Friday, August 14, 2009

Number 575

Dr. Judas and the Wannaketa spell for zombie making

I hadn't read this story since I bought Eerie Publications' Tales From the Crypt one-shot* in 1968, and at the time I didn't understand or appreciate its perverse sense of humor. Dr. Judas, for a fee, will resurrect a loved one after death, but there is a problem with the's a zombie.

In the New Testament Judas was the betrayer, and the one he betrayed was the one who could resurrect the dead. I love Dr. Judas' line at the grave, "Yes, I think the spell of Wannaketa should be used! Wannaketa, the first zombie master!" Who? Wannaketa? That sounds like a story in itself.

"Forever Dead" is truly strange, with a bizarre and funny ending. It was originally done by the Jerry Iger shop, probably for the Ajax/Farrell line, but I don't know what specific title.

*Speaking of resurrections, since titles usually can't be copyrighted, Eerie Publications probably thought they were okay in titling a magazine Tales From the Crypt, after the presumably defunct EC comic book title of the 1950s. However, someone using an active title could be considered unfair competition. Eerie Publications might have gotten a letter from EC publisher Bill Gaines' lawyers telling them to cease and desist. The title, Tales From the Crypt, licensed from Gaines, was used by Ballantine just four years earlier for one of their EC reprint paperbacks, and it may have been licensed by the time of this title usurpation for the British film that came out a couple of years later. Whatever happened, Eerie Publications' Tales From the Crypt Volume 1, Number 10 (Eerie Publications never numbered their first issues #1) was a one-shot.

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