Party On, Garth

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The Thirteen Days Of Halloween continue with the macabre menace of the Vampiric Viking, Garth! The story originally appeared in Strange Fantasy #12 (Ajax-Farrell, June-July 1954).

There are no credited artists or writers for this tale, but it’s safe to assume it was produced by the Iger Studio.

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And they umm… lived (?) … umm … happily (?) ever after?!?!?

Given that the Iger Studio’s only staff writer was a woman, the fate of the tale’s female protagonist is especially  interesting. Is the last panel a barbed commentary on ’50s suburbia? An insight into the paranoia of that particular decade?

It’s worth pondering …

Coming tomorrow: Frankenstein’s Monster let’s his conscience be his guide!!!

The Masked Man

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The Lone Ranger had his share of imitators during the heyday of Western-themed comic-books, although the owners of that particular crime-fighters’ copyright were a heck of a lot less litigious than Harry Donnenfeld.

Alongside the ranks of The Masked Raider, The Mystery Rider, The Masked Ranger and The Black Rider – to name but a few – Ajax-Farrell’s Lone Rider stands alone as my favorite Lone Ranger analogue because of his striking character design.

Although the Rider was sometimes accompanied by a young Indian boy – emulating Red Rider’s Little Beaver, rather than the more fabled Tonto – the character’s closest friend and most trusted companion was his preternaturally skilled horse, Lightnin’.

Laugh if you want, but as one character in the following tale states: “A man’s hoss is his best friend.” You didn’t think Wild West heroes liked to hang around icky girls, did you?

From The Lone Rider #26 (Ajax-Farrell, June-July 1955), here’s “You Can’t Bargain With Horse Traitors!”

The writer and artist are not credited.

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Heads…You Lose

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Here’s a Pre-Code horror story with enough juice to be reprinted/rejuggled three times by the noted cut-rate horror outfit, Eerie Publications, in the late 1960s.

(And if you want the real lowdown on Eerie Publications, which united such colorful figures as Myron Fass and Carl Burgos, I strongly suggest you pick up this book. Essential reading for fans of f’d-up comics.)

“Heads Of Horror” originally appeared in Voodoo #14 (Ajax-Farrell, 1954). Creator credits aren’t available at the Grand Comics Database, but I’m not going out on a limb by guessing the story and art were pieced together by the Iger Studio.

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Rubberband Man

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The 13 Days Of Halloween continue with a Pre-Code horror classic from one of the genre’s masters: Steve Ditko!

Although Ditko is better remembered for his sizable contribution to super-hero comics (Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, The Creeper, Blue Beetle et. al.), he also lent his talents to horror and science-fiction titles published by such diverse companies as Warren, Charlton and – of course – Marvel.

Given that the reclusive artist regularly drew these sorts of stories for a good 30 years (1950s-1980s), it’s arguable that Ditko’s contributions to mystery and suspense titles may even dwarf the number of pages he dedicated to crime fighters in long underwear.

Tonight’s tale of a plastic man gone wrong originally appeared in Fantastic Fears #5 (Ajax-Farrell, 1954). It’s merely one of many stories that illustrate how Ditko can turn the most outlandish concept into a legitimate chiller.

“Stretching Things” was written by Bruce Hamilton and drawn, of course, by Steve Ditko.

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