Thursday, October 2, 2008

house of secrets 105 (halloween countdown day 2)...

Today was the first day in the city that's really felt like fall.  Cool, windy...all around alright.  Maybe a little too sunny for my tastes, but at the very least not all humid and warm like it's been for weeks on end.  Anyway, here's the second Halloween comics post (film reviewes coming soon).  This time it's "House of Secrets" 105 from 1973.  This one features an amazing cover by Jack Sparling.  I love the coloring/inking technique, don't really know how I'd describe it, kind of a matte effect on the skull.  Sparling started working in comics in the late 1940s.  He did his first "House of Secrets" cover in 1965.  Throughout the 1960s and 1970s he also did covers for "House of Mystery," "Tales of the Unexpected," "Strange Adventures," and superhero titles including "The Spectre," "Metamorpho," "The Creeper," "Challengers of the Unknown," "Secret Six" and "Plastic Man."  His non-DC titles include "The Outer Limits," "Dark Shadows," and "Boris Karloff's Tales of Mystery."  In 1966, he did a one-shot comic biography of Adlai Stevenson for Dell (published shortly after Stevenson's death).  Stevenson, by the way, would have made a great president- probably alot better than Eisenhower, certainly much, much more liberal, even if his running mate in 1956 was Estes Kefauver, who was a major player in the 1954 Congresional hearings on comics books that nearly killed the comics industry.  Stevenson was sort of the Obama of his day (not racially, obviously) in that he was a thoughtful, passionate and eloquent speaker who was criticized by Republicans for basically being too smart and "elitist."

The Vampire story here is written by Maxene Fabe, who also wrote for "House of Mystery" and "Plop!" (DC's horror-humor hybrid), with art by Gerry Talaoc.  The second story (which is presented here complete, for your pleasure) is written by Steve Skeates with art fromt he great Jim Aparo.  Aparo, of course, drew the Spectre, Batman, Aquaman, Deadman and the Phantom Stranger.  Skeates was a profilic writer from the late 1960s through most of the 1970s.  He wrote "Aquaman," "the Flash" and "Teen Titans" (as well as Wally Wood's "THUNDER Agents") as well as many, many horror stories for DC, Marvel and Warren.  In the 1980s, he wrote for Marvel's "Bizarre Adventures" and "Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham."  This story is great, kind of tragic, doomed romantic but from a man's perspective, something maybe some of us can relate to, a little bit,  maybe.

Finally, there's the last story, "An Axe to Grind," written by Steve Skeates with some great art by Alfredo Alcala.  This is the most EC-comics inspired of the bunch...











This  Easy-Bake oven ad seemed a little out of place in a horror comics, but who knows?

Check back later for more...

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