Journey into Mystery (Issue #2)

jim1

jim2

Journey into Mystery, Issue #2
Marvel Comics | December 1972

Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper!

Based on a short story by Robert Bloch (Psycho), Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper! introduces Sir Guy Hollis, an inspector from Scotland Yard assisting in the investigation of a string of violent murders in New York’s Greenwich Village. Hollis advances a novel theory, attempting to convince psychiatrist, John Carmody, that the original Jack the Ripper is still alive and responsible for the current murders. According to Hollis, the Ripper was no mere criminal, but rather a High Priest of Black Magic who discovered the key to immortal life through ritualized human sacrifices.

Not outright dismissing the inspector’s theory, Carmody takes him to a party in Greenwich Village to get a feel for the neighborhood and its residents. They overhear a local junkie, Dick Poole, expounding on the new Ripper murders with a theory that strikingly parallels that of Inspector Hollis. When confronted, Poole panics and flees, with Hollis and Carmody in pursuit, thinking they may have their suspect at hand.

Perhaps diminished in the contemporary context, with present-day Jack the Ripper stories seemingly in no short supply, Yours Truly could have distinguished itself with more panels revealing the dark magic behind the crimes, and the evidence that directed Hollis to his theory. Still, the brief glimpse of early-seventies Greenwich Village and the hint of the occult beneath the pop culture of the times are just enough to pull the story through to its expected final twist.

jim3

“More than Blood!”

Players from the sports teams at Westfield Heights are suffering from a bizarre affliction. During games, their eyes go blank and they slump to the ground, stricken from a mysterious paralysis that doctors are unable to explain. The teams fall to resounding losses, and the athletes never recover.

Paul, star athlete of the basketball team, struggles to discover the source of the baffling illnesses, and understand why he has been, so far, passed over as a potential victim. Linda, his girlfriend, seems strangely reluctant to accept his notion of a supernatural cause, bringing Paul tantalizingly close to a breakthrough notion.

…but perhaps, after all, she was right. There was more to life than just basketball…!”

jim4

The Girl Who Couldn’t Die

Dr. Lee Fuller, turn-of-the-century scientific researcher dedicated to uncovering the secrets to an immortal life, suffers a staggering personal tragedy when his fiancée dies on their wedding night.

Why not use the fresh corpse of his beloved to advance his research?

Advertisements

Vault of Evil, Issue #10

voe10_1

Vault of Evil, Issue #10
Marvel Comics | April 1974

voe10_2

Death of a Puppet
The on-stage murders in a puppet master’s performance are mirrored in real-life crimes, expounding a “we are all puppets to our masters” theme—and leading to the suspicion that a considerable number of unsolved crimes could be ultimately traced to ventriloquist dummies.

voe10_3

Let’s Face It
An aging actor resorts to unconventional means to restore his youthful good looks and resume his stalled career. Marginally interesting for unexpectedly having a male actor search for rejuvenation, but the ending fails to deliver the intended rebuke, instead only mustering a slight—and somewhat ridiculous—setback.

voe10_4

The Pitchman!
A huckster finds an endlessly gullible mark, with a final twist involving the hoary old trope of selling the Brooklyn Bridge.

voe10_5

They Wait in the Caves!
After double-crossing his partner for a shipload of valuable pearls, a sailor later encounters the man—who he believed to be dead—and listens to his incredible tale of discovering an island full of unbelievable riches. Wait a minute [grabs a handful of pearls]—is there a lesson to be learned here about greed?

voe10_6

Bertha Gets Buried
An unhappy man lashes out at his wife for her sloppy housework, and later burns with a jealous rage at the suspicion that she is cheating on him. Like a tell-tale heart, the dirty cellar calls out for housekeeping.

Chamber of Chills #3

chamberofchills

Chamber of Chills, Issue #3
Marvel Comics | March 1973

An anthology of horrors from Marvel Comic’s early-seventies series:

thingontheroof

The Thing on the Roof
A treasure-seeking adventurer returns from plundering an ancient temple in Central America with an unexpected pursuer on his trail. Advanced civilizations, even ones from prehistory, should know better than hiding their abominations behind the attractive nuisance of a fantastic temple—of course some native-abusing jackass will come along and drop that shiny jewel into place in the matching recessed slot in the treasure room’s stone door, revealing the secret chamber within.

shapesoffear

All the Shapes of Fear
A man’s nightmare of a giant grasping hand proves to be prophetic, leading to a circular loop of cause-and-effect for a tragic accident. A driver’s education simulation comes to life, as a child’s ball rolls into the street.

noshadow

The Girl Who Cast No Shadow
Another tale stemming from an archeologist’s hubris, and the resulting evil released from a violated temple. Even the curators at the British Museum knew enough to wall up the demonic statue in a basement room (how did they explain that decision to museum administrators?). The lack of a shadow seems to be a strange lure for a successful succubus—imagine all the leering men and their catcalls of “Hey baby, I got your shadow right here!” Hanging around a dive bar at closing time would pull in more unwitting victims, even with the burden of a shadow.