Sunday, October 23, 2022

Haunted Thrills

Haunted Thrills was a short-lived horror and suspense series from Ajax-Ferrell Publications. Lasting 18 issues from 1952 to 1954, Haunted Thrills mostly printed reprint material from defunct precursors to Ferrell. About two original stories appeared per issue typically written and drawn, it's assumed, by the S.M. (Jerry) Iger Studio, the successor to the Eisener-Iger Studio after Will Eisner sold his share of the company in 1939-40. In 1955, Iger shut down the studio in 1955 and became the art director for Ajax-Ferrell until 1957 when he went into commercial art.

There are two stories for you today. "Monsters For Rent" from Haunted Thrills #3 (October 1952) and "Blood In the Sky" from Haunted Thrills #11 (September 1953).

Monsters For Rent

These two own a lake? If summer is bad then how do they survive the fall and winter?

I mean, why pay to use a lake when there are thousands of them out there for free?

It's the 1950s, why is the Loch Ness Monster front page news?

Can they not use "Loch Ness"? Is it a trademark thing?

Ugly? That thing actually looks kind of cute.

You're fishing. Of course it's boring!

You're not so great either, toots.

He has a point. If people are willing to pay for entrance into your lake or to rent a boat, hoping it won't be capsized by a monster, then you let them.

It. Is. Fake. Why is she so scared of it? It's basically Gypsy from Mystery Science Theater.

Oh. Well. I stand corrected. I owe her a Coke.

I'm assuming Sam made it to shore while the monster was distracted as it was chewing on his wife.

I have to admit that when I create something, I never think to add a self-destruct switch. Very smart that he added that.

I don't know why he thinks a gun is going to do what should've been an explosion couldn't. If anything, you're just going to make it mad.

The bullets! They do nothing!

Told you.

At least Sam will be reunited with Lorna soon.

The real monster is a robosexual!

I have no idea what is going on.

I still don't know what's going on. Was there already a monster in the lake that the fake monster woke up? Did the fake monster attract a real monster? Is the fake monster now somehow alive?

Blood In the Sky

This is the dumbest intro to a dumb comic book story I have ever read. They really went hard on the gardening(?) metaphor and I don't really think they knew where they were going with it.

Lucybelle. At least they say this takes place in a southern town to explain the dumb name. The man in brown also has a dumb name.


Lucybelle was going to go out with that guy? Are there not very many eligible bachelors in this town or is it a situation where it's such a small town, you're bound to date every guy you've gone to school with?

Cool. Lufe likes to drink in the cemetery.

What's with the gravestone? That's not a name. Is it supposed to be a date? Assuming it's MCIIX, that's not a valid Roman numeral. The closest it would be is 117. Maybe it's supposed to be 1909 which would be MCMIX.

I do really like the look of the cemetery. The Celtic cross is a nice touch. Usually artists just use a simple cross and the rounded stones.

Oh, I'm supposed to talk about this panel. Tim and Lucybelle only dated a few weeks before they got married? I guess it's good they rushed into marriage because...

...Lucybelle is dead.

And Tim opens a store because why not? And hires Lufe! I'm sure nothing will go wrong because of that.

I don't think people would believe that someone's heart being cut out would be the result of a botched burglary.

So Lufe lives in the attic above the store. Does Tim live in an apartment behind the store?

I think Lufe lo-o-o-o-ves Tim, which is why he can't cut his heart out. It'd be cool if that was the twist. It won't be. The twist is stupid. You'll hate it.

So the townspeople are smart enough to know a botched burglary-turned-murder isn't right so it must've been Lufe but dumb enough to think Tim, a man beloved in town, would do something so heinous as to be hanged without a trial?

"That varmint of a Tim Jackson" is a good line.

Is that a cake?

Lufe's just going to stand behind crowds of people saying "That Tim Jackson is a criminal!" and "We should hang him!" in different voices until one-by-one they start agreeing with him.

Dude, that's my tombstone!

This is why you all need to lock your doors. So your rival doesn't break in and steal the watch your dead wife gave you so they can frame you for murder and get you lynched.

Special appearance from Aunt May.

Wait. Lufe couldn't cut out the heart of his old rival who he has hated with every fiber of his being for most of his life but he can club an old lady who never did anything wrong to him or anybody else to death?

Lufe's got him. I don't see how Tim is going to wriggle his way out of this.

Sam Elliott is pissed!

I love the little "Can't we though?" speech bubble. It's almost like it's an afterthought.

I had an old computer hangman game. It had three modes you could select for the hanging. The first mode, the man just died and the game was over. The second, the man grunted and lowered a little. The third, he would make a grotesque noise and bounce after lowering. In neither one, he screamed "EEEEEEE."

You know, instead of stewing about losing Lucybelle to Tim, Lufe could put that energy into being a better person and finding his own woman.

Also, Lucybelle died young so would it really have been worth it?

Where are all the townspeople? They just hanged a person, you'd think they'd still be out talking about it.

Yes, go upstairs, closer to the bloody rain.

Geez, that's quite a leak in the attic. And Tim let Lufe live there? Maybe Tim did deserve to die.

I do the same thing when I get a song stuck in my head.

I like that Lufe thinks it's Tim getting revenge on him from the afterlife and completely ignores that he murdered an innocent old woman just eight hours ago.

Lufe, you don't have to narrate your demise...

We're back to the garden metaphor.

Aren't the townspeople going to wonder why Lufe hanged himself? This doesn't even clear Tim's name.

"I thought we only hanged one guy." "I thought we did, too. 'Course I'm so drunk anymore I don't know what's what."

Blood rain is something that can happen but it's not iron, it's an orange-colored algae.

When does this story take place? They're still lynching people but have radios and cars? But the town, despite being in the south, looks like the old west. I'd maybe go with sometime in the 1920s but I feel this story is very anachronistic.

I'm gonna get THE END tattooed on my skull.  🕱