Welcome back to another week of comic book glory, right here in Ye Olde School Café! For the next two installments, we’re going to be checking out a great anthology book from DC comics in the 1970s in The House of Mystery! This phenomenal series had great stories, fantastic creators, and monsters and madness galore!
In this week’s column, we’ll be looking specifically at issue number 200 (1972). Let’s be honest, with creators like Mike Kaluta, Joe Orlando, Bob Brown, Gerry Conway, the late, great Tony DeZuniga, Len Wein, and others, you can’t possibly go wrong! Alright, let’s get right down to it!
First up, a tale of terror from John Albano and Mike Kaluta called “The Beast’s Revenge!” In this story, we see a brother and sister that have inherited a farm worth quite a sum of money. The brother is very unhinged, and wishes his father had never left half of the farm to his sister. Speaking of the sister, she’s more than happy with the arrangement, and spends her days tending to the animals on the farm.
One day the brother concocts an idea to create an “accident” for his sister, so he can then sell the farm, and live like a king. The next evening, the sister makes hot soup for her hateful brother, but trips over the dog, and spills the soup on his face. In a fit of rage, he shoots his sister. He feels slightly remorseful for about two seconds, then decides to bury her and claim that she fell ill, and died in her sleep.
As he finishes burying her, he hears a rustling noise in the bushes behind the grave. He’s attacked by a mountain lion, but manages to escape. He tries to run into the house to grab a shotgun, but the farm animals that his sister tended to block his way. They seem to know what he’s done, and he has no other course but to lock himself in the barn, where he had raised some rabies infested rats! In his haste, he knocks over the rat cage, and is bitten over and over by the vermin!
“The Secret of Camp Galaxy” is another good one, and this story isn’t necessarily horror, but more along the lines of sci-fi. Still a good one, though, because of the unknown aspect of it until the end. The story begins with an exuberant child who’s received a letter from a space camp inviting him to their next opening. The parents chuckle, and relent to his badgering to go and check it out. They drop off the boy after meeting the instructor. After a few days, they receive a letter from their son, and he explains all of his activities, and the otherworldly instructors. The mother is taken aback by the wild stories, but the father dismisses them, saying that the camp must pay good actors to put on crazy costumes to play these parts for the kids.
After all is said and done, the parents make an unannounced visit to the camp, and along with some rednecks that stow away in the trunk, get a lot more than they bargained for in the end. Is Camp Galaxy a hoax or an advanced scouting team of extraterrestrials? You decide!
A miner that finds an Indian artifact that grants wishes, a misshapen man that gets harassed by the local uneducated populace, an Egyptian tale of betrayal, and finally a one-page prose story about a swamp (borrowed from R. Frost) round out this fantastic issue of the macabre!
Don’t let these great stories pass you by! Get out and grab them before they cannot be found anymore! See you next time!