Hallowe’en Countdown, Day 22

« Newly dead, the gases of decomposition moving in the stomach… moving the body like a rag doll whose lips flutter and belch… »

Atlas anthology Men’s Adventures (25 issues, 1950-54) was a pretty schizoid entity, with an editorial emphasis waffling from your typical would-be rugged he-man stuff (issues 4* to 8) to battle action (9 to 20) to mild horror (21-26) to, as a last resort, superheroes (27-28).

Russ Heath delivers his usual fine job for Men’s Adventure no. 26 (March 1954, Atlas). I like the matching green outfits on the cadavers. Yay, team!

In the mid-1970s you could tell that Marvel was running low on reprintable pre-Code material when items from Men’s Adventure began to pop up in its mystery anthologies.

Our cover story turned up then in Chamber of Chills no. 20 (Jan. 1976) announced by this ridiculous Ron Wilson/Dan Atkins cover.  There’s a Broadway musical in there, I swear.

Since this was 1970s Marvel, the corpse is not only well-preserved, he’s buff as it gets. For comparison, read “Midnight in the Morgue” (writer unknown, art by Dick Ayers), with our thanks and a fond tip of the hat to The Horrors of It All blog.

A more haunting variation on the “trapped in the morgue with the not-quite-dead” theme is Nostalgia Press’ historically significant Horror Comics of the 1950’s (1971, edited by Bhob Stewart, Ron Barlow and original publisher Bill Gaines), which gathered, in full colour, 23 EC classics, including one previously unpublished story, An Eye for an Eye. The cover revives (ha!) Al Feldstein’s Tales From the Crypt no. 23 art from 1951.

Like many fellow modern-day EC Fan-Addicts, this book first came to my attention through the Captain Company catalogue that occupied the back pages of Warren Magazines. So many elusive, haunting grails… many of them turning out to be great beyond all reasonable expectations.

*the actual first issue… typical 1950s comics numbering scheme.

– RG

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