Do You Dare Read …
DC SALUTES THE BICENTENNIAL
House of Mystery #243
Published monthly, thirty cents, August
Cover artist: Ricardo Villagran
Editor: Joe Orlando
House of Mystery was the most successful of the many excellent horror anthologies DC released in its catalogue. The first issue was published in December 1951 and lasted 321 issues until (appropriately) October 1983. There have been various revivals of the title since with mixed success.
Because of the Comics Code, HoM changed formats in the mid-1950s to more science fiction/suspense stories. It soon became a home to superheroes – Martian Manhunter and Dial H for Hero mainly. By July 1968, the Code weakened its grip allowing DC to hire Joe Orlando to bring the magazine back to horror stories with issue 174 (a reprint issue – new stories resumed with #175). #175 introduced the House’s caretaker, Cain, whose own “adventures” occasionally book-ended the issues. He would introduce most stories and provide a comment in the final panel.
“Brother Bear”, Bob Haney ( w ), Franc C Reyes (a); Zebulon Hunt heads to the electric chair, having been found guilty and convicted for murder.
In his resort in the far north, he used his airplane to hunt down and chase polar bears. He would land after the bears were tired out to shoot them for trophies. His manservant, the Inuit named Umiak, protested. This got him a smack from Hunt for his trouble…
Hunt later killed a bear Umiak was himself hunting … although it looked more like the manservant and the beast were communicating with each other … somehow…
Hunt finally found the huge bear rumored to be in the area – the biggest on record! He chased, it, shot it, decapitated it and took the head to be stuffed as a trophy. When the taxidermists opened the crate they found the head … of Umiak!
“Things Like That Don’t Happen”, Sheldon Meyer ( w ), Jess Jodloman (a)
Sid and Millie Barnes were found dead on the beach.
Flashback to Sid finding Millie on the boardwalk after hours in front of her favorite attraction – the fortune-telling machine containing the wooden mannequin of a Gypsy King. Sid begs her for $2000.00 – the last of her inheritance for yet another “investment” scheme. After an argument she relents and gives him the money.
The Gypsy King dummy falls over and Millie sets it upright again. A fortune card pops out of the machine: “24 Black Gets It All Back”.
Millie discovers Sid’s “investment” was a roulette table! Sid is already down to the last $50.00 of the $2,000.00 as Millie swoops the money away and puts it on 24. A winner! She lets it ride. Another winner! She wins back her $2,000.00 and leaves. Sid follows.
They argue on the beach. Sid knocks Millie down, killing her accidentally. Since no one would believe it was an accident, he buries her on the beach. A third party sneaks behind Sid and kills him! The police find tracks in the sand leading to and from the boardwalk and the fortune telling machine. The Gypsy King’s shoes are filled with sand…
Cain’s Mailroom. Managing Editor Paul Levitz answers letters as Cain on issue #239. Linas Sabalys of Laval, PQ, Canada had both positive and negative comments, Arthur Grance of Staten Island, NY (positive), Sam MCHendley of Berkeley, CA requested Cain no longer host Plop as it is beneath him…
Next: DC’s Bicentennial Banner #11 – Batman #277!
Original Material copyright 2015 Michael Curry
Images used are copyright their respective holders and reproduced here under the “Fair Use” doctrine of 17 USC 106 & 106a for the purposes of criticism and comment.