Thursday, August 6, 2015

Unexpected #121

Unexpected #121 (On Sale: August 6, 1970) has a less than spectacular cover by Neal Adams. This cover is all over the place, with no point of focus and, let's be frank, on top of that it ain't very pretty.

The Unexpected was always the bastard child of DC horror books. There was Joe Orlando's House of Mystery and Dick Giordano's House of Secrets and The Witching Hour, books that you didn't want to miss an issue of. then there was Murray Boltinoff's The Unexpected. The book had this ungodly large and fairly ugly logo that took up way too much room and I don't know who was designing their covers, but they were always second-, if not third-best. If you ever suffer from insomnia, browsing a cover gallery of The Unexpected is a wonderful cure. I don't know if this book sold well or not, but I do know that probably half the time I could pass on this comic and not feel any sense of loss. 

We begin with "Daddy's Gone A-Haunting" by George Kashdan and Jerry Grandenetti. In this eight-page tale, daddy Jonah, an herbal healer, is chased by the townsfolk until he befriends a little boy who helps him save the town doctor.

Next is "Within These Walls Dwells Fear," a ten-page Judge Gallows story by George Kashdan (writing as Jack Phillips), Dick Dillin and Frank Giacoia.  When Phil and Mary Coyle buy a new house in the country, the townsfolk try to scare them away.

That is followed by "Would You Want to Know the Day You Die?" This ten-page story is by Dave Wood, John Calnan and Vinnie Colletta. Don Young never cared about saving money, until he got married and then worked himself into an early grave. 

John Calnan noted in an interview that he "graduated high school and then went to the School of Visual Arts, which at that time was the cartoonists and illustrators school where I met Tom Gill and inked The Lone Ranger and also worked on other Westerns, including Cheyenne. So that was my introduction into the field." He later became an advertising art director and TV producer for agencies, while keeping the comic work "on the side". He drew exclusively for DC for sixteen years then stopped. His early work was mostly war and horror books, the horror books exclusively for Murray Boltinoff. He would do some Superman and Metamorpho stories then a stint drawing Superman/Batman in World's Finest but is maybe most remembered for a late 1970's run on Batman

Next we have "The Hound of Night" by Murray Boltinoff (writing as Al Case) and Bernie Wrightson. Just a single page but Wrightson makes it worth a look. A dog's constant howling drives a man to take drastic action.

We end with another one-pager, "Hand-Made Haunted House!" This little ditty is also written by Murray Boltinoff as Al Case and drawn by George Tuska.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

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