Friday, April 18, 2008
Weekly Dose Of Weird!
The Vault Of Horror #2 (Russ Cochran 1993, reprinting VOH #13) -- How did they not see her when they were walking in? I mean, it's not that big of a tomb, is it?
I. "The Dead Will Return!" -- A woman and her lover kill her husband and dump the body at sea, so it will wash ashore and his death be thought accidental. While they search his lighthouse for the man's stashed loot, his body washes ashore right below them. The dump the rotting corpse again, and again it returns. As her lover drives the corpse far away, the wife continues to look for the cash, until she is cornered in the top of the lighthouse by some unseen spook. Her lover returns, discovers her, and then shares her fate. The police come by the next morning, find the two dead lovers, and a almost unrecognizable corpse on the shore. The Vaultkeeper informs us that the man's money was on his person the whole time, and now waterlogged and useless.
II. "The Curse of Harkley Heath" -- Three cousins are the last heirs of the Harkley estate (namely by killing their uncle with morphene), which has been cursed for generations. When the dominant one plans to kill off his two cousins to collect it all, things seem to be going well: he poisons his pretty cousin with morphene, and then threatens the wormy one. Well turns out that his cousin has a tolerance to morphene, and she ends up shooting him, which causes the wormy guy to accidentally start a fire and burn them all to death.
III. "The Diamond of Death!" -- Text story. A gem collector and exotic plant enthusiast dies, and his manservant finds a giant diamond, which supposedly curses whomever posseses it. Next thing you knw the guy is doing his best Little Shop of Horrors impression as he becomes plantfood.
IV. "Doctor of Horror" -- A 19th century surgery professor needs to provide bodies for his students, and thus gets into the graverobbing business. Spinning this acumen into success, he becomes the Chair of the Surgery department by murdering his rival and letting his students dissect him. Now aiming for the Deanship, the doctor hires hoodlums to murder riffraff and deliver the bodies to him, so he can impress the current Dean. Not one to trust his hirelings, he goes to check on their progress, and ends up laid out on the slab in his own classroom.
V. "Island of Death" -- A plane crash strands two men on a tropical island. Getting seperated, one man finds a giant castle, home to a mysterious Count, a big game hunter. Now interested in hunting the most dangerous game, the Count sends his guest into the jungle. The castaway is not helpless, though, as he manages to garrote the Count's manservant with a tripwire, and kill his hunting dogs in a pit trap. But before the Count can finish him off, the man's copilot finds him and plugs the Count in the back.
Yeah, I WISH I could afford the original one. This reprint is every bit as weird as the original, though, since it's a complete reprint, from the Johnny Craig cover right down the line (albeit with different letters to the Vaultkeeper, but the same letterhead -- which I intend to scan for Rick at some point). EC set the standard for weird comics with their line of "new look" horror mags from the 50s, and this early example is a fine one. Each artist brings a different quality to the table, from Harrison's gothic ghost story in "Curse" to Graham Ingels harsh lines on "Doctor." The tales themselves are just creepy and spooky, with the exception of the last one, although it has some gruesome elements which make up for it. Even the text piece is not bad, for this type. Either hunt down the reprints, or check out the handsome hardcovers, but if you like horror comics at all you MUST read EC.