atom's Comic Book Blogs

  • atom | Male | Utah

"I have a lot of issues. . ."

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

July 2024




Welcome to Longbox Junk, the place to find comic reviews you never even knew you wanted!

It's PART SEVEN of the 2023 Longbox Junk Halloween Horror Party, and we're just getting started!
Hmmmmm. . .something seems to be missing.  Let's see.  Swamp monsters. Ghosts. Aliens. Assorted weirdness.  GOT IT! We're missing some of the classic horror favorites. . .werewolves, vampires, and SATAN!
Let's remedy that, shall we?  WE SHALL!


Atlas Comics (1975)

COVER: Larry Lieber
Now THERE'S a great Halloween cover.  A Classic Universal monster movie-style werewolf looming over his unfortunate victim while a woman screams in the background.  Can you get any more Halloween than THAT?  This is one of my favorite Halloween covers and it makes regular appearances on my October "Wall 'O Covers".  
The only thing I DON'T like is that the werewolf's face seems a bit sloppy with the colors.  Other than that, when I think Halloween comic covers, this is the sort of thing that comes right to mind.  Let's get inside!
Three full-length stories with no fillers for ONE quarter! Let's check 'em out!
SCRIPT: Russ Jones
PENCILS: Jerry Grandenetti
INKS: Jerry Grandenetti
We begin in England, at an ancient circle of stones, where a dark magician completes a ritual that allows the spirit of Satan to inhabit a strange doll moments before he is discovered by the authorities and taken back to the asylum he had escaped from.
Later, a young girl named Anna discovers the doll.  Almost immediately, she is possessed by the evil spirit.  Soon, Anna has prepared a secret altar to Satan in a spare room and pets in the neighborhood begin to disappear as Anna kills them for blood sacrifices.  
Anna's parents become concerned about her strange behavior, but it isn't until her mother discovers a knife that she connects the missing pets to her daughter.  Anna's horrified mother discovers the secret room and witnesses her daughter praying at the altar!
Anna's father rushes home to discover the body of his wife, a secret room with a altar, and his daughter mocking him with an adult's voice.  His mind snaps as he witnesses the spirit of Satan leave his daughter's body and reveal itself!
A fire breaks out, burning down the house.  Anna's father is the only survivor. . .a broken wreck of a man babbling about the devil.  He's committed to the asylum, where he meets the magician, who is preparing another doll. . .
A nasty little tale of the devil indeed!  There's really not much to it, but the overall atmosphere is just creepy.  A big part of that comes from the art, which reminds me of some of the pre-code horror comics I have, with chunky, dark lines, and a nightmarish, twisted exaggeration.  
 Bold splashes of color continue the homage to the kind of horror comics that gave us the Comics Code.  Just LOOK at the panel below and tell me it doesn't look like something straight from 1952!
Overall, a creepy little tale backed up with some outstanding Golden Age homage art!  This one's gotten us off to a good start for this issue.  NEXT!
SCRIPT:  Russ Jones
PENCILS:  Mike Sekowsky
INKS: George Roussos (?)
We begin  our tale as a , yet human, creature violently kills a man and a woman in a laboratory. 
But how did we get here?
Irene and Andre are business partners in the hairpiece industry.  Andre is a scientist and is experimenting with a world-changing hair replacement product, but their funds have ran dry.  
Luckily for them, a well-known millionaire comes to them, promising to pay any price if they can make his hair grow back.  Andre immediately takes advantage of their good fortune by completing his final experiment and creating pills from wolf hormones that he gives to Chester, their new millionaire partner.
They are all astounded when Chester returns with new hair growing on his head!  The millionaire begins to pour more money into the project, with their first mass shipment coming soon.

Unfortunately for Chester, over the next four days the side effects progress from mild headaches to horrific nightmares of blood and death.  Chester finally realizes to his horror that he's not suffering nightmares, he's turning into a beastlike creature and committing murder each night!
Enraged that he's been turned into a bloodthirsty monster, Chester confronts Irene and Andre and kills them both. . .but not in time to stop the first large shipment of pills from going out. 
An interesting twist on the classic werewolf story.  Instead of the moon turning a man into a beast, it's SCIENCE!  Once again we have a story that delivers a homage to the Pre-Code horror comics that gave us the Comics Code.  
From the scheming couple to the innocent man caught up in their greed and having his revenge, to the dark, bold lines of the artwork, this story could have easily been in an issue of something like EC's Vault of Horror (a pre-code comic I have an issue of that will be making an appearance later on during this little party).
Overall, I'm really liking the Golden Age horror throwback feel to this issue.  This story was a great little read, and I'm hoping the Golden Age style continues into the last story.  Let's find out!
SCRIPT:  Russ Jones (as Jack Younger)
PENCILS: Jerry Grandenetti
INKS: Jerry Grandenetti
We begin our tale with a man in a graveyard wondering how he'd gotten conned into this crazy game.

We skip back in time a bit to observe the man at a party, where a wager is made for one thousand dollars that he will be unable to spend a night in the cemetery. . .a cemetery that is purported to be the home of a vampire, based on legends going back over two hundred years.  The man accepts the bet, firm in his belief that vampires don't exist.
Coming back to the present, in the cemetery, the man is startled by a ringing bell and drops his bag.  As he goes to recover his belongings, he discovers stairs going down to catacombs below. . .tunnels he had not been aware of.  He heads in, determined not to let fear get the better of him. . .
Now inside the dank catacombs, the man is stricken by an unreasonable fear when he stumbles onto caskets, broken and open. . .he runs blindly, his one thought being to escape!  He spots a light and runs toward it, clutching a sharpened stake in his hand! It must be the vampire!
Suddenly, a pale man stands before him! Gaining strength from fear, the man plunges the stake into his heart!  Screams cry out as the movie crew rushes to grab the man that has just killed their lead actor!  Unaware, the man has stumbled onto a movie set, where they are making a vampire film.
As the police lead the killer away into their car, he spots a strange man in the crowd, smiling, revealing his fangs.  The REAL vampire!
A very nice, moody piece with an unexpected double twist ending. . .the vampire isn't real. . .WAIT! Yes it is!  Very well done.  I've read a LOT of horror comics and a twist ending I don't see coming is definitely a treat because it doesn't happen often.
This story has the same artist as the first, so it continues the Golden Age horror homage look to be found through this whole issue, with bold, chunky lines and just a bit of nightmarishly twisted exaggeration.  
Overall, a very enjoyable little "twist" story backed up with MORE Golden Age horror throwback art.


This one's a winner, folks.  From page one to page done, a great read, with creepy stories and great art.  I REALLY enjoyed the Golden Age horror feel of this comic.  I'm not sure if it was an intentional homage or not, but it's there and it's great!  
I highly recommend this issue for any fan of comic book horror.  It's a very nice little hidden treasure and a certified Longbox Junk gold nugget.  THIS is MY idea of a great Halloween comic.
Like all the other Atlas Comics series, this one doesn't have many issues (just 3).  I've discussed the sad and all-too-short story of  Atlas in a little more depth ELSEWHERE , so I won't go back over that ground except to say that they are one of the more interesting little chapters in comic history and that they were probably ahead of their time by about 20 years (In the 90s Image Comics took up pretty much the same cause as Atlas did, but with a lot more success).
But because Atlas Comics are still remembered fondly (despite having lasted less than a year), the comics they put out ARE a little collectible, and some are harder to find than others.  Tales of Evil is one of the harder to find series, and I've never seen any of them in a back issue bin except this one I bought from a comic shop that was sadly going out of business.
That's not to say they're not out there.  So if you're looking for some great Golden Age horror throwback stories, keep your eyes peeled and be sure to grab any of these you might come across!
UP NEXT. . .
Let's keep this party going with some more Gold Key goodness. . .
Be there or be square.

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Welcome back to Longbox Junk, the place to find comic reviews nobody ever asked for!

Sorry for a bit of delay.  The challenges of trying to run a hotel on a skeleton crew while having typical summer tourist sellout guest traffic aren't what most people would call "fun".  It's made worse because at the same time people are getting out and about on their normal summertime travels, we're having a hard time hiring new employees because our government has decided that, for some strange reason, it's a GREAT idea to pay people more to sit home on unemployment than to come back to work full time.  


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