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Longbox Junk Halloween 2023 Part 8 Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery #59

  • atom | Male | Utah

"I have a lot of issues. . ."

I write comic book reviews that NOBODY has ever asked for!

March 2024




Welcome to Longbox Junk, where I just keep on writing comic reviews nobody asked for!

IT'S OCTOBER!  The change of season is in the air.  Snow on the mountains here in Utah.  The crisp fall breezes.  People driving like they've never seen rain. Christmas music in the grocery store. Pumpkin Spice-flavored cole slaw at the Chuck-A-Rama. But best of all. . .The Longbox Junk Halloween Horror Marathon!
We're up to part EIGHT!  There's been real treats in the pumpkin bucket so far this year. . .but also some candy corn.  Nobody wants candy corn in the bucket.  So let's knock on another door and see what we get next!


Gold Key (1975)

COVER: George Wilson
Hmmm. . .interesting.  I like the white (ish) background, but the rest of it is just sort of underwhelming.  George Wilson is a great, unsung Bronze Age artist responsible for some of the best painted covers to EVER grace a comic book, but this one. . .this one isn't his best work.  It's just okay.  Let's get inside!
Four. . .count 'em. . .FOUR full-length stories in this issue. If we still got four stories in a comic today, maybe I wouldn't mind paying five bucks an issue so much.  But enough of that. Let's take a look at these stories!
PENCILS: Adolfo Buylla
After the nobleman, Count Kalman, rescues a mentally-handicapped young man named Josip from a village mob, Kalman takes him on for an assistant during his experiments into the animal nature of humankind.
After drinking a mixture concocted of wolf brains, combined with an ancient Egyptian formula he discovered, Count Kalman begins to notice his body changing.  Soon, he has transformed into a man-wolf. . .running rampant through the village and brutally killing three men!
As the distraught Kalman frantically tries to formulate an antidote to what he's done to himself, the villagers arrive at his castle in a mob, demanding he hand over Josip. . .believing the mentally-unstable young man is behind the killings.  
Fearful to be seen in his condition, Kalman lets the mob take Josip, even though he knows the young man is innocent.  As the villagers drag Josip away, he manages to escape!
Later, Count Kalman is relieved to see the change reversing and he becomes fully-human once again.  He hears pounding upon the door.  Thinking the mob has returned, he goes to see what they want.  To Kalman's surprised terror, there is no mob, but Josip. . .transformed into a wolf-man!
He had also drunk the mixture, and now he has his revenge on his former master, brutally killing him for handing him over to the mob.

Okay. . .not bad.  Another werewolf story for the Longbox Junk Halloween party.  Nothing wrong with that!  It's got a lot of Frankenstein-style science gone wrong flavor.  I liked this one quite a bit.  The ending was a bit abrupt, but still a pretty good Halloween story.  The art is what I would call serviceable.  It's not bad, but it doesn't do much more than just tell the story.  
Overall, not a bad start at all.  NEXT!
PENCILS: Jose Delbo
INKS: Jose Delbo (?)
In the deep woods of France, near a small village, a brutish, hairy beast has terrorized the villagers for years.  Children are frightened with tales of "The Beast of Bretonne", which is known to steal livestock, but not attack unless provoked, so the villagers have learned to stay away from the beast's cave.
But then, one night a travelling circus passes by the village and is caught in a storm.  The circus-folk have heard the legends of the Beast of Bretonne and are fearful of being caught near its cave.
But when they actually DO encounter the beast in its lair, the circus-folk are surprised to find the ferocious beast is nothing more than a deformed man, much like themselves, and living in misery due to the hate and fear of everyone who has ever seen him.
The circus owner takes in the beast and makes him part of the show.  He becomes their most popular attraction and becomes a beloved member of the circus family. . .proving that beauty IS in the eye of the beholder.
It's a tale as old as time. . .Beauty and the Beast.  I found this story to be surprisingly engaging.  Sweet without being sappy.  Not much of a horror story, but still a nice read.  Once again, the art is just sort of there to tell the story and not much else.  Overall, I liked this one, even though it's not really what I'm looking for as part of a Halloween Horror party.
SCRIPT: Freff  (Connor Freff Cochran)
PENCILS: John Celardo
INKS: John Celardo
On the small Greek island of Aideus, Professor Kurland and his assistant, Fred, discover a beautiful vase.  Upon examination, the Professor is excited to see that it is the culmination of a forty year career of searching.  They have finally discovered the Vase of Circe!
As Fred becomes concerned with the Professor's obsession with their discovery, we learn that Circe was an ancient Greek witch, who used her powers to ensnare the hearts of men to do her evil bidding. 
 As Fred studies through that night, he is startles by a strange sound.  Rushing to investigate, he finds the Professor before the vase, with a strange mist coming out of it.  He tries to warn the Professor, but it's too late. . .before Fred's terrified eyes, Professor Kurland is transformed into a goat-like monster!
The transformed Professor Kurland attacks Fred!  As they struggle in the woods, Fred manages to escape.  Realizing that destroying the vase is probably the best chance of saving Kurland, Fred rushes back to camp, pursued by the goat-like creature Kurland has become!
Fred grabs a hammer and destroys the vase before the goat-creature can stop him.  It explodes in a blast of smoke.  When the smoke clears, Kurland is himself again. . .but has no recollection of his transformation.  They decide not to try and restore the vase, so that Circe's magic won't trap anyone else.

Meh.  Not a very good story.  Magic vase is found.  Magic vase turns a man into a monster.  Magic vase is destroyed.  All is well.  There's not much to like about this threadbare plot.  It's not scary, funny, strange, or interesting at all.  
It's just sort of. . .there. Let's move along.
PENCILS: Frank Bolle
INKS: Frank Bolle
The day after a mysterious light is seen in the sky near the town of Elmont, a young boy named Glen finds what he thinks is some sort of strange rubber doll in the woods.  He brings it home and his father takes notice of his son's new toy.
Glen's father realizes that the "doll" isn't made of rubber.  It's some sort of dead creature!  Glen takes his father into the woods, and near where he found the strange creature they are astounded to find a crashed and wrecked spaceship of some kind, surrounded by more dead bodies.  ALIENS! 
As Glen and his father investigate the crashed ship, one remaining alien survivor stumbles from the wreck!  Terrified, Glen's father tries to shoot the alien thing, but his rifle has no effect. . .and the alien begins to grow!  The two of them rush for town with the still-growing alien in pursuit close behind.

Glen and his father make it into town and try to warn the local Sheriff, but before they can tell the story, the alien, now huge, makes its appearance!  But before the terrified townfolk can do anything, the creature falls down. . .dead.
As Glen's father investigates the body of the alien, he finds a book in its hand, stretched out as if it was trying to give the book to the humans.  As the alien body is taken away, Glen's father realizes that they may never be able to translate the alien language in the book.  
What secrets does it hold?  Mankind may never know.

Another dud to finish off this issue.  Not good.  This story just doesn't make much of an impression at all.  Yeah, I get that they were going for a "Twilight Zone Twist" ending, but it falls flat.  The art on this story is better than the previous three, thanks to comic veteran Frank Bolle. . .whose work I'm a bit more familiar with from Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom.  But even THAT doesn't save this story from being bland and forgettable.


Two pretty good stories.  Two pretty bad stories.  Half and half.  I'm not sure I can recommend this one based on two pretty good (not great) stories.  That's the problem with a lot of Gold Key comics. . .they're usually only halfway good.  Every issue I've ever read of any of their anthology titles has been the same. . .a couple pretty good stories.  A couple pretty bad stories.
Of the two pretty good stories in this particular issue, only one of them (the first werewolf story) can really even be looked at as a Halloween kind of story.  So I guess as part of the Longbox Junk Halloween Horror Party, I can't really recommend this issue.
I've said it before. . .I'll say it again.  They can't ALL be winners.  This one's barely even in the game.
UP NEXT. . .
The Longbox Junk Halloween party continues!
How about some more of that Mighty Marvel-style horror?
Be there or be square.
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