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Saturday, March 24, 2007

EC - Grave Business (Ingels)

Grave Business!
art by Graham Ingels, story by Al Feldstein
Haunt of Fear #10 (1951)

Heh, "Grave Business", and it's a story about undertakers! How do they do it!

The Old Witch first establishes the underhanded dealings of the undertaking business, in the form Ezra, who manages to convince a widow to spend all of her insurance money on an overly lavish funeral which is almost all profit for him. And he's far from alone in this, as his partner has learned from him, and at a convention of undertakers they all brag about their markups and corrupt dealings.

So of course Ezra gets in an accident, and is completely paralysed so everyone assumes he's dead. His body is taken to his partner, who decides that he'll take advantage of the situation to make enough money on Ezra's funeral to buy his share of the business from the estate, to the point of skipping the embalming which would have revealed that Ezra was alive. So in ironic justice for how he treated the dead, Ezra is buried alive.

A decent enough story, although a bit predictable, and with a lot of odd bitterness toward the funeral industry. Ingels really goes to town on some of the faces, nicely showing the cruelty of the characters making money from taking advantage of death.

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