Sunday, October 24, 2010

Countdown to Halloween: Retro-Review - Adventures Into the Unknown #1, Part 4!

advsunknown01_27Fourth story in this issue is “The Castle of Otranto,” art by Al Ulmer, coming in at seven pages. This is adapted from the 1768 story of the same name by Horace Wapole.


The story begins with the heir to the castle (it's owned by his uncle Manfred) pacing back and forth, complaining that his uncle wishes him to marry a girl he's never seen, and he'd rather be dead than marry her! Suddenly, a shadow sweeps down upon him, and this humongous helmet (identified as “The Helmet of Allfonso”) crushes him. The staff helpfully tells us that Manfred's ancestor slew Alfonso centuries ago, and that Alfonso is the rightful lord of the castle! Of course, they assume that Alfonso's ghost walks again. They tell Manfred about this, but Manfred does not fear any ghost! Meanwhile, approaching the castle is the lovely red-headed woman whom Manfred's nephew was to marry (wow, he really did speak too soon, didn't he?). Manfred sees her arrive with her servant, Anne, and realizes how beautiful she is! So he decides to woo her himself!


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Isabella (the redhead) wonders if the castle really is haunted, but is convinced when she sees the ghost kill one of the servants! The ghost, for whatever reason, gives Isabella a chance:

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Isabella tries to flee, but apparently either wasn't paying attention to how she got to the room she was in, or supernatural forces are afoot! She's hopelessly lost, when suddenly she is grabbed by an arm! A candle is lit, and Isabella discovers that the arm that grabbed her belongs to a handsome man! Suddenly, there is a shaking, and rocks fall from above! Meanwhile, in the portrait gallery, the ghost re-enters its portrait! One of the servants wonders why Manfred hasn't been attacked by the ghost, and he says it's because he doesn't fear it. Arming himself, Manfred goes to look for the girl, heading to the burial vault (which is where Isabella had gone to). He finds the handsome man, and asks who he is! When the man says his ancestors are the rightful owners, Manfred reacts, but not quickly enough, for Theodore (the handsome man) hits Manfred, but Manfred's servants grab him and hold him. As they prepare to put Theodore on the rack, the Isabella begs Manfred to be merciful. Manfred laughs at this, saying she'll understand him better when they are wed. But then, suddenly...

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Theodore and Isabella flee the castle as it begins to crumble! Just before it's completely demolished the giant figure of the ghost appears out of the rubble, then vanishes. Later, Theodore says he's glad the castle is gone, and that it's good to be alive!
I'm guessing the original story had a lot more details in it than this brief adaptation has possible! I find myself wondering how EC would've handled the adapation, though!

This story is followed by a one-page text story, “The Horrible Toys,” about two children, Jimmy and Jane, who break into a witch's house to steal a pile of bottles in her cellar only to be frightened away by attacking toys!

A two-page filler is next, with art by Edvard Moritz, “True Ghosts of History”! I'll present both of those pages here for you to enjoy!

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Next: The Haunted House!

2 comments:

  1. Jon,
    From http://books.google.com/books?id=iARKAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA149&lpg=PA149&dq=Tyrone+Tristram+%22Sir+Walter+Scott%22&source=bl&ots=wRRZkhSfLQ&sig=m3OLu3UIiTUzj8sHH5OCwrQII50&hl=en#v=onepage&q=Tyrone%20Tristram%20%22Sir%20Walter%20Scott%22&f=false (Ulster journal of archaeology, Volume 7): "The story of Lord Tyrone's Ghost deserves some archeological inquiry, since it is the "well-known Irish tradition," as Sir Walter Scott, evidently alluding to this anecdote, terms it, that gave him the idea of the catastrophe of his poem, The Eve of St. John."
    Thanks!

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    1. Thanks for the info!

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