Hallowe’en Countdown VI, Day 16

« Trouble with you is the trouble with me / Got two good eyes but we still don’t see / Come round the bend, you know it’s the end / The fireman screams and the engine just gleams » — Robert Hunter

Better watch your speed.

Another quite slight tale, but I’ve always loved this one for its nocturnal, storm-tossed ambiance. And it takes considerable illustrative skill to bring to life such a compact vignette with clarity and visual interest. Especially while hobbled by pedestrian colouring and hazy printing.

While the scripter goes uncredited (though it’s presumably editor Murray Boltinoff), the artist is Rodolfo “Rudy” Florese (1946-2003) was one of the band of solid Filipino craftsmen that brought extra style and diversity to the US Comics industry in the 1970s. The lion’s share of Florese’s American contribution went to DC’s Tarzan titles. Take it away, boys!

Yeah, that’s right: in such stories, Death always betrays himself by picking an oddball moniker like “Mort Todd” or some such dead giveaway. To be fair, Satan and Dracula also indulge in the corny practice. Dr. Shreck, anyone? Think it never happens in “real” life? Let us consider the case of smarmy Albertan reprobate Pierre Poilièvre, whose name basically translates as Pierre Pea-Hare.

The Roaring Coffin originally saw print in Ghosts no. 40 (July 1975, DC), which bore this enticing Luis Domínguez cover.

-RG

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