Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Saturday, September 24, 2016


Mysterious Adventures was a pre-Code horror comic from small publisher Story Comics. Inc.  A number of the titles published by Story were known for their excessive gore, compared to which this issue seems tame.  There is a nihilistic bent to this one, however, and Death seems to always have the winning hand.

"Soldier of the Dead" tells of a Yankee soldier who fell in love with Southern lass, only to be killed by her enraged father, the master of the Coldwell estate.  As his spirit leaves the soldier's body, it curses all Coldwell, vowing to "drink the blood of your daughters ever more."  (The ghost of a murdered man becomes a vampire and leads a pack of werewolves; remind me not to kill any Yankee soldiers.)  Now, in modern times, an actress, her sister, and a cousin -- all descendants from the original estate -- are attacked -- are each attacked by a shrouded figure or by a giant bat.  It's time to call in Channing Wells, a psychic investigator.  (And, thanks to artist Walter Johnson, all three of the Good Girls are so pneumatically enhance that it is to comprehend any of them being able to stand up straight.  Yeah, I notice those things.  So what?)

"A Portrait of Death" is a simple story of an artist who unconsciously creates a painting that tells of his murder by his friend and of the friend's being sentenced to death for the murder.  Things do not end well for anyone.

"Revenge of the Voodoo Dead" is a two-page text story (which also grabbed the cover of this issue) about Paul Gillotte, who kills rivals (and potential rivals) for the love of Louise de Lille.  The dead men get their revenge on Paul and  -- for some inexplicable reason -- on Louise.  The things we do for love...and hate.

What can be said about "The Horrible Fangs of Professor Prome" that doesn't include an Arctic expedition, an Eskimo Death-God, a frozen dragon that can eat through steel, and a whole buncha dead bodies?  Nothing, except to note that the letterer mispelled the main character's name and the word "arctic."

In "Curse of the D'Medici," David Carvan picks up a costume of Lorezo D'Medeci from a mysterious old man at ye olde dusty costume shoppe.  Included in the costume is the actual dgger that Lorenzo used to kill hundreds of men.  The dagger has a mind of its own and it has been programmed to kill.  David manages to (barely) control the blood lust that has come over him.  To be safe he checks the dagger with the coat room attendant at the ball he's attending.  Alas, the coat room attendent is no made the same stern stuff that David is and things...get sticky.  Literally.

While not pre-Code horror at its best or most outlandish, Mysterious Adventures does give you a taste of that much-maigned sub-genre.


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