« It was like plunging deeper and deeper into a growing nightmare! »
A powerful (what else?) Jack Kirby piece, one of his last before decamping to DC. He actually gets a full writer/artist credit (a telling tail end turning point of that Marvel residence) on this tale, … and Fear Shall Follow!. The lush cover inks are provided by fellow Golden Age titan Bill Everett (1917-1973), a far cry from the miserable Vince Colletta « finishes » he would be saddled with at DC for the next couple of years (at their insistence!)
I was planning on featuring the entire story, but others have long ago preceded me down that primrose path. Why fight it? Just pay Diversions of the Groovy Kind a visit, where you’ll receive, as a bonus, Kirby’s other solo outing for the House of (mostly his) Ideas, The Monster!, from the previous issue of Chamber of Darkness (no.4, April, 1970). Both are sympathetically inked by Marvel’s production manager at the time, the underrated and gone-too-soon John Verpoorten (1940–1977). Again, several notches above “Valiant” Vince Colletta’s casual sabotage.
Plot-wise, … and Fear Shall Follow!, while another variant in the Carnival of Souls tradition, is enriched by its unusual setting and whiff of incense and philosophy. Reminds me of a possibly apocryphal exchange between Watchmen editor Len Wein and its writer Alan Moore: « Alan, that ending’s already been done on The Outer Limits! »; (in thick Northampton accent, dripping with sarcasm) « Yes, Len, but it’s never been done by me! ». With all due respect, it’s not as if Mr. Wein had any moral lessons to dispense regarding originality.