art by Graham Ingels, story by Al Feldstein
Vault of Horror #15[#4] (1950)
In this story, we meet sideshow attraction Sam, aka the Great Zobo, whose gimmick is that he can slow down his breathing, appearing dead, so he lets himself be buried alive all day as a living corpse. Yeah, that's a pretty dull sideshow attraction. Anyway, his girl Rita gets a plan to make them some money, by fooling a rich guy into thinking he killed and buried Sam, then blackmailing him. Foolproof! Unfortunately Rita has no intention of digging up Sam, but the joke's on her when someone else digs him up for his own blackmail purposes, running off when he sees the supposedly "dead body" rise. Sam decides it's only right to bury her alive in quicksand. When will they learn that ironic justice always backfires?
Goofy early horror story, not anywhere near as gory as Ingels would get at his "Ghastly" peak, although it has its moments. I did like the atmosphere around the burial site, and the symbolic hand coming out of the earth on the title page.