Sunday, June 19, 2011


I'll venture a guess that most, if not all of you who read comics in the vintage days known as "Pre-Code Horror", and some years beyond even, did not pay much attention to the one or sometimes two-page text stories that were omnipresent in each comic. What was the reason for this? Did kids really read these things when there was illustrated grue waiting for them in the rest of the comic?

The truth is, by adding a text story, publishers could get their comics shipped via bulk mailing rates, which saved them money. It was not hard to see that a lot of these stories were slapdashed together to fill the necessary space. But, once in a while, there would be the occasional rough gem that was quite entertaining. While I can't say these "tiny terrors" were the secret origin of what is known today as "flash fiction", the little tidbits of text can be savored as a quick treat.

Beginning this evening, I will be running a series that I call DEADTIME STORIES. Not a wholly original title, I know, but it best describes the feature since I will be posting these at 9:00 PM Pacific Standard Time, which will make it midnight on the east coast. I hope you take time out to spend a minute or two reading them. Believe me, none are destined for any literary award, but a few will make you chuckle, and still a few more may surprise you with how deftly a "hack" comic book writer could wrap up a clever bit of horror in just a few words.

Tonight's tale is from BLACK CAT MYSTERY comics #53, published in December 1954.

Now, as a certain raven-tressed TV hostess is known for saying: "Unpleasant Dreams!"


dan said...

I liked it! I'm a sucker for revenge-of-the-weak-and-tormented plots. To bad the horse couldn't have offed the guy and then wandered off to enjoy some wild grass by the stream.

Jose said...

Great new feature! I was always surprised at the lack of coverage these text stories seemed to get and am very glad to see them earning some putrid praise on your blog! Looking forward to reading more of these little chillers...


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