Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Number 1767: The cut-up
This tale, drawn by Harry Harrison and Wallace Wood for EC Comics’ Haunt of Fear #15 (actual issue #1, 1950), is from the very beginnings of the EC horror comics, and like others of its time, is feeling its way around what is really horror, or is just horrible. The plot of “The Mad Magician” is born of innumerable “shudder” pulps, and although well drawn, is hokey.
As you may know, Harry Harrison went into other endeavors after his comic book career, writing among them. He is well thought of for his science fiction work, including several popular novels. But he didn’t write this story. Fred von Bernewitz’s Complete EC Checklist credits it to Gardner Fox. Note the magician’s name of Boris Petaja. Emil Petaja was a well-known figure in science fiction circles, who also wrote several novels.
My scans for this story came from the Gladstone 1990 reprint from the double-sized first issue of The Vault of Horror, which includes a reprint of HOF #1.