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Thursday, November 30, 2006

EC - The Wall (Craig)

The Wall
by Johnny Craig
Haunt of Fear #15[#1] (1950)

EC changed GUNFIGHTER to HAUNT OF FEAR with this first "New Trend" issue (adjusting the numbering a few issues later with #4) and leading with this heavily Poe-inspired story by Johnny Craig.

This is the story of Neal Harper, whose once happy marriage to Clara was strained by the arrival of the cat Snooky, who Clara spoiled to the anger of Neal. Neal finally snaps one day, and attempting to kill the cat accidentally kills Clara. He decides to seal her body behind a brick wall in the basement, and after he finishes the wall is unable to find the cat and figures it was behind the wall.

Then, in classic Poe fashion, he begins to have nightmares about his dead wife and the cat, and when he tries to take a drink to calm his nerves...

...delivers a classic spit-take when he hears the cat. The soon constant sound of the cat drives him crazy, so he puts a hole in the wall to reach in and kill the cat, only to have his arm trapped by the cat's claws. His screams bring the police, who tear down the wall only to find that nothing was holding Neal's arm at all (as the cat then walks in with kittens) but revealing the dead body.

Not the most original story, but fairly effective, and has a lot of the EC crime comics staples of disposing bodies and justice delivered by a guilty conscience.

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