It’s finally in my hands
As I write this (on July 21, 2020 at 7:57 AM EST), the Feb. 1969 edition of the horror comic magazine Weird just went for $99.99 in VG condition on eBay. In an earlier post, I wrote about how the cover of this issue of Weird (by Chic Stone, according to one source) — particularly the woman being lowered into a canister of acid — traumatized me, and stayed with me my entire life. The asking price for this edition has been out of my reach. But about four months ago, I found a somewhat battered copy as part of a bundle of four Weird issues for 50 bucks, complete. I didn’t necessarily want the other three issues, but I didn’t already own any of them. So I grabbed it.
Finally holding in my own hands the Feb. 1969 Weird was something I had to make happen. But like most things you wait a lifetime for, it’s not nearly as cool as I’d hoped. The many magazines from Weird‘s publisher, Eerie Publications, idled at disappointing. They used blood ‘n’ guts to mask a dearth of talent. But I thought that this issue, having been produced in 1969 (early in Eerie’s run), might have somewhat better stories. Not the case.
However, borrowing the premise that a broken clock tells the correct time twice a day, there is the occasional cool panel in this Weird. You just have to smelt them out like precious ore. Some neat artwork follows (though the artists are uncredited) …
Following are the indicia info and stories found behind that unforgettable cover. Neither the writers nor the artists are uncredited.
Edition: Weird, Feb. 1969
Cover price: 35 cents
Publisher: Eerie Publications, Inc., 150 Fifth Avenue, New York City, NY 10011
Editor: Carl Burgos (creator of the Human Torch in 1939, yo!)
Art director: Irving Fass (brother of Eerie Pubs honcho Myron Fass)
Advertisement(s): Great West magazine
Setup: Wealthy, mustachioed Lawrence Mason lives on an island overrun by snakes, which he regularly kills and tosses into a pit. One stormy evening, he sees a face in his window. It’s a beautiful blond woman with the odd name Asptha. (Hmmm.)
Horror hook: As you may have guessed, Asptha is a snake woman bent on avenging her kind.
Quote: “Those blasted snakes! But they won’t get the better of me … I’ll keep killing them until the last one is gone!”
‘A Game Called Dying’
Setup: Diamond miner Shifty Joe jealously watches his boss, a portly chess enthusiast known as The Dutchman, buy the affections of shapely jungle girl Yala with diamonds. Shifty Joe is a peeping Tom who draws Yala’s ire when he watches her bathe.
Horror hook: The giant, bloody hand of The Dutchman, distinctive because it is missing a finger (though not necessarily the same finger in every panel).
Quote: “Hah, hah! Pretty soon river steamer come, Joe, bring you some new pin-up pictures, yah!”
‘Fear Has a Name’
Setup: Steve Dolan has hated rats since he was a child living in squalor. Stranded in India after jumping ship — there were rats onboard — Steve steals gems from an ancient idol. He will come to regret this action.
Horror hook: Kong, the Rat God.
Quote: “Kong, the Rat God, shall follow you for all the days of your life! Never stop running, for then he will overtake and devour you!”
Synopsis: While walking his beat, Irish copper Tim Brian (he says things like “By the powers that be!”) happens upon a corpse. Brian, who is near retirement age, becomes the laughing stock of the precinct for suggesting that cats are avoiding the area because they sense it’s haunted.
Monsters: Lots of ’em! In particular, a vampire-ish woman and a horde of zombies.
Quote: “Loose me! Aghhh Deargh Duba a sara!” (It’s some sort of incantation.)
‘The Devil Collects’
Setup: Reed Canning, a rubber planter in Africa, makes an iffy deal with high-priced surgeon Dr. Philips. Told he is dying, Canning promises to give his own body to Philips in exchange for an expensive operation to save his wife’s life.
Horror hook: There are drippy, skeletal ghouls in the Page 1 splash, but they are merely figurative. This story has no supernatural aspects. It’s strictly an infidelity/revenge story.
Quote: “I must have your body as soon as possible! That is very important I must study the tissue before it completely deteriorates!”
‘Sound of Mourning’
Setup: Crooked investment broker Mike McCoy finds his partner shot dead, and is wrongly accused of the murder. Too bad his lawyer, Bill Poindexter, is carrying on with his wife, Eva!
Horror element: This appears to be another straightforward infidelity story — that is, until Mike’s body is claimed by the prison doctor for his own little experiment.
Quote: “So very happy, aren’t they? Toasting my death (with) my champagne!”
‘The Zombi’s Bride’
Setup: At Castle Moreno in Hispaniola, Roy Gifford of the National Fruit Co. surveys the vast banana plantation of General Moreno (who looks suspiciously similar to the portraits of his late ancestors). Gifford marvels at the efficient workforce at the plantation. Meanwhile, Moreno is preparing to wed the beautiful daughter of an innkeeper in the village.
Horror hook: There are zombies — or should I spell that “zombis” — toiling throughout Castle Moreno and its adjoining plantation.
Quote: “Fools! Even silver bullets cannot harm a master zombi who has lived a century and a half, as I have!”