Friday, July 31, 2009

I Bet With Death!

A while back, someone mentioned the original early crime oriented Marvel Suspense run (before it switched to horror) which featured stories based on “the gripping CBS radio / television series” of the time. So what the heck, let’s finish out July with a tale from the February 1950 issue of Suspense #2… a tale so suspenseful in fact that a psychiatrist was actually called in as an editorial consultant! And unlike most pre-code stories that we’re used to around here, this one isn’t so much about how it ends, but what happens getting there; it’s not flat-out “horror”, but it does have some horrifying moments-- and some really fabulous (Gene Colan?) artwork too!

Enjoy, and we’ll see you all in August!


Vintage AD


The Vicar of VHS said...

Fabulous story! I absolutely love the banter between Larry and Roerich on the first page. And you're right about the art, especially the shadowy views of Larry at the bottom of pg. 4 and the dame in the doorway. However, Larry's hand does seem to be a bit more swollen at the bottom left of pg 5 than a razor-blade cut would warrant. ;)

This one really lives up to the "Suspense" of the mag's title--the way he keeps getting warned by his uncle (with family like that...) about stupid mistakes he makes, getting more and more nervous until he nearly kills himself a couple of times--it would make a great Twilight Zone episode! Except it should fade out before the deus ex medical examiner at the end, IMO.

And I'm sure the shot of the shamus in the ad is from some noir flick or other...I just can't put my finger on it.

Thanks, K!

Cindy M said...

I would bet with Death, but I'm certain TGR would win. :-\

Become a Criminal Investigator Finger Print Expert, huh? Lol.

I always wanted to be a Puh-sy-kyatrist. Long live Carl Jung! :-p

Anonymous said...


Horror pariah said...

Other than a few plot contrivances(the rapid romance, our hero stupidly tying out the gun), this is easily one of the best written stories of it's era. The scenes at Coney Island would make a great sequence in a Hitchcock movie I'd cast Charles Laughton, Joseph Cotton and Vera Miles.

I second All Caps; if this was an episode, I'm gonna search high and low for it!

Mr. Karswell said...

From IMDb:

There are 3 "Suspense" Lost Episode collections available on DVD. Of the 260 episodes produced during it's 6 season run (which began in Jan 1949), only 88 episodes are still known to exist, and all are available in these dvd sets.

I scanned through the episode list real quick and didn't see the title "I Bet On Death" but that doesn't mean the story didn't air, it may have been called something else. If anyone knows anything or finds it let us know!

Anonymous said...

Good story. Could you post anything by Gene Colan? He's one of the greatest artists in comic History!!!

Mark said...

Karswell, this story was on the Suspense radio show. "Will You Bet With Death" by John Dickson Carr aired on 11-10-1942.

Get the mp3 for free at

Thanks a lot for all the creepy comics.

Mr. Karswell said...

>this story was on the Suspense radio show. "Will You Bet With Death" by John Dickson Carr aired on 11-10-1942.

Well that explains it! Thanks so much Mark... THOIA readers are THE BEST!!

Unknown said...

Thank you, Mark! Been a big fan since I was about eight.

Mark said...

Todd, thanks for telling me that. It makes my night.
I liked the comic version a bit more, except for that part about buying and sticking a gun to his head.
The BBC also recorded this story on their version of Suspense, I think they called it something else, but the tape has been lost.