Wednesday, March 3, 2010

House of Mystery #186

House of Mystery #186 (On Sale: March 3, 1970) has a very nice cover by Neal Adams.

This issue begins with our "The Secret of the Egyptian Cat" by Robert Kanigher and Bernie Wrightson. Cain is complaining about the caterwauling of the cat belonging to one of his boarders. Mr. Konassos, when said cat makes an appearance. As he stares into the cat's eyes it turns into a beautiful young girl who says that she was once a priestess in an Egyptian temple.

One night the man Cain knows a Mr. Konassos came to the temple and bespoke of his lust for the priestess. Guards arrive and throw Konassos out, but he returns the next day with magical potions to take care of the guards and a spell that turns the priestess into a cat. And so he kept her through time as they wandered the world together till one day they came to the House of Mystery and Mr. Cain.

At night Isha the cat would sneak out and wail her troubles into the night. Only the wild cats of the woods would answer her call and one of them, Ra-Na became her protector, keeping the other cats at bay. But Konassos saw them together and killed Ra-Na with some poisoned milk. One night Konassos drank himself into a stupor and forgot to lock up his potions. Isha dug through them finding just what she was looking for and dripping the potion onto a scarf she had her revenge.

When Konassos awoke Isha was once again a beautiful woman, but he on the other hand had been transformed into a mouse. And Isha let in Ra-Na's friends from the woods. Cain calls Isha's revenge, "purrfect!" This story has been reprinted in Limited Collectors' Edition C-23, Masterworks Series of Great Comic Book Artists #3, Welcome Back to the House of Mystery #1 and Showcase Presents: The House of Mystery Vol. 1 TPB.

It is followed by a Room 13 page and a two-page Cain's Game Room both by Sergio Aragones.

Next is our cover-story "Nightmare" by Jack Oleck and Neal Adams.Little Judy is a lonely rich girl but in the yard of the estate she lives in the statue of Pan comes alive and plays with her, or so it seems to her. Not to her governess though nor her father. Her nights are filled with the joy of playing with Pan, but during the day she lays in bed, stricken with a fever. When she does get to see Pan again he takes her to a beautiful place of unicorns and fairies but warns her never to go beyond a wall, "There are bad things on the other side. You must never go through the door. Never!"

But Pan fades away and she is back in bed, her fever getting worse by the day. But for Judy, the world of Pan is the only reality. One day Pan takes a nap during their play and Judy opens the door in the wall. She is transported to a realm of hideous creatures who pursue her leading her toward a fire. Alone amidst the hot flames she is rescued by Pan only to awaken in her bed, her terrific fever finally broken. Her father explains that it was all a dream of hers, a way to escape the pain of the fever and he shows her that Pan is not real, but a statue of stone. And she touches the statue and she knows it is true and she walks away and never looks back as the statue of Pan cries.

Great story of the loss of innocence and childhood, wonderfully told and justifiably reprinted in Limited Collectors' Edition C-23, DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #17, Welcome Back to the House of Mystery #1 and Showcase Presents: The House of Mystery Vol. 1 TPB.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

1 comment:

whammo said...

thanks for this... i read this story as a kid, and it stuck with me ever since. only recently have i managed to track it down (along with bernie wrightson's "every night a gargoyle") after years, using a brief description and google... and ended up on your blog. very nice work.