of the Hitchcock series, including "The Gloating Place," "Water's Edge," and "The Second Wife."

David Fresco is behind Joanna Moore
Woolrich's story had been adapted twice before, once on radio and once on TV, both times for Suspense. The radio version aired on April 4, 1946, and starred Agnes Moorehead; the script was by Robert Tallman. Like the Hitchcock version, this version begins with a scene involving the bathtub and the sun lamp, but then follows the story more closely, leaving out the business with the delivery man and the broken bottle. This time, Josie confesses to murder but it turns out to be a ploy to trap Stephen. Listen to this version online here.

The Suspense TV version is a primitive half hour of live television that aired on May 10, 1949, and stared Sidney Blackmer and Peggy Conklin. A tedious show to sit through, it makes significant changes to the story. This time, Archer is the doctor who signed Mead's death certificate, and he is suspicious from the start. The winning sweepstakes ticket isn't even mentioned until halfway through the show, and it turns out to be a fake story planted by the insurance investigator. The only plus to this show is that it is the only version in which we get to see Archer visit the grave, although when he inspects the body he finds no ticket! Frank Gabrielson wrote the script and Robert Stevens directed; this version may be viewed for free online here.

The Alfred Hitchcock Presents version of "Post Mortem" is available on DVD here; it is not currently available for online viewing.

Grams, Martin, and Patrik Wikstrom. The Alfred Hitchcock Presents Companion. Churchville,
MD: OTR Pub., 2001. Print.

IMDb., n.d. Web. 13 June 2015. <>.
Nevins, Francis M. Cornell Woolrich--first You Dream, Then You Die. New York: Mysterious, 1988. Print.
Nevins, Francis M., Jr. "Introduction." Rear Window: And Four Short Novels. New York: Ballantine, 1984. Vii-Xx. Print.
"Post Mortem | Suspense | Thriller | Old Time Radio Downloads." Post Mortem | Suspense | Thriller | Old Time Radio Downloads. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 June 2015. <>.
"Post Mortem." Alfred Hitchcock Presents. CBS. 18 May 1958. Television.
"Suspense (1949): "Post Mortem" (10 May 1949; Season 1, Episode 9)." YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 14 June 2015. <>.
Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 13 June 2015. <>.

Woolrich, Cornell. "Post-Mortem." 1940. Rear Window: And Four Short Novels. New York: Ballantine, 1984. 41-74. Print.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Do You Dare Enter? Part Fifty-Five: January 1975

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

Nick Cardy
Ghosts 34

"Wrath of the Ghost Apes"
Story by Leo Dorfman
Art by Alfredo Alcala

"The Phantom Fists of Calvados"
Story Uncredited
Art by E.R. Cruz

"The Yawning Mouth of Hell"
Story by Leo Dorfman
Art by Jerry Grandenetti

Jack: It's 1954, and Lt. Victor Arlen is a British soldier and ladies man who is transferred to Gibraltar, where his grandfather has served in the 19th century. Gramps had loved and betrayed a local lass and killed some of the local apes that live in caves nearby, leading to his having been haunted by the "Wrath of the Ghost Apes." When young Victor follows the same path, the apes attack and he kills them. To the surprise of no reader, he is then tortured by ghost apes himself and disappears. Is the wild-haired savage man later seen hiding in the caves Lt. Arlen himself, driven mad by the apes? NOW do you believe in ghosts?

Don't you hate when that happens?

Peter: Not one of Alfredo's best, I'm afraid, but that may be due to a lack of inspiration. I know it's silly to point out useless plot points but how is it possible that Captain Edgar Arlen got married and impregnated his wife in between the the few panels that he killed the apes and went bananas himself? Did he bed a fellow inmate? The best thing about "Wrath of the Ghost Apes" is its title, which evokes those great old shudder pulps from the 1930s.

Jack: In 1937, Alan Walters visits the Halls of Calvados, a castle in France. When a storm comes, they close and bar the doors and windows before "The Phantom Fists of Calvados" pound away, trying to get in. Alan learns that this ghostly occurrence dates back to a 13th century land grab, and the man who was betrayed has been trying to regain his property ever since. Fast forward to WWII, and Alan is a prisoner of Nazis who hole up in the Halls of Calvados. A storm comes up and the pounding begins, but this time Alan throws open the doors and lets the ghost in to ravage and kill. Fortunately, only Nazis are targeted, since the ghost "wants revenge against those who would steal, who would spill the blood of others in their greed to rule." Not sure how Alan guessed this, but he's lucky the ghost wasn't a bit more reckless in its destruction!

The ghost only goes after Nazis
Peter: I salute Uncredited for raiding "the pentagon's files" and presenting us with this true story (only the names have been changed to "prevent unwanted notoriety!"), a quite exciting one if I'm to be honest. The final act reminded me, of course, of the climax of Raiders of the Lost Ark. These crazy evil spirits always seem to know that the Nazis are some bad dudes.

Jack: In 1902 Martinique, Auguste Lipare dreams that the local volcano will erupt and cause widespread destruction. He tries to warn the villagers but no one listens and he is thrown in jail for his trouble. Of course, the volcano erupts, unleashing "The Yawning Mouth of Hell," and 40,000 people die, but not Auguste, who was protected by the jail's stone walls. Nary a ghost to be seen here, just a premonition.

Jerry G strikes again!
Peter: It would seem that there are varying degrees to Jerry Grandenetti's artwork. There's Mildly Awful. Pretty Awful. Particularly Awful. And, evidenced by "The Yawning Mouth of Boredom," Gawdawful. I'm still not clear why August Lipare was spared by all that flowing lava. Not even a hot foot while the rest of the jail was decimated. Was this that rare type of lava that doesn't flow down stairs? Yawn.

Luis Dominguez
The House of Secrets 127

"The Headsman of Hell"
Story by Marv Wolfman and Len Wein
Art by Abe Ocampo

"A Test of Innocence!"
Story by Mike Pellowski
Art by Mike Sekowsky and Bill Draut

"Death on Cue!"
Story by David Michelinie and Russell Carley
Art by Ruben Yandoc

Peter: In 18th-Century France, the guillotine and axe are a daily rite but Andre LeBlanc has had enough. One night, out with his friend, Jacques, Andre also has too much wine and mouths off in public about the beheadings. Later that night, the "committee of public safety" sends their henchmen round to Andre's to collect him to stand trial for treason. Andre manages to elude his would-be captors and hightails it to Jacques' house, only to find his friend has already ratted him out. A swift trial and then on to the blade. Swearing he'll see the face behind the headsman's cowl, Andres swipes at the mask, only to find the headsman is headless! I expect dopey material like this from Boltinoff or Wessler but not from writers who should know better. A complete waste of paper, "The Headsman of Hell" is punctuated with one of the silliest climaxes of all time. Should I remind Len and Marv that headless men can't laugh? "But, Peter..." I hear Jack sigh, "Headless men can't wield an axe, either!" As usual, my colleague has a point.

Jack: I thought the story moved along at a brisk pace and the art was nice, but I agree that the last panel makes no sense. I flipped back through the pages to see if there were any clues to how this could be, but there weren't. What most concerns me is how the hood was held up if there's no head inside.

Peter: Harry Sykes has happened into a good situation: he's murdered a friend who held a treasure map and headed off into the jungle, searching for millions in emeralds. When he finds a tribe worshipping a jewel-laden statue, Harry hatches an elaborate plot, involving "A Test of Innocence," that enables him to get away with the jewels. What he didn't count on was an Amazon full of piranha. The DC Universe seems to be filled with jungle tribes just waiting to be bilked out of their treasure by nasty American con men. I think I'd rather dip my head in the Amazon and take my chances rather than read another story illustrated by the team of Sekowsky and Draut.

Jack: Those are some speedy piranhas! They eat every morsel of flesh off of Harry's hand before he even feels a nibble. The test of innocence that supplies the story's title is a minor event in the course of this tale, which I think is better than average for what we're reading in DC horror comics circa January 1975.

Peter: Small-time pool hustler Eightball O'Brien has run into a bad bit of luck and can't seem to win a game to save his life. Threatened with broken legs if he tries to hustle again, Eightball falls into a fit of depression until he happens upon an old man with a magical pool cue that seems to make any shot possible. O'Brien liberates the old man of both his cue and his life and heads down the road to recovery. Soon, Eightball O'Brien is a name to contend with and the only hustler in town left to beat is "Slim" Scarfield. A match is set and Eightball arrives early to the pool hall, only to find the ghost of the old pool player, challenging Eightball to a game for the highest stakes. The specter wins and reduces Eightball to a miniature, placing him on the table that the match was to be held on. Warming up, "Slim" breaks and then notices an odd red splotch on the cue ball. "Death on Cue" is a hum-drum ghost story, enlivened by a genuinely sick final sequence of panels, one of the nastiest in recent DC history. We don't see the graphic "CLUNK" but we sure can imagine it! This Michelinie must have studied under the great Michael Fleisher.

Jack: Better than average, but not a four-star effort, either in story or in art. It's funny, when Ruben Yandoc's art graces a terrible story by Wessler or Kashdan, it's the best thing about the story, but when it comes to deciding whether a tale gets four stars in my notebook, I don't think Yandoc's work will ever earn that rating. The story is well-told and the ending is nice and yucky but, as you point out, it's basically a hum-drum ghost story.

Nick Cardy
The Witching Hour 50

"Those Eerie Eyes in the Grinning Skull"
Story by Carl Wessler
Art by Fred Carrillo

"Nightmare Village"
Story by George Kashdan
Art by Ruben Yandoc

"Let the Hangman Wait"
Story and Art Uncredited

Jack: Fresh out of prison, Roland Coe does what any self-respecting DC horror comic crook would do when trying to locate his old partner and the $50,000 they stole in a heist seven years before--he visits a boardwalk shop called Magda's Coven and steals a skull with one red eye and one green eye. Like a traffic light, "Those Eerie Eyes in the Grinning Skull" lead him on an accident-filled quest for the money, one which ends in a swamp, where he discovers that Magda followed him. Now pay attention: Magda grabs the $50,000 being held by the skeleton of Roland's dead partner, Roland sinks into the muck and dies, and an undercover cop dressed as a hippie arrests Magda. You have to read this stuff to believe it, and you have to read it at least twice to try to summarize it.

We have reached this point!

Peter: Any month that features both "Those Eerie Eyes..." and "A Coffin for Bonnie and Clyde" (see House of Mystery #228) proves one thing: Jack and I are working too cheaply. Awful script, inane climax, and butt-ugly art.

Jack: Chester Butts convinces the inhabitants of a certain village to let him build an amusement park called The Haunted Village on their land in order to take advantage of the local history of vampires. Soon, a visitor is killed by a real vampire, and it's up to Angus MacDevit, descendant of the local vampires, to take a wooden stake and end the new menace in this "Nightmare Village." He finds Butts resting in his coffin but Butts turns into a bat and flies away. Unfortunately, this bat appears to be nearsighted, because he flies smack dab into a very pointy tree branch and ends up with a makeshift stake through his batty little heart. Just then, underground gas tanks explode and a fiery conflagration destroys the amusement park. This story topped the prior one in this issue for two reasons: Yandoc's usual decent art and the utter hilarity of a vampire bat flying into a pointy tree branch.

See, we didn't make it up!

"Let the
Hangman Wait"
Peter: Could this be the world's dumbest vampire? Spends a fortune building a Haunted Village amusement park (and does a lousy job based on the explosion that rocks the final panels) to camouflage his vampirism and then impales himself on a tree limb. In need of spectacles, perhaps? This is fast becoming a landmark issue of The Witching Hour.

Jack: Roy Mackey decides to "Let the Hangman Wait" and escapes from prison before he can be executed for murder. He hides out in the cabin of a witch who tells him that, for 50 pounds, she can send him back in time so he can avoid the killing. He does so and she brings him back to the present, where he is no longer a murderer. That doesn't last long, as she demands payment and he kills her. Her son arrives right then and he is arrested and right back where he started. Well, at least this one is only four pages long.

Peter: A witch who has "vast powers" and can manipulate time and yet needs to pimp out her talents for 50 quid? Smells fishy to me.

Luis Dominguez
Weird Mystery Tales 15

"Doom on Vampire Mountain"
Story by Michael Fleisher and Russ Carley
Art by Jess Jodloman

"Drive-In Death"
Story by Paul Levitz
Art by Frank Redondo

"Blood Moon"
Story by David Michelinie
Art by Ruben Yandoc

Peter: Caroline and Herman have come to the small village of Gazebo Junction to claim Caroline's inheritance of her Uncle Phil's estate. Arriving in town, they are immediately told by the sheriff that Uncle Phil's house is no longer safe as a bevy of vampires is nesting in its rotting corridors and it would be certain "Doom on Vampire Mountain" should they ignore his cautions. Caroline is understandably skeptical and she harangues Herman into driving up the mountain anyway, since it was long rumored that Uncle Phil buried a treasure in the stairway of the mansion. The driveway ends at the bottom of the mountain, so the couple must camp out in the woods overnight and hike up in the morning. After Caroline falls asleep, Herman becomes convinced he can hear noises in the woods and explores, witnessing several vampire bats taking wing, heading straight for Caroline. Though his wife has cuckolded him for years, Herman is still in love with her so he distracts the bats before they can discover Caroline. The vampires rip the man to shreds and head back up the hill, sated. The next morning, Caroline wakes and, finding Herman gone and thinking the man had lost his spine, heads up the hills and digs out the treasure. Heading back down the cliff, and blissfully ignorant of Herman's shredded corpse, Caroline muses that, as soon as she gets home, she's dumping her husband since he's never done a thing for her in their entire relationship.

"Doom on Vampire Mountain"

Here's where Michael Fleisher shows us how good a writer he is. Fleisher takes a cliched plot and a cliched character (the shrewish wife) and works them both into an engaging story and effective climax (not so much shocking or twisted as dripping with irony). The vampires are almost an afterthought here; we get nothing of their backstory or why they're terrorizing this village in particular (and that's a stunning splash, by the way), only bits of information provided to move the story along. Never mind those vampire questions, the most obvious head scratcher, to me, was that this gorgeous, buxom blonde (albeit a ball-crushing babe) was married to schlemiel Herman. Usually, there's a reason for that, be it family fortune or... well, that's the only reason, isn't it? Here. the opposite is true; it's Caroline who's about to be the zillionaire and Herman will remain a dork. Some readers might have been disappointed by the rather abrupt climax (where the greedy party escapes scott-free while the good soul is trampled) but I appreciated its nastiness.

The ironic climax of "Doom..."

Jack: I thought that the highlight of this story would be the way Jess Jodloman lovingly depicts how well Caroline fills out her tube top and bellbottoms, but then I got to the ending and was impressed by its subtlety. Having read countless DC horror stories for this series of posts, I was expecting Herman to return as a vampire and menace Caroline in the last panel. But no! Something much more understated and well done. The vampire bat attacks on humans are also rather brutal.

Peter: Chemist Henry Cooper only wants to live the good, simple life but wife Sarah is hounding her husband to hire a chef. She's tired of cooking and now that Henry has been promoted to Chief Chemist, it's about time they took the plunge. Henry insists they can't afford a chef and so Sarah effectively goes on strike, refusing to cook. Henry seems okay with the prospect of eating out every night until the shrew he's shackled to insists they eat nowhere but Happy Harry's Hamburger Heaven, a fast food dump with very familiar golden arches. After an extended period of time, Henry decides he's had enough and Sarah has to go so he kills her with a slow-acting poison that leaves no trace and buries her huge corpse in the woods. Dining in French restaurants follows but, very soon after, Henry experiences the same symptoms Sarah exhibited after her poisoning and becomes convinced his wife somehow guessed what was going on and set into motion her revenge before she died. Henry visits his doctor and confesses to his heinous act but the doc insists his patient must confess his sin to the police before he's cured. In the end, Henry is off to jail and the doctor confides in police that Henry has nothing more than a bad cold.

"Drive-In Death"

"Drive-In Death" is a badly-illustrated hunk of junk. I might be a little more tolerant of its inane plot and silly wrap-up if it wasn't for the amateurish scribbling that's meant to show us what's going on. Obviously meant to be a cautionary tale of the perils of fast food decades before Super Size Me, told by yet another young writer convinced he could save the world (hence the witch above the golden arches). A couple of silly questions: Are we to infer from Harry's suspicion that he told his wife about the poison? Why else would he suspect she had poisoned him? And, if you murdered your wife, would you confess it to your physician? There's no need to. All Herman would have to do is tell the doc he thinks he's been poisoned. Did I mention the lousy art?

"Drive-In Death"

Jack: Henry sums it all up with this remark: "it's a wife's duty to feed her husband properly." I think we can give Paul Levitz a break here, since this may be his first published story. He was probably all of 18 years old when he wrote it. Gerry Conway's work at that age wasn't much to write home about, either.

Peter: Oil man Harper Grey can only watch helplessly as a werewolf maims and kills the men of his team in the Florida marshlands. Harper is convinced that local activist, John Littletrees, is responsible and guns the man down. Turns out lycanthropy runs in the family as Mrs. Littletrees and the little ones all sprout fangs and tear the oil man limb from limb. "Blood Moon" has a very amusing twist (Harper is stuck in a cabin, with mama werewolf outside and little wolves at his heels) and gorgeous artwork but it suffers a tad from "mean SOB employer" syndrome. These heartless oilmen/architects/ railroad guys are getting to be a dime-a-dozen. I should at least thank David Michelinie there's no shrewish wife on display (yet another cliche overworked this month).

"Blood Moon"

Jack: Ruben Yandoc's artwork never quite rises to the level of gorgeous for me. I thought this story was over at the end of page four when the wife turns out to be a werewolf, but it dragged on for two more interminable pages before ending with a thud. Initially, I thought Harper had killed an innocent man when he shot the husband, but if the wife and kids are all werewolves then it stands to reason that the husband was, too, and Harper made the right call in putting a silver bullet through his heart.

Frank Robbins & Luis Dominguez
The House of Mystery 228

"The Wisdom of Many, the Wit of One"
Story by Doug Moench and Frank Robbins
Art by Frank Robbins

"Stamps of Doom"
Story Uncredited
Art by Ruben Moreira
(reprinted from House of Mystery #23, February 1954)

"The Rebel"
Story by Michael Pellowski and Maxene Fabe
Art by Alan Kupperberg and Neal Adams

"The Wizard's Revenge"
Story Uncredited
Art by Bill Ely
(reprinted form House of Secrets #41, February 1961)

"The Man Who Murdered Himself!"
(reprinted from House of Mystery #179, April 1969)

"A Coffin for Bonnie and Clyde!"
Story by Robert Kanigher
Art by Jack Sparling

"The Dragon of Times Square"
Story Uncredited
Art by Bob Brown
(reprinted from House of Mystery #74, May 1958)

"Seven Steps to the Unknown"
Story Uncredited
Art by Bill Ely
(reprinted from Tales of the Unexpected #4, August 1956)

"Wheel of Fate!"
Story Uncredited
Art by Carmine Infantino and Frank Giacoia
(reprinted from Sensation Comics #108, April 1952)

"The Fireworks Man!"
Story by Russell Carley and Michael Fleisher
Art by Gerry Talaoc

Peter: Scott Caswell just wants to protect his gorgeous wife, Martha, from the vampire who's been terrorizing the city. Little does Scott know that Martha's already fallen under the bloodsucker's spell and the two of them plan to off the caring husband. Carswell buys the necessary tools to rid the world of evil but, upon arriving home one night, he must reluctantly use them on his dear Martha when she attacks him, fangs bared. Once he's put his wife down, he heads for the vampire's tomb and dispatches the monster. "The Wisdom of Many, the Wit of One" (a really stupid title, by the way) provides yet another classic example of the DC mystery pointless plot device, when the vampire admits that taking Carswell's wife is a means to get to the man's money. What does a vampire need with money? Can't he get just about anything he desires with his teeth? I'm not sure if it was Doug Moench or co-writer Frank Robbins who came up with the bright idea of peppering the captions with proverbs ("Recklessness needs no restraints"-Scotch proverb) but my money's on the Moenchster, who liberally doused most of his Marvel work with such pretensions. I've got one for Doug: "The House of Mystery is like a box of chocolates..." - Peter Enfantino

"One man's trash is another man's..."
Well, how could this be anyone's treasure?

Jack: For some reason, Martha is dressed for an evening of B & D. The captions with proverbs are intrusive and the story is dreadful, matched by the art. Why do Scott and Martha live in a "pop-art pad"? Who was using the term "pop-art" in 1975? Frank Robbins, that's who.

Peter: In an apocalyptic future, David Armstrong is "The Rebel" and the bad guys are going to catch him this time. When they do, they transform him into one of them. "The Rebel," despite having some nice Kupperberg/Adams art, is really nothing more than an idea rather than a story. That final panel, of a David who's been freshly operated on, is pretty potent but why not take a few more pages (say, five or six from that opening nonsense?) and give us some back story?

He's a "Rebel"

Jack: Even though the story is slight and predictable, being a takeoff on Twilight Zone's "Eye of the Beholder," it's such a pleasure to see any work by Neal Adams that I'll take it.

Peter: Undertaker Caleb Thorne hires the notorious Bonnie and Clyde to stand guard over his newest invention, an indestructible coffin. Unfortunately for Caleb, the machine gun-toting couple decide that this should be "A Coffin for Bonnie and Clyde!" and they always get their way. Here it is, only January, and I'm convinced the Worst Story of the Year contest is already wrapped up. This train wreck smells like a shelved story to me since we haven't seen much of Kanigher nor Sparling in these parts for quite a while and Bonnie and Clyde are strictly Faye and Warren. I'm at a loss as to how anyone in the DC mystery offices, let alone legendary editor Joe Orlando, would okay cutting a check for this disaster.

Bottom of the barrel

Jack: A bad story with ugly Sparling art, this looks like one pulled from the files. Why would Thorne need to summon Bonnnie and Clyde to test whether his coffin is bulletproof, and why would he lie in it while they riddle it with bullets in case it was NOT bulletproof?

Peter: Timothy has come up with an amazing formula for designer fireworks that can splash any image across the sky. Partner Carl sees dollar signs and doesn't want to share the wealth with Timothy so he scotches the brakes on the company bus, killing Timothy and several employees. The ghosts of the dead rise and take their revenge on Carl when they strap him to one of the rockets and decorate the sky with the murderer. I love how, after the crash, the ghosts have a discussion about what went wrong with the bus and one of the spirits pipes up, "someone drilled holes in the brake cylinders..." Here I thought that, once you died and became a ghost, you knew everything. "The Fireworks Man" is a decent distraction (with nice Talaoc art) but it plays fast and loose with the ghost mythology. These specters can drive cars and strap folks to rockets!

When ghosts gab

Jack: Fleisher and Carley were churning them out at this point, and this is not one of their best. I found the ending predictable which, in a good Fleisher story, is not the case.

Peter: Another dry month for reprints. "Stamps of Doom" is a real hoot, an inane quasi-supernatural tale where the menace is explained away with a very natural (but highly unlikely) explanation. Ditto "The Wizard's Revenge," wherein a writer who specializes in uncovering hoaxes travels to a town named after a wizard to get to the bottom of a living statue. The scribe gets a  shock or two he can't explain until the obligatory climax where we discover the whole town participated in the hoax in order to revive their dwindling tourism trade. But, for me, the winner is clearly the charming "Dragon of Times Square," Bob Brown's tale of a knight and a dragon who become the victim of some time travel shenanigans and wind up in present-day New York. Brown, whose sharp work on the mid-1970s Daredevil is being discussed over at Marvel University, pulls you into the story with his wonderful use of inks (a la Alex Toth) and dynamic action sequences.

Jack: It's a good thing the 100-pagers are almost over, because they are running out of reprints that are anywhere near readable!

Nick Cardy
DC Limited Collectors Edition C-32

A treasury-sized collection of stories reprinted from the first six issues of Ghosts. Three groups of stories are original to this volume.

"A Specter Poured the Potion"
(from #6)

"Death's Bridegroom!"
(from #1)

New group one:

Stories by Leo Dorfman
Art by Gerry Talaoc

"The Horrors of Witchcraft"

Jack: When the residents of Scrapfaggot Green in England topple the tombstone of Morla the Witch to make room for tanks to get through for the D-Day invasion of France, a whirlwind and fire sweep through the town until they replace the tombstone and all is well.

"The Horrors of Witchcraft"
"The Child-Witch of Skibeen"

Jack: A sweet-faced little girl uses her magic doll to see to it that anyone in her Irish village who denies her meets a speedy demise. Finally, the villagers use her doll to end her reign of terror.

"The Witch Who Would Not Die"

Jack: A witch protects African natives against government soldiers until the soldiers grab her, toss her in a sack, throw her in the water and riddle her with bullets. Yet her spirit appears to live on.

These three stories take up a total of four pages and all deal with witches who ravage villages. The tales are brief but Talaoc's art is rather splendid.

Peter: Yep, the art is great but why bother? These are mostly just random stream of consciousness-type contributions rather than stories. Why not run these as they were meant to be "enjoyed": as one-page fillers?

"The Dark Goddess of Doom"
"The Witch Who Would Not Die"
(from #3)

"Death, the Pale Horseman!"
(from #5)

"The Spectral Coachman!"
(from #1)

"The Crimson Claw!"
(from #4)

New group two:

Stories by Leo Dorfman
Art by E.R. Cruz

"Famous and Infamous Ghosts"

Jack: The ghost of General Dalziel, a cavalier in the English Civil War, still haunts his old home of Binns Manor.

"Screams of the Ghost Queen"

Jack: The ghost of Henry VIII's fifth wife, Katherine Howard, still haunts Hampton Court Palace, running from the guards who drag her to her beheading.

"The Bloody Boots of Houndswood"

Jack: A man tries to spend the night in a haunted bedroom but runs in terror when ghostly boots appear from nowhere and leave bloody footprints.

"Screams of the Ghost Queen"
"The White Ghost of the Hohenzollerns"

Jack: Whenever the White Lady makes a ghostly appearance, a member of the Hohenzollern family is sure to die in a short time. She also pops up in advance of WWI and Hitler's rise to power.

These four stories occupy a total of five pages and each sketches the comings and goings of a ghost tied to historical events. Like the short pieces with art by Talaoc earlier in this volume, the stories are not much to read but Cruz turns in pretty pictures.

Peter: (Comments continued from Group One) The best thing about these disposable wastes of space is the titles. I get the feeling Murray Boltinoff came up with some lurid title ("The Horrid Haunted Underpants of Wisdom Gulch") by throwing together random adjectives and nouns and then assigned poor Leo to write "stories" around the titles. Murray Boltiinoff: The Roger Corman of Funny Books (now in paperback from Random House).

"The Fanged Spectres of Kinshoro"
(from #4)

"Death Awaits Me"
(from #6)

New group three:

Stories by Leo Dorfman
Art by Frank Redondo

"The Diabolic Cult of Voodoo"
"The Diabolic Cult of Voodoo"

Jack: In 19th century New Orleans, voodoo master Dr. John is able to summon the evil Baron Samedi to do his bidding.

"The Priestess of the Damned!"

Jack: Voodoo priestess Marie Laveau has the ability to preserve or take life in 19th century New Orleans.

"To Raise the Dead"
"To Raise the Dead"

Jack: Mexican soldiers in 1968 discover a boatful of Haitian zombies and think they'll make great soldiers.

Three one-pagers with slick art by Nestor Redondo's brother Frank.

Peter: Jack, would you say the victims of Dr. John were in the right place but it must have been the wrong time?

"Ghost Cargo From the Sky"
(from #6)

"Death is My Mother"
(from #3)

What a dog!

Make sure to keep June 29th in your sights!
That's when the 56th issue of Star Spangled goes on sale!