WEB OF EVIL
21 issues + 1 issue of INTRIGUE
Chronological listing of all issues – with comments and annotations. We mention date of publication, cover motive and cover artist (if identified).
Every issue has been indexed on the Grand Comics Database – the link will show you all available data, including cover shots and story descriptions.
Just click the underlined issue labeling.
Cover: (Couple in small motorboat is scared by giant, ghost-like head of a crone) – Chuck Cuidera ?
“Ghosts of Doom” (???)
“The Phantom Freaks” (???)
“Custodian of the Dead” (Jack Cole)
“Rehearsal for Death” (???)
What a wacky cover. The cover painting does correspond very nicely to the lead story, “Ghosts of Doom” (a masterpiece of wackiness in itself).
Zombies and a giant crocodile populate the eerie Everglades. Gangsters arrive from Miami with a kidnap victim – looking for a hide-out. Soon the parties will be battling each other…
The crude artwork by a mystery artist (as it will often be the case with this company) enhances the “baddie” charm of Quality’s first expedition into horror. Story is posted HERE on my (alas, German) website about pre-code horror in general. Story’s still in English, though…
“The Phantom Freaks” grips you with three pages of shock value (Violence! Outlandish creatures!), but simmers down to a comedy ending. Posted this on FIFTIES HORROR as well.
“Custodian of the Dead” presents us the great Jack Cole as horror artist. The plot about a grave-robbing undertaker is robbed from (still very much living, at the time) EC masterminds Bill Gaines and Al Feldstein who used to assign “Ghastly” Graham Ingels to draw these tales.
I am probably being unfair; the story’s composed of TWO or THREE other ones. I’m positive there’s an EC story about rats attacking an intruder who fell into a cave. But can’t find it at the moment.
However, the ending of this story out of MYSTERIOUS ADVENTURES #3 (from August 1951, by Story/Master Comics) sounds exactly like the last pages of “Custodian”. I quote the synopsis for “Return from the Dead!”:
The coalminers Tom and Matty fight over the same woman, Ruth. Tom tries to slay Matty and leaves him to perish in an abandoned mine shaft. Some time later, however, Tom is trapped in a cave-in and comes across the mortal remains of his rival Matty. The skeleton holds him down while rats close in on Tom.
Is Cole paying homage to EC’s host, the Crypt Keeper, in this first panel on page 3? See detail to your right…
Again, QUALITY HORROR does not shy away from “graphic” depictions of criminal offenses. See for yourself the horrid tooth extraction from page 2:
See “Custodian of the Dead” posted on Karswell’s seminal horror blog!
“Rehearsal for Death” proves to be a run-of-the-mill envious actor story. Understudy Fenton demands his chance on stage and murders leading man Worthington. Worthington’s ghost, however, returns for a night-long rehearsal of Hamlet’s death scene. Fenton dies of exhaustion. He has rehearsed himself to death.
Those three last pages on stage get tedious and are a pain in Shakespeare’s neck to illustrate. I suspect the same writer here as in “Phantom Freaks”, because the evil character is coined as being “venomous” in both stories.
That’s a wrap for QUALITY HORROR’S first issue – and we count 3 mystery artists out of 4, a frightening bottom line. But Jim Vadeboncoeur, Jr. and I looked long and hard – and we don’t know! But this is as clueless as we get. We could identify some illustrators in later issues…
Cover: (Ghostly executioner threatening frightened man from behind) – Chuck Cuidera ?
“Hangman’s Horror” (Jack Cole)
“Ghost Ship” (???)
“Make-Up for Death” (???)
“The Corpse that Wouldn’t Die!” (Jack Cole)
And we get Cole twice in this issue (and twice a mystery contribution)…
The splash to “Hangman’s Horror” is the most drastic (and most close-up) comic book depiction of a hanging. Ever. Alongside Johnny Craig’s cover for CRIME SUSPENSTORIES #20. Which came out a year later and may have been inspired by Cole’s shocking panel.
Cole elongates the neck of his victim in a funny way – as if he’s hanging his own creation Plastic Man! The bloodshot eyes are a terrifying bonus, too. Cole did a lot to enrage comic book censors.
(That infamous injury-to-the-eye panel from the crime story „Murder, Morphine and Me“ was his work as well…)
Story is quite simple. Innocent man Jeb Daws is framed for murder and hanged. His ghost stalks the streets and brings to townspeople to avenge the true killer. First a mob brutally slays the first of the henchmen; the others die in a fire respectively under a horse’s hooves. The story is posted on the aptly named blog SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT.
“Ghost Ship” follows in very much the same vein as the last story: Rival tug boat captains Hook Larson and Blackjack Grant go head to head in a small port. Grant eliminates the competition by ramming down Larson’s ship. But on the anniversary of the foul deed, a ghost ship pulls into port and a hooked spectre takes revenge.
Is this Quality’s take on horror? Killer ghosts?
“Make-Up for Death” – is that a horror or a crime story? Theater make-up artist Karl Rageese murders three actors who talked bad about him – and perishes in the same fire he layed to kill his last victim. The good Karl is said to have died “in the poor house” and does rise from a grave (on page 2). But nowhere do they tell us if he’s really dead (he doesn’t look like a zombie, you know). Or did he just hide in the earth for some time – to make a dramatic appearance? Drama queen!
Whole story on Karswell’s blog HERE.
“The Corpse that Wouldn’t Die!” is to be found on the blog of cartoonist Terry Beatty, SCARY TERRY’S WORLD and is another Cole horror classic.
Which was eventually reprinted in Quality’s last horror book, the 1955 INTRIGUE #1. And in the 2013 “Zombies” anthology published by Yoe Books in their wonderful CHILLING ARCHIVES OF HORROR COMICS. If you should be a stranger to Craig Yoe’s reprint operation, please click immediately on his website and get an overview of his unrivaled products…
On with the story. “The Corpse that Wouldn’t Die!” – Two men trapped in an eerie house, beleaguered by a monstrous zombie. Will they find the magic spell in time to send the fiend back to his grave? There’s suspense galore in this tale. But somehow the story doesn’t take off. It’s held back by the art of Jack Cole. In my humble opinion. I don’t think Cole’s the perfect man to illustrate horror.
His funny roots are always manifest. Look at this row of panels – this could be a Bill Elder spoof on horror like he did for the early issues of MAD. Cole’s exaggeration in use of light and camera teeters on the brink of ridicule.
Imagine this story drawn by Bob Powell, Manny Stallman, Lou Cameron, Joe Sinnott… Cole is defusing the horror in here!
By the way, have you noticed that QUALITY HORROR is different horror? They won’t fob you off with a simple “Aarrggh!” like any other publisher – they exclusively serve you the much more refined “Aggrraa!”. Sounds way more horrible, doesn’t it?
It is probably save to say (after only two issues) that like CHARLTON HORROR Quality goes for the gross.
Cole doesn’t shy away from depicting violence. Good lord! Or in the words of another victim:
Cover: (Strongman lifting sacrificial victim in front of multi-armed idol) – Jack Cole ? + Chuck Cuidera ?
“The Killer from Saturn” (Jack Cole ?)
“Vengeance of the Red Ghost” (Leo Morey + ?)
“Goddess of Murder” (Jack Cole ?)
“The Beast from Beyond” (???)
Something truly horrifying will happen in this issue:
The introduction of the ratio-twist into WEB OF EVIL!
The two stories possibly drawn by Jack Cole will knock the socks off your synapses.
“The Killer from Saturn” and “Goddess of Murder” are riveting horror yarns – until that final page. Both stories come up with an explanation so ludicrous and improbable it had me screaming
“Aggrraa!” in my reading armchair!
See for yourself; you’ll find both tales posted on FIFTIES HORROR – follow the underlined markings.
“The Killer from Saturn” may be the pre-code horror story with the highest body count of all.
12 (!) people die in these pages; and they were slaughtered (spoiler!) by a meek civil servant who donned armor and walked on stilts?! I don’t buy that for a second, but thusly it is written…
“Vengeance of the Red Ghost” features a ratio-twist as well. Susan Maynard only faked her death and plays the avenging ghost coming back from the grave. I’ll give it some points for portraying a homicidal woman. Story is posted on Karswell’s seminal blog THE HORRORS OF IT ALL.
“Goddess of Murder” is a frightening terror tale about a monstrous four-armed goddess demanding human sacrifices. The ratio-twist solution (in the second-to-last panel) is so outrageously construed you’ll shake your head in sad disbelief. The cheek!
“The Beast from Beyond” is another embarrassing affair – and a next ratio-twist. So it’s an issue with no real horror. But certainly feels that way. A hunting company from the city enters the woods and finds no moose, but a dragon-like monster! When all of the campers disappear one by one, the police come investigating. They confront the monster with high-powered rifles and grenades. The beast collapses and reveals… hold on to your seats, please… a gang of mobsters operating the monster mechanically from inside!
How idiotic is that? QUALITY HORROR is striving for the apex of foolishness. That beats everything you ever may have read before, right?
Bad news about a hefty WEB #3: All stories are ratio-twisted!
This will (thank god or the devil) change radically with the next issue!
Cover: (People fleeing from attacking dinosaur-like monster before a full moon) – Jack Cole + Chuck Cuidera ?
“Monster of the Mist” (Jack Cole + ?)
“Crime Circus” (???)
“Satan’s Spectacles” (Sam Citron ? + ?)
“Dance of Death” (???)
Jack Cole has been attributed with the artwork for “Monster of the Mist”, but looking again at this… I have grave doubts. Rough pencil layouts, at best.
After a false mechanical monster in the last issue, we now get a real one – Huzzah!
Marine biologist Dr. Mornay discovers a giant sea serpent and keeps it close to study the creature. Mornay feeds the beast with sheep, but only teaches it a lust for blood. Mornay’s son and his fiancée arrive and help him prepare a deadly bait.
Well, I don’t want to spoil too much, but the monster swallows a TNT-spiced sheep and goes out in quite an involuntarily comical explosion:
If you decide to wanna see more, story is posted on Karswell’s seminal blog THE HORRORS OF IT ALL.
“Crime Circus” sounds like a crime story…
but is a morale tale in which FATE (looking like a boyish unkempt ghost with a cape, for chrissakes!) intercepts the efforts of the criminals.
An ensemble of circus artistes decides to make some big money and operates as a gang of criminals. Masterminded by the “midget” Lilliput they rob and steal. But ghost-like Fate steps in and sabotages their heists. In the end the last remaining members kill off each other.
Crude stuff. A strange and sorry story which keeps you guessing why fate looks like this:
Oh, gosh! What a misery the next story is: “Satan’s Spectacles” is utter rubbish.
The devil sets a trap for optometrist Harry Lenz. In disguise he lets him have magic glasses which reveal the thoughts of others. At a moment’s notice, Lenz goes for a life of crime and high finance. Years later Satan comes to collects his dues. Surprisingly not Lenz’ soul, but just his eyesight.
What? His bloody eyesight is the only price to pay?!
Time I start praying to Satan…
Quality writers have obviously reached the end of the line concerning their wits. This is most feeble material (and only issue #4!).
Maybe they got inspiration from two other (great!) optometrician’s stories. I am talking, of course, about “Colorama” (by Bob Powell in Harvey’s BLACK CAT MYSTERY #45) and “The Sorcerer’s Spectacles” from Ace’s HAND OF FATE #17.
And I am dead wrong! “Colorama” was inspired by “Satan’s Spectacles” (which was published three months previously)! Powell left out the devil, but his story describes a crazy journey into blindness.
The Ace “Spectacles” story appeared the same time as Quality’s… hmmm. I wonder if the same author is behind these two… hmm, again.
“Dance of Death” is posted on Karswell’s seminal blog THE HORRORS OF IT ALL.
Do I recommend a read? Please do. It’s a straight supernatural revenge story with enjoyable artwork (by unknown illustrator). Giving you a teaser illo here:
Good news about a so-so WEB #4: Not one ratio-twisted story!
Cover: (Laughing man being electrocuted in the chair) – Jack Cole + Chuck Cuidera ?
“The Man Who Died Twice” (Jack Cole)
“Laughter from Hell” (Charles Nicholas)
“The Vengeful Curse” (Jack Cole)
“The Corpse That Wouldn’t Hide” (???)
That’s probably Jack Cole contributing to the “shocking” cover of this issue; and one of the few pre-code horror title pages to remember it is! The man in the chair is laughing?! Most weird!
(Whilst the February 1952 issue of EC’s SHOCK SUSPENSTORIES only hints at the depiction of a man being “fried” in the electric chair, Quality’s July 1953 issue of WEB OF EVIL doesn’t shy away from pointing the camera at the action…)
The corresponding title story is to be found on the blog of cartoonist Terry Beatty, SCARY TERRY’S WORLD. What’s it about? “The Man Who Died Twice” makes no sense at all! Lester Paley is framed for a murder he did not commit. He dies in the electric chair, but it’s all a set-up. He is only stunned by the electricity and proclaimed dead by a bribed doctor.
The criminal undertaker Anson claims his body and “revives” Paley in his laboratory. He is made to believe that he can only continue living by taking Anson’s drugs. Anson commands Paley to kill the judge. Paley, however, comes to his senses, realizes that Anson framed him in the first place and takes revenge.
Did you understand this plot? Everything goes smooth for evil mastermind Anson. And what does he do? He keeps the person he’s framed alive to run some meaningless errands. WTF?! Insipid hogwash! Agggrraaa!!!!
The wonderful Aggrrraaa!, by the way, only made its way into WEB OF EVIL #2. Too bad.
No more Agggrrraaaa! Will give you another pic from that ish (see right). We mourn!
Worse: “The Man Who Died Twice” is no horror, it’s a crime story. This story is commented extensively, too, on the blog “Cole’s Comics”. See HERE.
One year later, by the way, a still fledgling Steve Ditko copied Cole’s chair – but made it into a grim version. His cover for Charlton’s STRANGE SUSPENSE STORIES #19 packs quite a whallop.
Artist Charles Nicholas joins the QUALITY HORROR fold with “Laughter from Hell”, a story that sounds more like horror. And again it’s not. Next crime story, don’t even know why it’s called “Laughter from Hell”.
Old and wealthy John Grome won’t part with his money, so his unfaithful wife Della joins family lawyer Loring in a fiendish plot. With the help of rubber masks and party tricks they try to drive Grome insane. But Grome sees through their machinations, pretends to have gone mad and sets up a deadly trap for the crooked couple.
“The Vengeful Curse” finally can be counted as a (mild) horror story. First three pages are surprisingly FUN, because they are told in fast-paced dialogue and tell us all there is to be told.
The adventurer Andrew Craven hunts for a hidden treasure in the mountains. After salvaging the gold, he kills his partner Dave Burk and buries him on the spot. Burk swears revenge from beyond the grave and Craven is being haunted by accidents and Burk’s eerie laughter.
First QUALITY HORROR story we chose to post in our “Stories” section! Click HERE to read.
“The Corpse That Wouldn’t Hide” is – like the last story – a crime/horror hybrid.
Walter Mains lives on the allowance of his wife, the successful chemical inventor Anna Mains. They both make their lives a living hell. One day Walter can’t stand it anymore, strangles Anna to death and plans to burn her in the house and make it look like she was smoking in bed.
This story succeeded in entertaining me, too. The twist is quite inventive and very ironic – and we get some grisly action scenes like these three panels:
Jesus, WEB OF EVIL lurches through its run like a ship in a hurricane. One issue is pure horror, next is fake horror with a ratio-twist, next features mostly crime stories. Hardly a concept at work here, folks!
Cover: (Man machine-gunning greenish monster ghoul rising between tombstones) – Jack Cole + Chuck Cuidera ?
“Orgy of Death” (Jack Cole)
“The Man Who Saw Doom” (Charles Nicholas)
“The Spectre’s Face” (Jack Cole)
“The House Where Horror Lived” (???)
Another strange cover – and shockingly amateurish, although a composition by Cole.
The proportions of the graphic elements (man, ghoul, tombstones) are off-scale. The colors don’t add up to something striking. The weakest cover of WEB’s run. But weird it is, o yes, mommy.
“Orgy of Death” is a tedious adventure yarn climaxing in the eruption of a volcano, by all means. Greedy Dr. Morgan discovers the remnants of a Phoenician cult on a remote island.
He’s willing to sacrifice his niece Lela and his pilot Alan to get his hands on the lost treasure of Moloch. A lot of talk and imprisonment and planning and more talk ensue (Who’s in command here, folks?) until the earth starts to quake.
Story is posted on Karswell’s seminal blog THE HORRORS OF IT ALL.
This story is commented extensively, too, on the blog “Cole’s Comics”. See HERE.
“The Man Who Saw Doom” is a horror story about a magic ring which reveals imminent death. The Hindu mystic Arnar lets John Durrand wear a death-foreseeing magic ring. If John encounters a person with a blank face, that person is going to die in the next minute. The visions drive Durrand almost insane. He passes the ring on to a jeweler.
And that is the ENDING of that story. He passes the ring on to a jeweler. Nothing more. Now the jeweler sees blank faces. The blankest of them is MINE.
Second story in this issue that seeps, oozes and trickles through my fingers – turning pages in search of a tale worth-while. Dammit.
“The Spectre’s Face” feels like the work of copycats, too. Mob gunman Barker Crane retires from his killing career and aims for a life of respectability. Whenever Crane has his picture taken, the photograph will reveal a ghostly rotting zombie looming behind him.
Crane now tries to find the man in the picture. A former victim whom he wants to confront. Crane does not succeed and – demoralized and worn out – turns himself in to the police. Apart from the credulity of the plot so far, now comes a fantastic ratio-twist (straight outta DC HORROR).
It was all a clever set-up, was it now? I know it’s impossible to pull off. You know it’s impossible to pull off. They do it anyway. And they add (last panel) a twist to annul the twist before: The photo of Crane dying in the electric chair sports a looming ghost behind him as well! That’s gotta be another one of them helpful citizens, right?
You can “enjoy”, if you still dare, “The Spectre’s Face” on COLE’S COMICS!
Yes, there is a wonderful blog about Jack Cole (blog was active from 2009-14). The website can be searched for stories by year (from 1936 to 1963) or topics (like features and magazine contributions) and also by themes (even “Death and Morbidity” and “Suicide”).
I did not find a “horror” category and “The Spectre’s Face” plus one story from WEB #11 seem to be the only ones presented on COLE’S COMICS. But have a look anyway!
Coming back shortly to “The Spectre’s Face”: The story with the camera taking ghost photographs crossed my desk at least once before. This is what I can think of: “The Clinging Phantom” – a really INVENTIVE horror story from Harvey’s WITCHES TALES #5 (1951), posted on my German website FIFTIES HORROR.
“The House Where Horror Lived” – Aaaaah. That must be the offices of publishing companies like EC, Harvey or even Charlton in those days – where they gave a f… about pre-code horror! But, surprise, this tale did entertain me. It’s simple as hell, but I love the crudish artwork and the droll things happening on the last three pages.
John Carlton, ‚The Bravest Man Alive‘, and his man-servant, Drake, spend a night in a haunted house. Drake, however, rigged the place to teach Carlton a lesson in fear. The terror proves to be too stark for Carlton who drops dead from fright.
Story does not end there, however!
Although the existing scan of that book is only low-res quality and of small data volume, I posted “The House Where Horror Lived” in our “Stories” section. Tried to enhance it some by applying high-definition photoshop tricks. It’s absolutely readable, but won’t stand much magnifying.
Cover: (Arms shoot out of an opened box and strangle a man) – Jack Cole + Chuck Cuidera ?
“The Ship of Lost Souls” (???)
“Hideout in Hell” (Bob McCarty + ?)
“The Strangling Hands” (Jack Cole)
“The Man Who Cheated Death” (Charles Nicholas)
WEB OF EVIL changes into from bi-monthly into monthly frequency!
That cover brings back fond memories of other covers with “mysterious boxes” – and of a story about cut-off arms going on a strangling spree. Let me see…
Quality is obviously copying again, but it’s a fun title page and the best of all the (lame and cheesy) mystery-box covers. The guy opening that box is only getting what he deserves – for he has been warned by the inscription “Severed Arms of Jean the Strangler”. Teehee.
Well, let’s open that Pandora’s box calling itself WEB OF EVIL #7 – and reach deep inside: “The Ship of Lost Souls” is a fine example for what’s wrong with QUALITY HORROR. Too little is happening in these overlong 9 pages!
The gambling ship “Hades” (whotta name for a ship anyway!) capsizes and dozens of passengers inside are killed. The ship’s owner, Harry Cain, is responsible for this tragedy, because his ship was not ballasted the right way. Two newspaper reporters, who were allegedly killed on-board, have survived and stage a scoop. Posing as ghosts they kidnap Cain, bring him aboard the “Hades” and make him confess his deadly negligence. As Cain whips out a gun, another tidal wave rolls in and takes Cain down to the bottom of the sea.
Written down like that, it doesn’t sound too bad, but trust me – it is redundant, redundant, redundant. Point taken?
We come to “Hideout in Hell”, a first (and last!) contribution by artist Bob McCarty (a mainstay of FAWCETT HORROR). His artwork here is drowned under the inks of a Quality brush swinger. Hardly recognizable. It’s a crime story with a faint touch of the macabre:
The Bexer gang robs a bank and goes into hiding. They quarrel over the loot and two of them shoot each other. When the police come searching the woods, Bexer crawls into the compound where the bodies are stored. His phobia of corpses drives him insane.
Nice touch here is the character of the “dim-witted” henchman, Simple Simon. He proves not to be that dim-witted in the end. Not that bad, but not good enough to earn a post with me. As the story’s nowhere posted, I show you the finale:
Ah, the ’sport of throatbursting‘ is featured in “The Strangling Hands”, another fine and most brutal piece of Jack Cole art:
Collector Noram comes into possession of the severed arms of Jean D’Arst, the infamous French strangler. The arms are rumored to be cursed and to have killed all of their current owners. Noram, however, is strangled by his greedy nephew Don. When the police don’t buy the story of a curse, Don runs – but is strangled by the bodiless arms.
The other grisly depictions of throatbursting are shown only as shadow plays upon the walls. Hmmm. Story is posted in our “Stories” section.
“The Man Who Cheated Death” is a second story about electric chairs! The main character of the story lands on the chair – and sits there laughing. This would have been a more fitting tale for the WEB #5 cover. Well, they seem to have a thing with electricity…
Page 5 features an in-house gag: a movie canopy announces the film “Adventures of Blackhawk”.
First I thought this was a joke, but there really was a 1952 film series BLACKHAWK (15 episodes starring Quality Comics’ most successful characters).
See it described on Wikipedia HERE. For an episode guide and more stills click HERE.
Sorry for the diversion. Where were we? Ah, right.
Please have a seat in that uncomfy ELECTRIC CHAIR.
Our story begins with maniacal senior John Blane, just turned 70 years of age and obsessed with wanting to live forever. One of the researchers in his laboratories comes up with a liquid which will grant eternal life. Blane drinks down the potion after having murdered his employee who was unwilling to part with it. He is quickly sentenced to die in the electric chair, but can’t be killed. The immortal Blane is locked away, but escapes and commits a bank robbery.
What happens next, won’t be spoilered by us, but can be found in our “Stories” section.
Quality writers in this issue succeed to give us a decent mixed bag of horrors. It’s all more or less run-of-the-mill, but presented in a fairly entertaining way. If they would dare to come up with something of their own, there still might be hope for QUALITY HORROR.
Cover: (Man in foreground is frightened by spectre looming above houses) – Chuck Cuidera ?
“Creature of Doom” (???)
“Flaming Vengeance” (Charles Nicholas)
“Death Prowls the Streets” (Jack Cole)
“Valley of Horror” (Jack Cole)
All four stories of this issue are posted on Karswell’s seminal blog THE HORRORS OF IT ALL.
Click on underlined titles to read.
“Creature of Doom” has its moments; the first five pages are refreshingly snappy. The anonymous artwork sadly fails to make this a highlight of QUALITY HORROR.
Nuclear scientist Paul Allen is left to die on the site of an atom bomb test. His treacherous colleague Serb works for “the reds” and plans on leaving the country with Allen’s wife Gena. Allen watches helplessly in spectral form. Then he musters his last strength, returns to his broken body and attacks his killers as a nuclear zombie.
But have a look at the splash: This is supposed to be an ATOM BOMB explosion, but looks like fireworks gone haywire. Wally Wood will show you what an atomic explosion looks like (cf. his splash from TWO-FISTED TALES #33)!
“Flaming Vengeance” sports a twist I’ve read before: Greedy landlord Cal Arnum burns down his own tenement block to cash in on the insurance. The loss of dozens of lives mean doesn’t bother his conscience for a second. Arnum then takes a drug to fake his own death. Instead of being brought to the family tomb, however, Arnum is cremated. Ha! Serves you right.
I remember a nice IGER HORROR yarn from STRANGE FANTASY #8 (published at the same time!). A man falls into a locked-in-state of existence and has to witness his own autopsy and burial! Should you be interested in reading this one, click on: “Cry from the Coffin”.
Ah, well, being buried alive is one of man’s primal fears. Being cremated alive is just a variation…
“Death Prowls the Streets” is a straight detective-mystery story! Famous, but retired investigator Emmett Dru takes on one last case. A homicidal maniac is spreading terror throughout the city. Dru finds the killer’s hide-out and confronts him.
Story drags along like most of these detective-mysteries do, but picks up on the last two pages and offers a nice twist. A showdown in a carnival “House of Mirrors” (obviously inspired by Orson Welles’ 1947 “Lady from Shanghai”) leads to a stunning surprise.
“Valley of Horror” is an often reprinted Jack Cole classic. Fun story. Straight action horror. The honeymooners Betty and Jim take a short-cut by night in their car – and land in a city of the damned dead. They fight their way out, knocking down skeletons and such…
WEB OF EVIL #8 is an okay issue. Worth the dime in its time.
Are they catching on? Will they improve further?
Cover: (Kong-like ape leaving path of destruction in city and frightening two policemen in the foreground) – Chuck Cuidera ?
“A Pact with the Devil” (Jack Cole)
“The Subterranean Beast” (Chuck Cuidera ?)
“Killer from Beyond” (Jack Cole)
“The Monster in Flesh” (Charles Nicholas)
Whoa! A big terrifying GORILLA with an attitude on the cover of this issue!
Perfect opportunity to bore you with some trivia from comics history. Ahem. Here goes.
In early 1951 DC Comics put a gorilla motif on their STRANGE ADVENTURES #8.
Allegedly, this sold so well that DC produced a series of gorilla covers – with full intent.
In the words of DC editor Julius Schwartz (to be found in the amazing encyclopedia “Comics Between the Panels”): “Every time I had a gorilla cover, it had wonderful sales. Finally, every editor wanted to use a gorilla cover, so [publisher] Donenfeld said no more than on gorilla cover a month.”
If you wanna go ape some more, please read LethargicLad’s blog about “Gorilla Cover Comics”.
I can’t shake the impression that Quality is copying DC a lot!
“A Pact with the Devil” crashes out of the box with a stunning splash! I love devil stories!
Suicidal John Masters enters into a pact with the devil and gets ten golden years of wealth and fortune. When his time is up, Masters tries to run. But Satan and his minions follow suit on his heels and drive him to suicide.
Story is posted on Karswell’s seminal blog THE HORRORS OF IT ALL.
“The Subterranean Beast” proves to be utterly feeble. It’s like the action parts of the movie “King Kong” on six pages. This is no good. The strange artwork (inked by Chuck Cuidera?) depicting a seemingly size-changing gorilla does not help, either.
I now wonder if it could be Chuck Winter beneath those Quality inks… (databank tells me that Charles “Chuck” Winter DID work for Quality from 1949-1952)… Huh!
That would be a Chuck-Chuck-collaboration. Maybe that’s what triggered my thought.
The story: Allan Mills discovers a monstrous monkey captivated between rocks in a cave.
By feeding the beast, Mills tries to command him. The ape shows more interest in Mills’ girlfriend Ruth. Freed by an earthquake, the beast searches for Ruth, but is used by Mills to run amok in the nearby village. The crazed Mills hits Ruth and the giant gorilla-creature takes him underground into the bowels of the earth.
“Killer from Beyond” is a horror-crime hybrid story. Thief and killer Benny Renz is ratted out to the police by his partner, Simon Fox. Fox and his girlfriend Lili buy the Renz home and tear it down looking for the hidden loot. The ghost of Renz has a laugh as the quarrelsome couple kill each other. Foreseeable, but enjoyable. Story is posted on Karswell’s seminal blog THE HORRORS OF IT ALL.
“The Monster in Flesh” is one of those ugliest-man-alive stories! KEN SHANNON #7 featured the same topic, but in here the main character undergoes a transformation. Antol Meers is shunned by society for his ugliness. One day he can’t take it anymore and beats up beautiful people. He gets a prison sentence and encounters a therapist who believes in change. Meers enjoys plastic surgery and becomes a society dandy. His soul, however, remains evil. Meers continues to commit crimes.
I did post “The Monster in Flesh” in the “Stories” section. Great cheesy splash, nice touches here and there, though nothing thrilling. Click the cheese splash to read!
I’ll try a listing for the topic UGLIEST MAN (three of them are even called this way, and they were published right one after another):
“Vengeance from a Restless Grave” in HAND OF FATE #9 (February 1952)
“Heritage of Horror” in WITCHCRAFT #1 (March 1952)
“Reign of Terror” in ASTONISHING #11 (April 1952)
“The Repulsive Dwarf” in STARTLING TERROR TALES #10 (May 1952)
“The Ugliest Man in the World” in TALES OF HORROR #1 (June 1952)
“The Ugliest Man in the World” in KEN SHANNON #7 (October 1952)
“The Ugliest Man in the World” in OUT OF THE SHADOWS #7 (January 1953)
“Don’t Let Me Kill” in WHO’S NEXT #5 (January 1953)
“The Man Who Changed” in UNCANNY TALES #6 (March 1953)
“The New Look” in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #11 (August 1953)
“The Face of Horror” in MENACE #8 (October 1953)
“The Beast Within” in UNSEEN #12 (November 1953)
“These, My Hands of Doom” in THE BEYOND #24 (January 1954)
“The Diary of a Nightmare” in HOUSE OF MYSTERY #32 (November 1954)
I suspect there are some more. If you know one, please drop a letter through the electric mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
One has to admit that QUALITY jumped very early on the UGLY bandwagon. In FEATURES COMICS #67 they had Doll Man battle another “The Ugliest Man in the World” in the spring of 1943!
Only Archie’s PEP COMICS #23 were undercutting that date with their own “The Ugliest Man in the World” story! Older readers remember fondly: it was January 1942 when Hangman met his nemesis, the maniacal (and nameless) circus freak “Ugliest Man in the World”.
Enough digressed? Looked at a mirror lately? Can we continue?
Cover: (Ghost frightening couple in ship’s cabin) – Chuck Cuidera ?
“Death’s Highway” (Charles Nicholas)
“The Cavern of the Damned” (???)
“The Brain that Wouldn’t Die” (Jack Cole + ?)
“The Spectre of Fate” (Chuck Cuidera ?)
First lead story to be drawn by Charles Nicholas!
“Death’s Highway” is an over-lengthy tale with no twist. You see the end coming from page 4 (of 9) on!
Torpo and Randy, two hitmen for the mob, crash their car on the way to the next job. They stay miraculously unharmed and encounter their former victims. It dawns upon them that they have died and have to face a court of justice beyond the grave.
Story is posted on Karswell’s seminal blog THE HORRORS OF IT ALL.
Looking again at the mystery artwork pages of “The Cavern of the Damned” I get a Rocco Mastroserio vibe. Tch. We’ll never know. Apart from that, “The Cavern of the Damned” is the oldest science fiction story, told for the umpteenth time! Herr im Himmel!
In an underwater cave explorer Lloyd Ramsey discovers human-like aliens with a third eye who plan on taking over the planet. Thousands of them have already infiltrated key positions on earth by hiding their third eye! Can you imagine?! Jeez.
I stopped reading here. Story plods along exactly like you think it does.
So, whassup with “The Brain that Wouldn’t Die”? Why don’t’cha, brain, huh? Cause it’s being kept alive! Creepy, yes?
Criminal mastermind Benny “The Brain” Bronson goes to the electric chair, but Dr. Andre Renard steals his head from out of the grave and manages to revive the brain. The brain then commands the doctor to execute his revenge. So Renard starts killing Bronson’s treacherous colleagues and the judge who convicted him.
Story is posted on Karswell’s seminal blog THE HORRORS OF IT ALL.
This story is commented extensively, too, on the blog “Cole’s Comics”. See HERE.
I am quite positive to have read a story like this before. For example: “The Corpse Who Killed” from HAUNTED THRILLS #7 (March 1953),
„The Resurrected Head“ from WORLDS OF FEAR #4 (May 1952) or “The Stolen Brain” from MYSTERIES WEIRD AND STRANGE #1 (May 1953).
Quality writers again shy away from own ideas.
But the artwork (Cole) is not bad – and the sheer plot inanity (talking brain, stupid doctor, moronic planning) makes up for a fun read. One of those so-bad-it’s-good-again affairs…
Features a crass final panel, in which the brain is flung away like story logic before!
Artwork’s crude in “The Spectre of Fate”; a better job would have enhanced it surely.
Eric Marston unwillingly is a stowaway on the cruise liner “Queen Ann” and witnesses the ship’s sinking after a collision with an iceberg. He survives, however, because fate did not let him die. An emissary of fate appears to him and declares him to be his successor. Marston is doomed to act as a “spectre of death” for the rest of his days.
That, too, is nothing new, but contains an interesting sequence wherein Marston and fate character Mr. Leer are walking on water – while people are frantically drowning right next to them. Since we are presenting so few Quality stories, you can find this one in our upload section.
Again, click on the miniature splash to your right …
Cover: (A ghoul approaches a grave from which green hands are rising) – Chuck Cuidera ?
“The Moulder of Doom” (Charles Nicholas)
“Buried Alive” (Sheldon Moldoff ? + ?)
“The Monster They Couldn’t Kill” (Jack Cole + ?)
“The Face from Hell” (Charles Nicholas)
That is one helluva hands-rising-outta-grave cover motif!
Last issue with credited Cole art! Sandwiched between two Charles Nicholas contributions and a surprise appearance by good ol’ Shelly Moldoff. But first things first.
“The Moulder of Doom” is a story about sculptors. Every horror company has to do at least one story about mad artists chipping stones. Horror or BUST, is what I say… harhar… Here’s Quality’s take on the matter: Sculptor Guy Morzat creates the most life-like portraits, because his works are not sculptures, but corpses covered with plaster of Paris. When Morzat tries to flee the town the statues come alive and take revenge.
Sounds profane and bland, but the story holds some nice touches for us readers on whole 9 pages. Page 2 shows the unveiling of a hero statue, which enrages the townsfolk. The story is set in France and the “hero” is depicted as a French ‚collaborateur‘, a person who worked with the Nazi occupying forces. Pages 4, 5 and 7 reward us with grisly death scenes, and the showdown has its funny moments! The sculptures come-alive each use their personal accessory to hinder the flight of the madman (bringing down bottles of milk, a cane, a bowling ball and finally a butcher’s cleaver upon Morzat’s body). A successful Quality variation of the mad art sculptor theme!
Story is posted on Karswell’s seminal blog THE HORRORS OF IT ALL.
It’s hard to see the Sheldon Moldoff art in “Buried Alive”, but the yellow face on the last page is a give-away. He’s positively being inked by a Quality artist. Very wacky splash page, by the way.
Story is posted on Karswell’s seminal blog THE HORRORS OF IT ALL.
Interesting to see Moldoff pop up here at Quality (a first time of just two). He was fired at FAWCETT HORROR at the end of 1953 and started working for ACG’s line of horror titles. But I’ll tell you that at Moldoff’s second appearance in WEB #21.
“Buried Alive” is a crime story. Hugo, a stage magician, is always second in line to the “Great Carvel”. So he plans to murder his rival and take his place of fame. Hugo fakes his own death, sneaks out of the morgue, kills Carvel and goes back into a state of suspended animation. His assistant Pepe, however, fouls up the plan for his rescue from the grave.
Again Quality writers take parts from previous horror lore and make up their “envious magician” story. It comes out entertaining enough not to annoy me, your trusty horror critic.
“The Monster They Couldn’t Kill” features the last (we said it above) credited Cole art in WEB’s run. And it’s a fine, maniacal action piece! Like a B-movie on paper.
Dr. Fry has been feeding on atomic energy and turned into a superhuman on the rampage. Every attempt to restrain him fails. Fry perishes in the end as he’s overfed himself on a pile of atomic garbage.
Dr. Fry, the monster, looks quite funny in his big brown jumpsuit with the crazy goggles! He’s not much of a threat, behaving more like a teen-ager fallen silent than a frightful fiend. Still, a fun 6 pages of atomic hogwash!
You can enjoy this story on COLE’S COMICS, where you will learn that this was the last comic story Jack Cole ever illustrated! Blog author Paul Tumey calls it a “psychological breakdown story” possibly allowing a look into the artist’s troubled soul.
“The Face from Hell” is a devil story – how lovely. I like a good devil story anytime.
Playboy and gambler Arthur Wells loses everything at the casino. The devil guarantees him his money back – if they switch faces! Wells enters into this weird pact and now bears a satanic likeness which scares people away instantly. A desperate Wells bargains again with the devil to change faces back. If his girlfriend June still loves him, Wells will be released from the pact.
Crisp and clean art by Charles Nicholas – I like! Find “The Face from Hell” posted in our “Stories” section. Or just hit the teaser panels below…
Cover: (Zombie entering apartment and startling woman in red dress) – Chuck Cuidera ?
“The Walking Dead” (Charles Nicholas)
“The Uninvited Corpse” (???)
“The Phantom Killer” (Sam Citron + ?) JIM: CHUCK WINTER???
“The Shrunken Heads of Dr. Death” (Edward Goldfarb + ?)
We find a new artist line-up in numero 12 (apart from a lead by Nicholas).
Second and last assignment for Sam Citron, a romance artist who contributed to Quality’s DIARY LOVES, LOVE LETTERS and HEART THROBS in the early 1950s. He did a handful of horror stories for ACG (American Comics Group) on the side, then returned to QUALITY ROMANCE, then post-code again a few jobs for ACG HORROR. Very marginal artist.
Next surprise is to see Ed Goldfarb pop up at QUALITY HORROR. Underrated illustrator who often used Bob Baer as inker. The team of Goldfarb & Baer was a delightful addition to the horror books of the Story/Master stable.
The two freelancers put artistic highlights in titles like DARK MYSTERIES, FIGHT AGAINST CRIME and MYSTERIOUS ADVENTURES, but also STRANGE TALES (from Atlas), EERIE (Avon), NIGHTMARE (Ziff-Davis) and AMAZING GHOST STORIES (St. John).
Apparently Goldfarb’s ONLY job for the Quality company ever. The man sadly left comics business with the arrival of the Comics Code.
“The Walking Dead” is “King Kong” with zombies!
Show promoter Carl Lamont travels to an island in the Caribbean to capture the fabled giant zombie of Zaku, none other than Zog, king zombie. Lamont succeeds in luring Zog into a trap, hauling him to the US and putting him on display in his circus show. But a group of loyal zombies follows him, spreads terror on the mainland and manages to free Zog from his cage.
Special treat: these zombies can shoot deadly lightning rays from their hands. Cool! Question: If they are able to do this, why hasn’t the King Zombie not used his ability to free himself?! Ach, comic book logic… don’t even start!
“The Walking Dead” is not the invention of horror, but has some entertainment value (click title to read it in our ‚Stories‘ section).
“The Uninvited Corpse” sports a ratio-twist (it’s been awhile). Connoisseurs of pre-code horror won’t be surprised, though, because the story is heavily copied from another horror classic with an inane twist (by Reed Crandall, by the way, who has LEFT Quality to draw horror for the competition, namely first Standard, then EC). Crandall appeared twice in OUT OF THE SHADOWS #9 (July 1953), delivering a gem: “The Corpse that Came to Dinner”. Giving you a story synopsis:
Standard Original: A couple learns that a friend has committed suicide, because he had wanted to marry the girl. The friend’s corpse climbs out of his grave and lays siege to the couple’s apartment.
Quality copy: Alice is married to John Carlton, but her lover, Guy, kills the husband. The evil couple rejoices and starts enjoying life, when dead Carlton drops by. He pesters his murderers and drives a wedge between them.
I won’t tell you the outcome of both stories, because they are both inventive horror tales (if not so for the respective endings).
Sigh… See for yourself.
“The Phantom Killer” is a lame duck. Bad artwork (possibly Sam Citron, see above) and an unbalanced script kill off this story about an abandoned house of horror early.
A demolition crew is ordered to tear down an old playhouse of horror. Some of the workers are attacked and killed in the process. Wrecking company executive Weber looks into the matter and manages to detonate the scary location.
“The Shrunken Heads of Dr. Death” is a delight to look at (art by Ed Goldfarb, as mentioned above!).
In the Amazon jungle, the suit-wearing crackpot Dr. Death lives with his pet monkey Bola and witnesses the crash landing of a passenger plane. The mad doctor kills off all survivors and adds them to his collection of shrunken heads. One day Guy and Marie arrive at the doctor’s jungle home, searching for Marie’s brother Frank who was on the plane that crashed. They detect Death’s secret and have to face the killer chimpanzee Bola in a showdown.
Although there’s a hint of “The Most Dangerous Game” here (the trophy-collecting madman), this is my FAVORITE horror yarn from Quality so far! “The Shrunken Heads of Dr. Death” has a wonderful ending (which I am not telling you about) – go read it instantly in our “Stories” section. Or click on teaser row of panels below.
As far as I can see, none of the stories from WEB #12 were posted on the internet. We choose to give you three of the four.
That is a fun issue, best QUALITY HORROR book yet. Maybe this is finally taking off…
Cover: (Grotesque swamp monster frightens two people in row boat) – Chuck Cuidera ?
“Demon Inferno” (Charles Nicholas + ?)
“Timepiece of Terror” (???)
“Prehistoric Beast” (Louis Ravielli)
“The Ghoul of Ghost Swamp” (Charles Nicholas)
“Demon Inferno” is another lead-off by Charles Nicholas, this time heavily inked by a Quality employee – giving some of the panels a Cole-ish dynamic.
Raymond Stevens discovers the abode of inner-earth demons Hate, Violence and Betrayal. They brand him with the devil’s sign and send him back home. Stevens is now ruled by his demons and starts killing people in a satanic rage.
And in the end they lock him up in the mad house. So-la-la story, again mixing ingredients of horror lore into a new set-up. Showing you a sample picture of violence:
And good ol’ trusty Karswell put up this story on his seminal blog “The Horrors of it All”.
Looking at the mystery artwork in “Timepiece of Terror” I now get vibes of Ayers, maybe even Woromay. Interesting. It’s an open-ended fun story, existing scan too bad to post.
Horror writer Ward Blake searches for a fabled “bronze clock of Tibet”. When chiming the artifact is revealing projections of terrifying events of history. Blake finally finds the clock in Cairo and kills the owner to get his hands on the timepiece. Ward then uses the clock as inspiration for countless bestselling horror novels. But success comes with a price. The clock begins to drive Blake insane.
This story, too, is on display at Karswell’s.
Enter Louis Ravielli at QUALITY HORROR! “Prehistoric Beast” is his first contribution. Very foolish story and very fitting for Ravielli’s foolish art.
Museum curator Edmond Manard unfreezes a prehistoric man from an iceberg and brings him back to life by transfusing him his blood. From now on the ice age man goes on a rampage – and Manard experiences the same pain as the creature, because… see panel below:
You gotta be kidding me! If you wanna kid yourself some, kid-click on THIS link and find the story on Karswell’s seminal blog “The Horrors of it All”.
Second Nicholas job is “The Ghoul of Ghost Swamp”, the story corresponding to this issue’s cover. And it’s the next feeble yarn!
“Ghost Swamp” in the Florida everglades is said to host a supernatural ghoulish creature killing all who dare enter. An oil surveying expedition penetrates the swamp and gets wiped out by a swift-acting being in a weird mask. One of the company men donning a costume is behind the murders, but gets strangled by the real swamp ghoul.
There. I spoiled it for ya by telling you the twisty ending. Gosh. What a sorry excuse for a horror story. See for yourself.
Blogger Karswell put up the whole issue. This saddie, too. Click it, buster.
Cover: (Collage of frightened faces discovering a witch’s head in the sky) – Reed Crandall
“The Witch of Death” (Charles Nicholas + ?)
“The Monster Genie” (???)
“Lighthouse of the Dead” (???)
“The Sealed Corpse” (???)
Crazy “collage” cover! May be a montage of leftover Crandall art.
And a big question mark issue concerning the artwork! We’re only sure of Charles Nicholas – again in the leading spot.
“The Witch of Death” is a quite wordy tale with surprisingly little depiction of violence.
Newspaperman Dick Groom arrives in New England’s Misty Moors community to cover „Witchery Week“. The local Duncan family is decimated one by one – haunted by the curse of the once alive moor witch. The last family member, the lovely Dora, is spared – for a sinister reason.
Story is posted on Karswell’s seminal blog THE HORRORS OF IT ALL.
“The Monster Genie” found its way on my website FIFTIES HORROR. Although this is a ratio-twist story, it’s a delectable baddie.
Bank teller Arthur Cook is offered the services of a mighty genie. After the brute has disposed of two of Cook’s enemies, Cook murders the genie’s master. To save money and to operate the fiend himself. Too late Cook realizes he had fallen for an elaborate scam. Do yourself a favor and go read it.
“Lighthouse of the Dead” – I scanned that and offered it to be published in Craig Yoe’s and Steven Banes’ bi-monthly HAUNTED HORROR. Did they ever use it? No, they didn’t. I’ll send it again.
Story’s not much, but the art is really something. Skeletal zombies attacking a quiet fishing village! Have a look at some sample panels – and go buy HAUNTED HORROR. It will be in there sometime in the future…
Last story in this issue, “The Sealed Corpse”, is another (gladly quite rare) example of a ratio-twist straight out of DC HORROR.
The butler Jeffers murders his employer, Sir Wendell Eaton. When Scotland Yard detective Peabody impersonates Eaton’s ghost, Jeffers panics and confesses.
QUALITY HORROR does not find its own footing. The writers take motifs out of the “How to do horror” model kit and paste together their kind of horror stories. Am very much reminded of the practice at STANDARD HORROR. Do one story about each of these topics: ghosts, witches, genies, devils, demons, magic artifacts, zombies, shrunken heads … and so on ..
Cover: (White skeletal zombie frightening a building crew) – Chuck Cuidera ?
“The Dreaded Crypts of Horror” (???)
“The Haunted Forest” (Charles Nicholas + )
“The Demon Coat” (Charles Nicholas + ?)
“The Corpse Who Prowled by Night” (Charles Nicholas + ?)
This is a Charles Nicholas issue! The lead story is now NOT by him, but the rest of the stories are.
“The Dreaded Crypts of Horror” misses every story logic, but it is quite entertaining.
Rich Uncle Cyrus summons his four heirs to his mansion in the marshland. The money will be theirs if they survive a night in specially prepared rooms of horror.
The rooms are a voodoo hut, an Aztec torture chamber, the apartment of Jack the Ripper and a room of the Spanish inquisition. Won’t tell you more, because the story is posted on Karswell’s seminal blog THE HORRORS OF IT ALL.
“The Haunted Forest” is nice as well, although there’s a ratio-twist attached.
Yates and Manning, professional debunkers of the supernatural, tackle a last mystery no one dare solve up to now – the haunted forest. Every man going on came back a raving maniac. Yates and Manning travel inside and are confronted with attacking trees and giant spiders. Only Manning returns from the haunted forest – hopelessly mad.
I posted the story, although I only have a low-res scan available.
“The Demon Coat” is another fun story.
Millionaire collector John Masterson comes into possession of king Tut’s Egyptian “demon coat”, a jacket which – once donned – scares its wearer to death with frightful visions. The killing coat passes from hand to hand until it’s finally destroyed.
Nicholas’ Egyptian monsters are truly terrifying! I’ll allow you a glimpse:
Go see the story posted on Karswell’s seminal blog THE HORRORS OF IT ALL.
“The Corpse Who Prowled by Night” is next: A road construction disturbs the eternal rest of evil Silas Dunster. His corpse stalks the building crew and murders quite a few of them. Story rewards us with excellent scenes of exuberant violence – but is marred by an inane ratio-twist ending!
Go see the story posted on Karswell’s seminal blog THE HORRORS OF IT ALL.
WEB #15 is a capable issue. Art is pleasant. Stories are okay. Some really nice panels you won’t see anywhere else.
Cover: (Smoke-like wraith appearing at séance and strangling man) – Charles Nicholas + Chuck Cuidera ?
“The Medium of Murder” (Chuck Cuidera ?)
“The Fiend of Terror Moutain” (Charles Nicholas + Jack Cole ?)
“The Hamlet of Horror” (Charles Nicholas)
“Death’s Vengeance” (Charles Nicholas + ?)
Zakor, master medium, offers his services to underworld czar Keller in “The Medium of Murder”. Zakor conjures ghosts from beyond to dispose of Keller’s rival mobsters. The gangster obeys his every wish, although Zakor employs a trusty assistant named Maja to commit the murders in costume. Then Zakor takes over the crime business himself and pushes Keller out of the picture. But now a real ghost appears and murders the evil Zakor.
Embarrassingly inane and stupid story; I saw every trick and twist coming.
“The Fiend of Terror Moutain” is a crime story which can’t win me over, either.
The brutish Roco escapes from a mental institution and finds shelter at the house of the criminal Mr. Leache. He uses Roco’s strength for a series of holdup murders and thefts. When Leache learns of a terminal illness he’s carrying, he orders Roco to kill him in an unobserved moment. The doctor, however, made a mistake and confused medical reports…
Over-constructed and utterly unbelievable hogwash.
Can “The Hamlet of Horror” save the show? No, no, no, no, no, nohohohohoooo…. This issue presents us the next lackluster story:
John Ames and his wife Doris have a car accident in the wilderness and are taken by a gang of misshapen creatures. They plan on operating on John and Doris to transform them into members of their tribe. The couple manages to outwit them and returns to civilization.
Ca-ripes! This isn’t going anywhere. Strange. After a fine #15, this issue #16 is like night to day. This seems to be characteristic for QUALITY HORROR. These books are a gamble. You can only hope for a winner. Maybe our last story is that spark to light up our gore-thirsty souls!
“Death’s Vengeance” is indeed the issue’s best story (which isn’t saying much). It’s okay. Curator Arthur Dunster collects Aztec relics of horror. When museum visitors laugh at his stories, the ancient artifacts come to life and prove their truth by killing the explorers who desecrated their tombs.
There’s a nice row of panels showing us a creepy death scene, for example:
Although there’s a ratio-twist coming, it’s a psychological one I can live with for once. Since no story of WEB #16 has been shown publicly before, we give you “Death’s Vengeance” – on display in our “Stories” section.
Cover: (Bearded chinaman in foreground noticing man behind him running away from ghostly hands grabbing for him) – Chuck Cuidera ?
“Return of the Dead” (Charles Nicholas + ?)
“The Fiend Who Lived Forever” (Louis Ravielli)
“Terror in Chinatown” (Charles Nicholas)
“The Avenging Ghosts” (Charles Nicholas)
Like in last issue’s “Death’s Vengeance” I get the feeling that Charles Nicholas might be inked by Chuck Cuidera in the lead story “Return of the Dead” – supplying his pencils with a nice “Crandall” touch. Doesn’t help a rather lame story, though.
Serge Lamont builds a machine to communicate with the dead. He uses it to learn all the magic secrets of the recently deceased magician Zendali. Zendali, however, comes back to full life and takes Lamont back to his grave.
“The Fiend Who Lived Forever” marks Ravielli’s second assignment (after WEB #13) for QUALITY HORROR. But, omigosh, it’s another futile attempt at creating a horror story: Reed Perry experiments with life and death and makes his body impenetrable to bullets. Perry becomes a walking dead man who commits crimes in broad daylight. Too late he realizes that all comes with a price. He lets himself being buried alive.
That doesn’t sound too bad, but the way it’s handled is very tedious and run-of-the-mill in the worst way. “The Fiend Who Lived Forever” can be read on Steven Thompson’s most wonderful blog “Four Color Shadows”.
So what’s about “Terror in Chinatown”? In here the main character is called Lamont by family name. I am pretty sure this is the FOURTH time a character in this series is named Lamont! Are Quality writers THAT brain-dead? Can’t come up with fresh names for characters? Got no phone book at hand? Or are they using a FORMULA SCRIPT where the names are set?
This Lamont is called August by first name. The collector searches frantically for a Chinese “book of the dead” holding great secrets. Lamont murders two book dealers to get his hands on the tome. By opening the book Lamont suffers terrible visions of past crimes – the last one showing his own murder.
You know where this is heading. Uninteresting! Finale is here:
“The Avenging Ghosts” is more mystery than horror, nothing spectacular happens in this tale.
Gangsters Pete and Joey escape from their prison island in a motorboat and land on the “island of honesty” where no crime ever happens.
Anyone who steals something will be imprisoned in a madhouse while his spectral form is doomed to cruise the coastline on a ship of ghosts forever.
Guess what happens to Pete and Joey!
Cover: (Scientist startles from zombie appearing at the window) – Chuck Cuidera ?
“The Messenger from Beyond” (???)
“Scared to Death” (Charles Nicholas)
“The Inhuman Creature” (Charles Nicholas + ?)
“Crypt of the Living” (Louis Ravielli)
None of the stories in this issue were yet posted on the internet. Is there a very good reason for it? Let’s find out… Ulp!
“The Messenger from Beyond” is crime blended with supernatural horror.
Small-time crook Zero Martin is shot by mobster Big Eddie and dies on the operating table. A pact with dead gangsters from beyond brings him back to life. The ghosts may use Martin’s body to avenge their deaths; and a ruthless Martin becomes the new crime czar – until one of the ghosts seeks out a deadly confrontation.
Fairly entertaining on well-balanced 9 pages, “The Messenger from Beyond” is still not inventive enough to deserve a posting. But not a bad start for a horror comic book.
And I like “Scared to Death”, the next story – about revenge, too.
Medical student Guy Bradbury is victim of a cruel prank. Three of his friends scare him with a corpse, because Bradbury believes in supernatural phenomena. Bradbury is accidentally mutilated and fakes his own death. Years later he returns to teach his doctor friends a grim lesson.
“The Inhuman Creature” is a mountaineering story! Gotta have one of those! Snowmen and such. Not the Christmassy kind, but the abominable type, of course…
Unconquered mount Karachi claims two victims and is furthermore haunted by a wild man attacking the next mountaineering expeditions. When the first victim’s son, Jean Beauchamp, arrives on the mountain top, he is shocked to learn that the “monster” is none other than his missing father.
Another MILD horror yarn, and not really a horror story. I suspect the same writer in all of these stories. WEB #18 so far offers okay stuff, well-written plots in the mystery vein, but no shock value. Is QUALITY HORROR adjusting to the coming Comics Code?! The zany, crashing entertainment bursting at the seams of believability of the first issues is gone, far gone…
“Crypt of the Living” is a kind of a filler story, narratively not that well-balanced as the others. And it is a ratio-twist affair: In the Texas countryside Sheriff Peters has to deal with father and daughter Eaglesham – risen from the tomb to claim back their land. The supposedly walking dead, however, are a couple of impostors trying to get hold of a valuable Uranium lode.
Ravielli’s crude artwork has its fascinating moments of trash value, but I always wonder: Whom is he swiping? Al Williamson?
Anyone interested in reading the whole issue? Please do so on COMIC BOOK PLUS!
Cover: (Giant fiend in red shirt towering over three frightened men) – Chuck Cuidera ?
“The Half-Creatures of the Sargasso Sea” (???)
“Demon of the Pit” (Charles Nicholas + ?)
“The Fiend from Outer Space” (Louis Ravielli)
“The Skid Row Monster” (Charles Nicholas + ?)
“The Half-Creatures of the Sargasso Sea” is about exactly those. Explorer Paul Raymond has set his mind to proving to his colleagues at the club that there are mysteries to be found in the Sargasso Sea. He travels there, encounters a race of fish men and manages to bring back one of the creatures. But Larpo murders the president of the explorers’ club and swims off. Raymond is apprehended for murder and put away in a mental institution.
Okay story with quite nice mystery art. I found “The Half-Creatures of the Sargasso Sea” posted on a new blog (founded in spring 2015) about “the paranormal and occult in popular culture” called “A Higher Strangeness”.
“Demon of the Pit” starts out promising, but waters down to a revenge-crime-mystery.
Two years ago convicted killer Caesar Renard survived a volcanic eruption which buried the prison he lived in. Now he surfaces from his underground hideout to stalk and murder the commissioner who put him into jail. They wrestle atop the volcanic pit and fall to their deaths.
I love this inane detail on page 2 of the story: The commissioner keeps a bust of the convicted killer in his office. Handy!
“The Fiend from Outer Space” is one of Ravielli’s best jobs (so good it was confused with art by John Rosenberger), certainly his most popular. Story was reprinted in George Suarez’ pre-code horror fanzine TALES TOO TERRIBLE TO TELL #8.
Scientist Martin develops a test machine for rocket flight capable of accelerating with over 10 Gs of gravity. During a test run pilot Major Blake is overexposed and transformed into a brutish creature from a neighboring dimension. Martin learns of the aliens’ plan to conquer earth and destroys his machine by sacrificing himself.
“The Fiend from Outer Space” is posted on Karswell’s seminal blog THE HORRORS OF IT ALL. Although there’s a deft touch of science fiction, this tale isn’t half-bad. The grotesque transformation in the cockpit of the machine is memorable – and partly based on fact. A human face will distort when exposed to enormous acceleration! Remember that famous photograph showing a test pilot under gravity stress?
“The Skid Row Monster” is a thinly disguised detective-mystery affair with a ratio-twist attached. Reads like a leftover plot from KEN SHANNON.
A hooded figure calling himself Vengeance calls upon down-and-out lawyer Arthur Drake. He pulls Drake out of the gutter and makes him a member of his criminal gang. Vengeance poses as an all-powerful demon, but has only drugged his underlings to believe so. Drake is able to resist and puts an end to the crime spree.
Yes, buster, that was another half-baked attempt at creating a pre-code horror book! Next time I’ll cover my eyes with wax pellets – so your drivel won’t reach me!
Cover: (Giant sea serpent rising from the sea and toppling over rowboat with three men) – Chuck Cuidera ?
“Katumba – The Man-Made Terror” (Harry Lazarus ? + Chuck Cuidera ?)
“Make-Up for Horror” (Charles Nicholas + ?)
“The Monster from the Deep” (Louis Ravielli)
“Death from the Tomb” (Charles Nicholas + ?)
(A damaged scan of the cover of #20. The fourth man’s head in the lower left corner seems added for effect and is utterly unnecessary)
That cover reminds us of former WEB title pages: We had a dinosaur-like serpent on issue #4 and the “Ghoul of Ghost Swamp” on issue #13. There, too, we saw frightened people in a rowboat (two, man and woman). Another boat with a shocked couple was present on the very first WEB cover. Just telling ya!
Jim Vadeboncoeur, Jr. saw the possibility of Harry Lazarus pencils in “Katumba – The Man-Made Terror”. I am not so sure about it, but dead sure about the utter nonsensicability of this story. I know it’s not a word, but it fits perfectly. The tale harkens back to two previous QUALITY HORROR stories: “The Subterranean Beast” from WEB #9 (their first take-off on “King Kong”) and issue #3’s “The Beast from Beyond” about a mechanical monster!
Katumba is a legendary monster gorilla from the island of Martinique. Trent and Crane, owners of a “Hall of Oddities”, travel to Martinique and build a fake Katumba there – to attract audiences at home. First Trent, then Crane operates the big ape from the inside to murder one another. Story is posted on Karswell’s seminal blog THE HORRORS OF IT ALL.
“Make-Up for Horror” is so laughably constructed it’s actually quite fun: Ezra Fear (sic!) is Hollywood’s master make-up artist. His trade secret: There is no make-up. He uses a “chemical Z” to frightfully alter the appearance of actors he kidnapped, drugged and keeps caged in his cellar. His “creatures” manage to escape from their prisons during a storm and use the hideous drug on their tormentor. Fear is now disfigured beyond recognizability and… Wait, I won’t spoil it all in advance.
Although the existing scan is low-res I chose to post “Make-Up for Horror” in our “Stories” section. Enjoy under THIS link.
Which brings us to “The Monster from the Deep”, this issue’s contribution by Signore Ravielli, not Ravioli, mind you. An atom bomb test in the Pacific opens up a crack in the sea bottom and releases an ancient, dinosaur-like sea serpent. Professor Drake witnesses the monster’s rampage and tries to convince the government of its existence. But no one believes him. And it all happens aboard the sturdy craft “Albatross”. What’s that? Albatross, you say?
Click the “Albatross” for more insight! “The Monster from the Deep” is posted on Karswell’s seminal blog THE HORRORS OF IT ALL.
“Death from the Tomb” presents one of the most ridiculous mummies in comics’ history!
Professor Denton’s expedition explores the insides of an Aztec pyramid in Mexico. Expedition member Carlson is found raving mad, and then goes missing. Denton faces the attacking mummy of king Kataw. He barely manages to escape and seals the pyramid forever. The ratio-twist (which I saw coming, yesyes) being that Carlson disguised himself as king Kataw. He wants to scare off the expedition to get his hands on the Aztec treasure alone. Well, well, who’d have thunk?!
I wanna cry out “Aggraaa!” – and you, ungentle comic book publishers, you bury my brain at Wounded Knee.
Cover: (White-clad very old man with walking stick frightening two explorer-types with lantern in background) – Chuck Cuidera ?
“Death’s Album” (???)
“The Man Who Lived Forever” (Sheldon Moldoff + ?)
“Spectre of the Andes” (Louis Ravielli)
“One Night of Terror” (Charles Nicholas + Dick Beck ?)
Last issue! But: What kind of a wretched cover is that?! Is that a senior citizen in the foreground spooking two onlookers in the night?
I am tempted to attribute the art in “Death’s Album” to Jack Cole (pencil layouts), although he has not been spotted since issue #11… but will not punch it into the database. The question mark’s too big. Nah, it’s not Cole, but someone is making an effort emulating that Cole-ish dynamic in some panels.
Else the story’s about Alec Marston, freelance photographer, who witnesses an accident at an atomic laboratory. His camera lens is somehow altered and reveals three emissaries of death behind the catastrophe. Marston becomes a tragedy seeker and stages accidents, taking photos of the demons at work. Until the demons who demand he must destroy the camera find a way to get back at him. Ah, the magic camera! This plot gimmick has been used before…
Story idea seems to be swiped from “The Man Who Saw Too Much” (published in Fawcett’s THIS MAGAZINE IS HAUNTED #7, October 1952).
If you’d like to compare, good ol’ Karswell has it posted (click on link).
And we had Quality’s own WEB #6 (see there) – the story about the hitman whose photographic image was haunted by the appearance of a spectre.
Story’s nothing special, but the art is entertaining and has some show value. Find “Death’s Album” posted HERE. By clicking on teaser panel below:
Ladies and Gentlemen, in “The Man Who Lived Forever” we witness Sheldon Moldoff’s LAST horror story ever. The man who created FAWCETT HORROR (see HERE my website about it) and who was disgracefully shown the door there in the fall of 1953, this man continued as freelancing horrorist for ACG, Charlton and Quality. The arrival of the Comics Code put an end to his “terrorific” oeuvre. How nice that Shelly is involved in the last issue of QUALITY HORROR. Gotta celebrate the little things in life, ya know…?
“The Man Who Lived Forever” is an age-old sage living on a plateau in the Canadian wilderness. One day three prospectors parachute in as visitors looking for uranium. Soon the three men are more interested in the special herbs which grant the sage his longevity. One kills the others and escapes with a sample back to civilization, only to see his plans of eternal life failed brutally. Because the herbs have their effect ONLY when taken on the high altitude of the plateau. Yadda, yadda, yadda – boooring!
“Spectre of the Andes” is your last chance to ogle some distorted faces drawn by Signore Ravielli. His last horror story as well!
A tourist couple arrives in the Peruvian village of Vortezo where a Spanish conquistador of the same name reigned with brutal terror. In a brewing thunderstorm Vortezo comes to life and whips the townsfolk into obedience. The brave US tourist Allan exposes Vortezo as a scam, for he is in reality a costumed and power-hungry tourist guide.
That is no horror story, but an adventure yarn gone haywire. Kinda fun! What the heck – we’ll post it! Click on miniature splash to the right.
“One Night of Terror” is all it takes now to conclude QUALITY HORROR. It’s a straight science-fiction action yarn!
A meteor comes down in the desert near Ghost City valley. Some prospectors go searching for it, but discover an alien spaceship. The robot-like visitors raid the small town and take the humans as specimen back to their star. The only survivor, Professor Drake, can hide, but no one believes his fantastic tale.
See? Straight as it gets. The art of Charles Nicholas is awkward when applied to science fiction. There’s one great sequence of panels which I’ll show you – before closing up this here website… Enjoy!
Oh, cripes! I almost forget QUALITY HORROR’s other book!
How can one forget INTRIGUE #1? Very easily!
Because it’s a half-assed one-shot issue. And a complete reprint of WEB material cover to cover.
Cover: (Ghoulish madman crashes through solid door, shocking two men hiding behind it) – Chuck Cuidera ?
“Death Swamp” (???) – reprinted from WEB OF EVIL #1
“The Corpse that Wouldn’t Die!” (Jack Cole) – reprinted from WEB OF EVIL #2
“The Vengeful Curse” (Jack Cole) – reprinted from WEB OF EVIL #5
“Ghost Ship” (???)– reprinted from WEB OF EVIL #2
“Death Swamp” is shortened by one page, slightly rearranged and retitled (the original story was called „Ghosts of Doom“).
INTRIGUE doesn’t carry the code seal yet, but would surely not have gotten one. Too much walking corpses, murder scenes and skeletons inside. Funny that the cover artist (Cuidera?) paid homage to Jack Cole’s two door-breaking splashs we find inside. Though the second one in “Vengeful Curse” is no door, but a broken wall…