I think it clear to most readers of our site that I adore horror comics, and I honestly have over 6 full-sized boxes of comics, I mainly focus on the those of yesteryear the special ones from the bygone era, when the stories were more about the storytelling than mere gore, bloodshed, and nudity factors. I had gotten away from reviewing these but with fans and friends encouraged the return to them, primary for two reasons. First, there’s only a few still reviewing comics in general of them, though most overlook these forgotten treasures and secondly, many are curious of what lays in my Collector’s Vault of Horror treasures.
The actual series started back in 1973 selling the mere price of .25 cents under the Marvel Comics Group, headed then by editor-in-chief Stan Lee, it was a in color issue containing four stories averaging 5-pages in length. They fit nicely into the category careful what one desires, a similar mode of that of Tales from the Crypt, although they didn’t need to follow the Comics Code Authority which was more of suggestion than rule of law however, back then it made shops generally happier to see the marking on their shelves than not. In January 2019, celebrating Marvel’s 80th Anniversary the publisher went back into the archive and pulled out a few old titles such as Crypt of Shadows and created two tales of horror, showing once again horror never dies.
The cover pencils were done by Gil Kane, inks by Klaus Janson. The stories contained are all reprints from Tales from Suspense that range from 1952 to 1960, and I shall give only the briefest of summaries as not to ruin the storyline or fun of the quick pleasure these tales generated. The first tale is My Coffin Is Crowded (from Suspense #16- spring 1952) about a convict makes a deal with a man, who knows the truth about a secret he keeps will sneak him out of prison in exchange for half of the stolen loot, just needs to take a journey with the dead. The panels all look half-way decent only a briefest of burring.
Next up is I Know the Power of…the Genie! (from Tales of Suspense #7), with artwork by Don Heck, all for a fantasy-supernatural tale that likely have frowning by parents group of today, namely administrating a spanking to a little girl for her disrespecting behavior. A little girl summons a genie to punish adults after she’s punished and it leads to her discovering what life is like without others, in a strange way it is having the reverse thought-process of the movie Big (1988) with Tom Hanks.
The following tale again reveals the truth by exposing corrupt morals in the story entitled The Swami’s Secret, a true horror suspense which involved a swindling Swami who decides to confess to the police for years of crime, all in cleansing of his soul because he believes aliens are coming to destroy the world.
Lastly, is the tale of The Man Who Sold His Soul! (from Suspense #25), in which a man wants to be a prize fighter in the ring, however when he deals with a witch, she twists the meaning of one word ‘ring’ leaving him ponder his fate, it like the tales include has one reflect on the improper moral choices.
All in all it is quick reading, each panel nicely done, easily conveying the story, which seems like a cross between Tales from the crypt meeting Twilight Zone. If one can find any of the issues to collect them, they’re fairly reasonable priced and there’s 21 of this series, it truly makes no difference where you start as the stories are all independent of each other, I just randomly choose this issue to review.
With the world comic books lurking and in jeopardy partially due to the latest pandemic hitting and few publishers, it is always fun to return the classics of long ago to wonder if these tales shall grace the screen once more or are they best to leaving on a haunting yellowing page waiting for the unknown curious individual to open them up to a wondrous joys of horror.