Thursday, October 14, 2004

Ghost Stories - "The WereWolf Wasp!"

I've come across an all-but-forgotten posting I had made to the UseNet group, rec.arts.comics, back in my salad days at DEC. Interesting synchroncity. BoingBoing had mentioned yet another new search engine, Snap, that I went to check out, and did my usual vanity search to see if Snap provided anything different than Google or A9.

The first listing was for an online art gallery, "Ukranian-Art.Com", which I'm not linking to, as the sleazoid entrepreneurs there are probably already getting more than enough undeserved traffic. The site uses a script to generate a pseudo-page based on search results from Google Groups, which is added to the Ukranian-Art site. If you click on the search engine link, you'll be mystified as I was as to what association I had with Ukranian art, until I scrolled to the bottom of the page.

Interestingly, it produced Usenet group results from nearly 20 years ago, which a search of Google Groups itself omits, including this one, about a comic book I had been obsessing about since childhood....

Back in my sprouting youth (say when I was around 9 years old which would put the year at 1961), I read a comic book that simply *terrified* me. I mean, sweats, nightmares, lights on all night, you name it, I had it. I loved it. Unfortunately, my much-suffering parents didn't. I had a *no more comic books* ban imposed upon my fevered brow, my mother trashed the book, and life went on.

I've thought about that damnable book for nigh-on 24 years now. I'd love to have it back -- though I'm not sure why. Maybe to put that scared kid inside of me to rest once and for all.

Description follows, and you'll see *how* well I remember it. If anyone can give me the title, number, and publisher of the book, you'll have my undying thanks and gratitude.

Ok, description. The comic was an anthology of horror tales. There was a continuing narrator that introduced and closed all stories. The stories (probably not in order):

Guy inherits mansion/car from mad scientist. Guy is driving car, seatbelt locks, hypodermic needles appear, start draining blood from the dude, he goes over cliff.

Kid captures strange wasp, brings to pleasant old who knows *lots* about insects. Flashback where reader finds that old man is severely allergic to insect bites, and always is "seen" completely engarbed in hood and clothing. Kid gets to old man's house, no one around, kid goes to basement, finds other kids strung up in giant spider webs, old man appears, unmasks, is actually giant humanoid spider (!!), attacks kid, kid drops bottle with wasp. Old man/spider gasps, "The werewolf wasp!" Wasp grows, stings old man/spider to death.

Kid(s?) gets caught outside on dark, stormy night. Finds refuge in barn. Awful horse with blood-red eyes appears, attacks, starts kicking down barn. Man with Colt .45 appears at last moment, yells at kid to run and takes a shot at the horse. Next day kid, father, cop come back, find that barn has collapsed, old farmer appears and relates that 20 years ago, a horse had gone crazy and had killed a child before someone was able to put a bullet through its head. Last panel is of graves (including
horse).

Little orphan girl gets adopted, is shown new room by parents. During the night a terrible-looking door emblazoned with skulls appears on the wall of the girl's room. She goes out and sleeps on the porch. Terrible gnashing and thrashing noises come from inside house. Next morning she goes in, place is wrecked, new parents gone (lots of blood), door gone. Last panel is her hiking back to orphanage sighing something like, "This always happens!"

Last one. Young man comes back to abandoned street where he used to live. Street is abandoned because people kept on being found dead, all juices drained from their bodies -- including this guy's little brother. He comes in, finds that what's been doing it is giant green hand that emerges from manhole -- and it's hungry. Hand almost gets him, but Army, happily stationed nearby, bazookas hand. Near to last panel shows pores on green hand to demonstrate how it sucked juices.


Although no one responded to the UseNet posting, I had also mentioned it in a DEC VaxNotes forum (one of the first tools for computer forums), and a reader not only recognized it as the 1962 Ghost Stories #1 from Dell Comics, but actually had the comic and ended up giving
it to me.

And it was as good as I remembered. Thus do we reclaim our childhood, piece by piece.

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