Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Saturday, December 14, 2019


Like many comic books, Strange Suspense Stories had a convoluted history.  First published by Fawcett in June 1952, the title ran for five issues, ending with the February 1953 issue.  A year later Charlton purchased the title and, with the January-February 1954 issue, used unpublished inventory from the previous owner.  Rather than number the first Charlton issue #6 (or even #1), this version of Strange Suspense Stories began with #16, taking its numbering from Charlton's Lawbreakers Suspense Stories, which, in turn, had taken its numbering from the earlier Lawbreakers.  After seven issues (to #23), the title was changed to This Is Suspense! for four issues before reverting back to Strange Suspense Stories in October 1955.  Things went along swimmingly then and eventually the title began containing adventures of Captain Atom with issue #75 (June 1965).  Three issues later, the comic book changed its title to Captain Atom lasted until December 1967 with issue # 89, when it was cancelled, but officially Strange Suspense Stories died with the October 1965 issue.  And that was that.

Well, not quite.  As you well know, death in the comic book world has a loosey-goosey definition.  Charlton revived the title in October 1967 where it ran for 9 issues (Volume 3, Number 1-Volume 3, Number 9; October 1967-September 1969.  [Wikipedia lists these issues as being Volume 2, but what the h@#$ do they know?]

So what we have here is is issue #2 of the revived, spanking new title.  And three not so original stories.

"Dream World" tells of Winfield Forrest,a nebbish who escapes from his dreary job and nagging wife, through his fantasies in which he slays dragons and performs heroic feats.  Then one day he trips on the cellar stairs and awakes in his dream world.  His guide in the dream world -- a beautiful woman -- tells him that he died in the fall and she has brought him to where he belonged.  It turns out his wife had rigged a wire across the cellar stairs leading to his death.  (Winfield may have been a failure at most things, but he did have a healthy insurance policy.)  Winfield's dream world has suddenly become real and fantasizing will not help him survive...

After years of working for an abusive boss, Dick Dunlop burns his bridges and quits, telling his boos just what he thinks of him.  Why?  Because of "The Big Deal."  Dunlop has just received a letter from a girl he romanced while on vacation, telling him that she will marry him.  Actually, the girl is rather plain looking and boring and Dick does not love her but he does love her money -- she's swimming in it.  Dick travels to meet her, but there is no one there to meet him.  He rushes to his house but it is locked.  Patiently he waits for her.  When she arrives she tells him they cannot marry because she has died in a car accident.  That doesn't mean they can't be together...

Lastly, we go to the 22rd century and World War III.  This is a world where bombs and radiation are destined to make Earth a lifeless planet, except for "One Last Chance."  That chance comes from Dr. Conroy, who has invented a time machine to take three persons back to 1969 -- the one time when a change could be made to affect the coming war.  The trio must save a man named Norman Southbury -- the only man who could prevent World War II -- from being murdered.  But saving Southbury -- a beard, hippie freak -- may be the least of their problems.  Just as it is not nice to mess with Mother Nature, it can be equally dangerous to mess with Father Time...



  1. At least that first number-jump makes a certain amount of sense, since Charlton wouldn't be able to use the Fawcett mailing permit, I think...and presumably mailing permits had some sort of fee attached, or the smaller publishers particularly wouldn't play so much in the way of Musical Titles.

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