Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"The Demon From Beyond" & "The Mummies"

It's time to pull out two more sticky tales from the drying corpse of Witches' Tales Vol. 2 No. 1, February 1970; and today the dark lords have turned their slathering grins upon us. We have found glory in their favor, for today we begin with a Dick Ayers story called "The Demon From Beyond." Of all the Eerie Pubs artists, Mr. Ayers is far and away the best known. His comic book work for other publishers, primarily Marvel, is extensive and impressive (my favorite portion of his portfolio is the work he did in the late 1960s on Sgt. Fury). He remains a solid favorite among Eerie Pubs aficionados and is officially the past-master of the popped optic. Download THIS POST!

"The Mummies" comes from the dripping brush of Argentinean, Oscar Stepancich; who certainly knew what to do with his blacks. As Mike Howlett observes in his recently released, The Weird World of Eerie Publications: "His (Stepancich) inking skills were second to none in the Eerie Pubs bullpen. His blacks were bold, his lines were confident and his feathering was very smooth." All these strength are evident in "Mummies", starting with the simple, highly effective splash panel.

OK, you don't have to go home, but you can't stay here. If you are in no shape to drive, do not call a "designated driver" like some pussy. I want you to crawl home. That's right, crawl, you dog! Crawl on your hands and knees! Crawl like the miserable, misbegotten cur you are! Now . . . Howl! See the fog in the moonlight, rising from the earth like the wet breath of graves? Can you feel the damp upon your bare skin? From all fours, howl into the night and hear your animal voice echoing over the lonely hills. Do you hear? Oh, my, that pricked your ears, didn't it? That other howling. That's the sound of your brothers and sisters answering you. They grow in number until the crescendo of your howlings all but shatter the sky like a plate of thin, frosty crystal. Go. Go to them, all you young, happy things!

Next, after you're all sated, there will be time for more tales. Then, we will join here again and enjoy "The Devil's Fiddle" and "Horror Harbor."

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Witch's Claws" & "Weird Vengeance"

It's time to gut the entrails from yet another Eerie publication, and in this case the victim is Witches' Tales Vol. 2 No. 1, February 1970. But before the slimy insides spill out in a glistening heap, lets give some gander to this cover:

Ah, from mighty oaks little acorns grow, and judging from the green-eyed gardener's careful pruning of his monster plant on this cover; we can expect some mighty oaks indeed! I'm no expert, but I would judge the one pointy-eared, turquoise bulb on the lowest-left limb (with accompanying hardware dangling from the neck orifice) just about ready for harvesting. Download THIS POST!

The Witch's Claw features the artwork of the enigmatic Antonio Reynoso, about whom virtually nothing is known. Table of Contents offers this insight: "A sharp-clawed, faithful cat traps Grace and Walter Brooks in a nightmare of horror. A real "witcheroo" of a yarn. Ye-ech!" I suppose it's a deep character flaw within, but I always hope scheming couples like the Brooks, a pair simply lounging around for an inheritance, the best of luck. I just hope none of my rich, elderly relatives read this or, consequently, I better not become rich and decrepit myself.

Last on the hit parade today is the work of the glorious Larry Woromay, who always seemed to enjoy his work for Eerie Pub. a great deal. As for splattery gore, only the legendary Dick Ayers was in his league.

We've made a fine start, yet we must thrust our arm in up to the elbow for the real, slippery gems. Next: "The Mummies" and "The Demon From Beyond"

Friday, January 7, 2011

"Broom For A Witch" & "Bedeviled Puppet"

This issue of Terror Tales (Vol. 2 No. 6, November 1970) is all but done. Let's finish things. Let us pad barefoot up to the bedside of this slumbering issue of Terror Tales and press a pillow over the mouth and nose. The blood rushes hotly to our face as we lean into our work with full weight; and it feels as though a terrified animal were thrashing beneath our hands, beneath the pillow, compressed now and thin - so thin we can feel the nose, the chin, the eye-sockets beneath the crushed stuffing. The muffled screaming is how the deaf must hear terror - a sound without air - a tremor we can feel against our palms. Finally, the last spasms of life are surrendered into the still, dark air of the room. Near the bed, a curtain makes a moonlit ripple at an open window. The clock ticks on the wall like a fingernail tapping glass. The air of the room is ice upon our skin as sweat runs along our cheek, down our neck. Somewhere, far away in the night - a dog gives up a high, shrill yip; sounding youthful and human in its . . . pain? Sorrow? Crickets 'neath the window trill. There now. Be still. Rest, issue of Terror Tales, go into that lightless region where all is forgotten thus never forgiven. But Wait! The death shudder has produced two last tales!

About this first tale, "Broom For A Witch", the gentle wordsmiths at Eerie Pub. offer this introduction at the Table of Contents: "A shocking, evil story of a broom-riding witch who terrified an innocent couple."
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Are we not all puppets, inert and lifeless in our energies - in our daily routines, until some blessing or curse fills us with either darkness or light? Why? Why are the wicked so strong? Why is the light so easily covered with the velvet, still darkness? Oh, dear reader, not only is our flesh weak, but our souls can by swept away like dead leaves by any tempting, sweet wind. Fire! Fire will cleanse our souls be the vessel of flesh or wood (as this next story will demonstrate)!

The deed is done, and the measured moments pass, returning a normalcy. Finally, our breathing becomes even, and our heart no longer pulses against the wall of our ribs like some hammer of muscle. We remove the pillow slowly, and the expression beneath is dreamlike - perhaps surprised, with the eyes large and mouth open slightly. But there is no trace of pain or the fear as expected. There is no sign of the committed sin upon the features, only a slack and graceful peace. But, dear friend, when we walk on stiff legs from the room, we pass a mirror on the wall. We see our white, moist face - like a luminous piece of chalk - reflected there in the passing. And the eyes. The eyes shimmer in black sin; and they watch us.