Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Monster of Dread End...

It's been a few months since we "Flash Forwarded" into the Silver Age of horror, so today let's jump ahead to Sept-Nov. of 1962 for a terrifically weird John Stanley scripted monsterama from Dell's Ghost Stories #1. It's a rather peculiar name for a comic book containing only one actual ghost story, (which also happens to be the one-page bonus filler included at the end of today's post below) ...the rest of the issue features mediocre tales about a werewolf wasp, a haunted door, and a murderous demon horse--- but The Monster of Dread End on the other hand (I said "hand", get it?) is kind of special.












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(Ghost Stories #1 cover + bonus filler)


24 comments:

Corpse Parade said...

Excellent story. The creep factor stays with you till the end. Hard to believe that this is post code.

todd said...

I can believe it: I think the more recent they are, the scarier and nastier. This one isn't gritty and sadistic, though, so I like it all right. I wasn't expecting the relatively happy ending.

Mykal said...

Dear Karswell: Magnificent story. Sometimes horror is best left to our own horrible imaginations, as is evident here with the "balled up thing" always being off camera. Can't you just see it, though? The remains of children, crushed to something only vaguely human? Damn, that's sweet.

What a great monster: A blind, groping hand affixed to a long (impossibly long), powerful snake/alligator body – feeding through pores in its palm. I also love the fact that no one makes even the slightest attempt to explain its origins. As if the world of this city has monsters lurking occasionally in the sewers as a matter of course.

And what great artwork. The splash page in particular does "wet street" well. All very cinematic, with high angles, etc. throughout entire story.

Just great. One of my favorite posts lately. -- Mykal

goblin said...

Well, that was utterly terrifying! The bottom panel on page six is the stuff nightmares are made of.

"the rest of the issue features mediocre tales about a werewolf wasp, a haunted door, and a murderous demon horse"
Mediocre or not, I'd love to read these tales.

Anonymous said...

OH MAN THAT LAST PANEL IS PRETTY MUCH DISGUSTING BEYOND BELIEF ,HA......WHO HAD TO CLEAN THAT MESS UP??? AND WHAT WAS REMAINING UNDERGROUND IN THE SEWER? VERY SCARY AND COOL STORY.

I SECOND GOBLIN AND WANT TO SEE MORE FROM THIS ISSUE. A WEREWOLF WASP??? THAT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE MISSED!

buzz said...

I think this was inspired by the Olde Englyshe poem "Beowulf" re the hand reaching in for victims.

oeconomist.com said...

I read “The Monster of Dread End”, in the possession of some other child, when I was a kid.

I note that there's no Comics Code Authority seal on the cover of this magazine.

Trevor M said...

Good one. Really comes across as a horror story written directly for kids, and succeeds. Must have been a lot of nightmares generated with this one.

Anonymous said...

Trivia re: Dell & the Comics Code Authority

Dell Comics never joined the Comic Magazine Association of America (CMAA), which required its members to submit to the Comics Code Authority. Many newsstands wouldn't display comics that didn't have the code seal, but Dell correctly assumed that the stands would treat Dell Comics as an exception because of Dell's reputation as "good comics."

During the last half of the 1950s, every Dell comic contained a panel entitled "A Pledge to Parents," which promised that Dell woud publish only wholesome material.

By the early 1960s, however, Dell had dropped the "Pledge" panel, and began to publish comics like "Ghost Stories" and even "Tales from the Tomb," which clearly would not have passed Code censorship.

Anonymous said...

"Werewolf wasp?" Come on, Kars. That's gotta be a typo.

Karswell said...

>"Werewolf wasp?" Come on, Kars. That's gotta be a typo.

It's no typo... I'll go ahead and scan it in and post it next, since everyone is asking so nicely of course.

Also, don't forget about the THOIA Bob Hope contest going on now. If you missed the news check Monday's post for details.

Mike H said...

One of my favorite stories ever. One of my favorite books ever!

Horror pariah said...

I have this issue, so have no need to read this story at all.

The comments will do just fine, as this is a fantastic little chiller. No one I know who has read it forgets it.

Anonymous said...

is it possible for you to post the entire book? it sounds very interesting. itzEz

8thRay said...

If you've ever read Stephen King's short story The Moving Finger you'll wonder if he once owned this comic.

todd said...

I can't wait to see if it's a werewolf wasp or a werewolf WASP. Werewolves for Jesus, after all.

Karswell said...

Kenneth Landgraf writes in with some more info and art credit corrections (damn you GCD!) on this story:

"... Monster of Dread End was Drawn by Horror great Rudy Palais, you can especially tell when the kid first sees the hand coming out. His style was more mature here."

Kenneth also revealed that the one page black and white story "The Shade at the Window" is by Gerald McCann. Thanks Ken!!

SonicSticky said...

Holy cow The Monster of Dread End has to be one of the freakiest horror comic stories I've ever read! I have chills even as I write this. Wonderful, wonderful stuff. Love it!

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axecalibore said...

A “mediocre” story by John Stanley often beats the best story by anyone else. I never forgot the werewolf wasp, and it’s no typo. It’s quintescential Stanley, in that it has the logic of a child’s nightmare. Things are not explained. They just are. (Google search this gem immediately, and you will find it. I sadly lost my Ghost Stories number one, but still have Tales from the Tomb)
As Myka said: “I also love the fact that no one makes even the slightest attempt to explain its origins. As if the world of this city has monsters lurking occasionally in the sewers as a matter of course.”
The Door is a triumph of story over mediocre artwork.

ManyTotems said...

Thank you for posting this. This story has haunted me since I read it as a kid. I never could remember which title it was, though, so could never track it down. It finally dawned on me to Google a fairly complex description of the story just to see if someone else remembered it. You can't imagine how happy I was to find the story posted here. It's as creepy as I remember it. Weird how certain tales find a niche in your mind and settle in long-term. Thank you again for posting it.
Wendy Emlinger, Librarian

Karswell said...

My pleasure! It's neat to see this older post still reaching out from the archives and grabbing those that read it long ago...

Sergio said...

My father owned this comic book and I found it one day among his childhood items. I remember this story and the one with the door. Extremely cool comic book, I wish I still had it.

Thank you so much for bringing back the fonds memories.

Topanga said...

I can't believe I'm finding a post about this! A comic book tale that haunted me as a teen. In fact, we were assigned to read a short story aloud in my 7th grade English class in 1962, and I chose 'The Monster of Dread End' to read.

I'm not kidding when I say, the class was held spell-bound, and I even got a congratulations from my teacher for reading a story that no one talked through. I've never forgotten this story, and it's very cool to find it here, in it's entirety. Thanks for posting!