Friday, April 15, 2016

Number 1880: The secret of the old tower

“The Old Tower’s Secret.” from Adventures Into the Unknown #2 (1949) gives the appearance of a triangle love story. Older husband, younger wife and younger man. And the husband lets the two go off together for the day. When he thinks the worst has transpired with the young people, events are set in motion that will haunt them (literally) a hundred years later. Things are not as we were led to believe.

Frank Belknap Long, who had a long career as a writer and was a contemporary and friend of H.P. Lovecraft, wrote the story, as well as the other contents of the first two issues of Adventures Into the Unknown. Edmond Good, a Canadian artist who came to the United States after World War II, contributed several stories to ACG and editor Richard E. Hughes over the years. Good, a member of the art colony in Woodstock, New York, was also the first artist for DC’s Tomahawk.

In this posting from 2011, after a mystical tale by Ogden Whitney, a space story by Edmond Good. Just click on the thumbnail.


Daniel [] said...

It seems as if writers of this sort of story don't give a great deal of thought to the rules by which some of the deceased stick-around, while others depart (or perhaps disintegrate). Andrew dies at the door-way of the Tower, yet his ghost isn't subsequently seen. Henry dies somewhere outside of the Tower, and he still hangs-about. Maybe Henry remains held by that hate which is love turned angry, and Jane is perhaps kept by a broken heart; but then why is Robert there? Does Henry's rage hold the three of them, but allow Andrew to depart as mere collateral damage? It would be nice to have that explained. It would also be nice to know why Jane seems still to love Henry in spite of his apparent murder of Andrew.

There have been lots of Doctors Drew in the comic books, and the most famous of these likewise made a business of the supernatural. I believe that that Doctor made his debut in Ranger Comics #7, for June of '49. This Dr Douglas Drew seems to have made his one appearance about half-a-year earlier. I wondered momentarily whether he might have evolved in the better know character, but the later Drew was of course from Fiction House, and with a different writer, and the name wasn't particularly novel.

Pappy said...

Daniel, in real life there is a television show starring Dr Drew (Pinsky) on Headline News. Alas, no supernatural stuff for this Dr Drew.

After all of these posts and all of the ACG supernatural comics I've shown you should be used to the shorthand used: ghosts can always be seen; the hero of the story knows some arcane information to stop the ghost. If the writers had a novel length to work with they wouldn't have to leap over logic to get to the supernatural stuff.

I don't believe in ghosts, but at this stage of my life the "ghosts" I see are of people I once knew showing up in the obituary columns.

Brian Barnes said...

To add to what Daniel said, there's another strange rule allowed to the ghost; Henry, as a ghost, KILLS a man. Outright *murders* him. And yet, everybody goes over happily to what I assume is their reward.

Evidently, if there's an afterlife, cold-blooded murder only counts before your dead. After that, all bets are off!

Also, none of these ghosts decided to, I don't know, talk to each other? Yeesh. I'd be mad, too!

J_D_La_Rue_67 said...

Interesting story, a rather melancholy one.

Frank Belknap Long is supposed to be a good writer, and yet...
You would think that nothing is hidden to those who enter the afterlife, so the husband should have known the truth already. Oh, well...

By coincidence, Karswell has just posted a story from "The secret files of Dr Drew".
"Drew" sounds like a popular name for ghost hunters and psychic detectives.
I was wondering which one came first, for both were created in 1949, but Daniel has already answered.

Did Belknap Long wrote some fiction about a "Douglas Drew" before? I haven't read many of his works.
Anyway, this is just another example of the connection between pulp magazines and comics.

Pappy said...

J D, I have no idea about rules in the afterlife. I would only be happy if I could have books, comics, movies to watch...

I don't want to know anyone else's business, on Earth or wherever I might end up after they send me down the crematory chute into the fire.

There was a definite connection between pulps and comics. Long was a prolific writer, very productive over several decades. I have read some of his early stories in the volume, The Early Long that came out in the '70s. I think his time in comics was short. I don't know if he wrote more comic book stories after the first two issues of Adventures Into the Unknown, but I believe those were the only two issues he wrote.

Pappy said...

Brian, to paraphrase that old tag line from a movie ad, "Just keep reminding yourself, 'It's only a comic book! It's only a comic book!'"