Sunday, September 4, 2011

Horror-Mood: Red Circle Sorcery #6 (Archie Comics, 1974)

When you think of Archie comics, horror isn't exactly the first thing that comes to mind. But believe it or not...Archie Publications tried to change all of that in the early seventies under the imprint moniker Red Circle Comics Group. They began with "Chilling Adventures of Sorcery Starring Sabrina" in 1972, and then five issues later the series got a drastic overhaul and became Red Circle Sorcery.

Red Circle Sorcery #6 contains seven stories (as well as the above essay on Lycanthropy) written and drawn by some of the best in the industry. The first story, "Warrior's Dream" is exquisitely drawn by Gray Morrow of Tarzan and Buck Rogers fame (among many others), and tells the tale of a warrior haunted by the ghost of his lover. The artwork steals the show here, and is just a taste of things to come...

Next up is "Out of Practice", which is surprisingly written by Phil Seuling, best known as the founder for the direct market distribution system which was responsible for getting comics around the newspaper/magazine loophole and directly into comic shops themselves. The two page story tells the tale of a sick doctor and his request to have another doctor watch over his patients...a request that goes horribly wrong.

"Death Goes to a Sales Convention" is the story of what happens to a salesman who makes a bad decision, and then we have "The Patience of a Cat", which is written by Seuling's wife Carol and beautifully drawn by Howard Chaykin the creator of American Flagg! This is probably the best story in the book, and tells the tale of a witch named Linnet who turns a would be lover into a cat to teach him a lesson.

We end with "Face of Love/Face of Death" which is my favorite story in the comic. It's a tale of a loverboy-style disc jockey meeting a female fan over the phone who is dying to meet him. I'd say this issue of Red Circle Sorcery is very good, and although most of the stories are lacking gore and aren't very scary...we have to remember this is from the Archie comics clan, and they sure could have done much worse. Although the series ended after a few more issues, we're left with some great artwork and a glimpse of what could have been in the world of Archie horror. I've scanned the whole "Face of Love/Face of Death" story below, for your enjoyment.


I agree the stories and artwork were top caliber and ahead of their time, or maybe behind their time (EC). Anyhow, it great reading material.

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