Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Poe 1973, Pt. 2

(Continued from Poe 1973, Pt. 1)

CHAMBER OF CHILLS  4
"THE OPENER OF THE CRYPT"

Marvel Comics (at times in its early history sometimes referred to as Timely or Atlas) was always a 2nd-level publisher-- somewhere in the middle as far as quality was concerned-- whose specialty was flooding the market with imitations of whatever was then currently popular.

By the early 70s, Marvel, now with their former Editor promoted to Publisher (after having managed to have former Publisher Martin Goodman's son Chip BOOTED out of that position), began flooding the market with as much product as possible, returning to their earlier business method of clogging the newsstands with so much crap they would literally squeeze their competitors out. It was a dirty job-- and these guys were the DIRTIEST.

CHAMBER OF CHILLS was one more of a growing number of titles swiped from earlier, defunct magazines.  In this case, it had originally been the name of a horror anthology from Harvey Comics, which ran 26 issues from 1951-54.  One need only glance at the various covers back then to see how sick and depraved (and presumably, "fun") some of their books were.  Hard to believe this is the same company that later became so reknowned for CASPAR THE FRIENDLY GHOST, WENDY THE GOOD LITTLE WITCH, HOT STUFF, not to mention RICHIE RICH and, my favorite, SAD SACK!!

Marvel's title ran 25 issues from 1972-76, during the height of that horror boom.  As with countless other magazines if this type Marvel cranked out in the 70s, it started with new material but soon became all-reprint.  Apparently, they felt it had reached a point where anything, anything at all, with the word "Marvel" in the title, fans would buy, no matter HOW awful it really was.

Which brings me to...

     "THE OPENER OF THE CRYPT".

Back in 1952, John Jakes decided to write a sequel to "THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO".  This was the sort of thing Richard Matheson later did when he worked with Roger Corman on the film "PIT AND THE PENDULUM".  Oddly enough, only 3 months after Jakes' story was published in Ziff-Davis' FANTASTIC Vol.1 #3 (Nov-Dec'52), Ajax-Farrell published a SWIPE of it in STRANGE FANTASY #4 (Feb'53)!  Both the original short story and the comic-book swipe were reprinted numerous times over the years.  But it took 21 years before someone got around to doing an official, licensed comics version of the story.

The artist was the incredible Frank Brunner.  To this day, I rank Brunner as the single BEST artist to ever illustrate DR. STRANGE after Steve Ditko departed the series he created single-handedly.  Of course, unlike Ditko, Brunner wasn't a writer, but when teamed with Steve Englehart, the results were absolutely mind-boggling.  Which makes it all the more silly (and tragic) that Brunner quit as soon as he did.  I suspect he's regretted that ever since.

The printing on this comic was so abominable, it took me far longer than it should have to clean up the lettering, just so it could be readable here.

CHAMBER OF CHILLS  4
cover by FRANK BRUNNER   (Marvel  /  May 1973)
"THE OPENER OF THE CRYPT"  (a sequel to "A CASK OF AMONTILLADO")
Story by John Jakes  /  Art by FRANK BRUNNER
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5
Page 6
Page 7
Page 8
Page 9
Copyright (C) Marvel Comics.

Scan of CHAMBER OF CHILLS #4 from the Heritage Auctions site.
Scans of CHAMBER OF CHILLS #4 interiors
     from the Diversions of the Groovy Kind blog.

Restorations by Henry R. Kujawa

For more:
Read about Edgar Allen Poe at Wikipedia.

Read about THE WEIRD CIRCLE radio show at Wikipedia.
Read about the SUSPENSE tv series at Wikipedia.
Read about Bela Lugosi at Wikipedia.
Read about Romney Brent at Wikipedia.
Read about Ray Walston at Wikipedia.
Read about Basil Rathbone at Wikipedia.
Read about THE CBS RADIO MYSTERY THEATER at Wikipedia.
Read about Richard Kiley at Wikipedia.
Read about Frances Sternhagen at Wikipedia.

Read about Marvel Comics at Wikipedia.
Read about John Jakes at Wikipedia.
Read about Frank Brunner at Wikipedia.

Read about THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO at Wikipedia.
Read the complete story at the xroads.virginia.edu site.

Hear the WEIRD CIRCLE radio episode!
Watch the SUSPENSE TV adaptation!
Hear the Basil Rathbone recording!
Hear the CBS RADIO MYSTERY THEATER episode!

Read the Graham Ingels AMONTILLADO adaptation!
Read the Rudy Palais AMONTILLADO adaptation!
See the Virgil Finlay AMONTILLADO illustrated story art!
      Read the Iger Shop AMONTILLADO sequel!
Read the Gedeone Malagola AMONTILLADO adaptation!
Read the Fran Matera AMONTILLADO adaptation!

Read the Reed Crandall AMONTILLADO adaptation!
Read the Osvaldo Talo AMONTILLADO adaptation!
Read the Edmundo Rodrigues AMONTILLADO adaptation!   (coming soon!)
     Read the Frank Brunner AMONTILLADO sequel!
     Read the Cirilo Munoz AMONTILLADO sequel!   (coming soon!)
Read the Jerry Grandenetti AMONTILLADO adaptation!
Read the Martin Salvador AMONTILLADO adaptation!

Read the Guido Del Carpio Rivera AMONTILLADO illustrated story!
Read the Don McGregor / Mike Golden AMONTILLADO adaptation!
Read the Noly Zamora AMONTILLADO adaptation!
Read the Pablo Marcos AMONTILLADO illustrated story!   (coming soon!)
Read the Walter James Brogan AMONTILLADO adaptation!   (coming soon!)

See my Edgar Allan Poe overview at this very blog!

(Continued in Poe 1973, Pt. 3)

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