Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Phantom Stranger #9

Phantom Stranger #9 (On Sale: July 14, 1970) has a decently spooky cover by Neal Adams. I do love the way Neal uses the Stranger's shadow but with eyes on this cover. The cover also lets you know that this is a story of voodoo.

This issue features "Obeah Man!" by Mike Sekowsky and Jim Aparo. This was a strange writing assignment for Sekowsky, who normally didn't write books he did not edit and draw. Sekowsky keeps the standard sub-cast around, Dr. Thirteen, the loopy teenagers and Tala.

While on vacation in a Haitian country, Dr. Thirteen is called by the president who believes that local practitioners of voodoo are targeting him to scare people into worshiping their religion. Thirteen relates to a similar case he was involved with that had to do with Voodoo, and how he debunked it as a hoax.

Along the way to confront the Papaloi of the Voodoo worshipers, Dr. Thirteen spots the four teenagers who have been haunting this book for almost a year now: Mr. Square, Wild Rose, Spartacus and Attila. Thirteen suspects that the Phantom Stranger is going to interfere because of their presence and questions them about the whereabouts of the Stranger. However when he returns to the President's car, they find that the Stranger is in the vehicle and has convinced the President to allow him to accompany them.

Arriving at the Papaloi's castle, they find that Tala is once more involved, Phantom Stranger battles both the Papaloi and Tala. Smashing the Papaloi, and capturing it's true form (a spider) in jar containing the Seal of Solomon and throwing it into the ocean. When he tries to apprehend Tala, she disappears. Phantom Stranger leaves as well, with Dr. Thirteen cursing him once more for his interference and vowing that he will one day reveal the Stranger as a hoax.

This story was reprinted in Showcase Presents Phantom Stranger Vol. 1 TPB.

The back-up story is a two-pager reprinted from House of Mystery #24, "The Walking Stick" drawn by John William Ely.

John Ely, who signed his work Will Ely or Bill Ely, started with DC in 1937 as an artist/writer with More Fun #21. In that first issue Ely wrote and drew three features:  Sandra of the Secret Service: (The International Munitions Ring Part 3), Jack Woods: (The Secret Mine Part 4)  and  Johnnie Law: (The Firebug Part 1). In the 1960s Ely would draw numerous issues of Rip Hunter, Time Master. His last story, "Winner Take All", was for Young Love #62  in 1967. John William Ely died in Milford, CT, on November 12, 1993 at the age of eighty.

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