Secrets of Haunted House #5
Published and © by DC, December-January 1975-76
Synopsis: A hitman who wishes he was a Wild West gunslinger finds himself in a gun duel with Death.
Writers: Bill Reilly and Guy Lillian
Penciler: John Albano
Inker: Vince Colleta
Review: DC used its Bronze Age mystery-and-horror titles as a training ground for new talent, and it’s not unusual to find a hidden gem within those pages. That’s not the case here. This lead feature is a buy-the-numbers, EC-style horror short with solid-but-unexceptional art. Professional caliber, but not much more.
Title: “What Am I Bid?”
Synopsis: A beautiful-but-crooked art auctioneer finds herself in trouble at a private auction in the principality of Sakdar.
Writer: Arnold Drake
Artist: Tenny Henson
Review: Another competent tale without much inspiration. The flat, illustrative style of the art shows a hint of promise.
Title: “The Stars, Like Pallbearers”
Synopsis: An astronaut wakes from suspended animation to find the crew drained of blood – and a vampire on board!
Writer: David Michelinie
Penciler: Ernie Chan (as Ernie Chua)
Inker: Bill Draut
Review: This final feature offers the most conceptual promise, but the art is a stylistic mismatch.
Grade (for the entire issue): C+
Cool factor: This otherwise average issue earns a plus thanks to that gorgeous Bernie Wrightson Halloween cover.
Notable: This issue includes a splash page by Steve Skeates and Nestor Redondo. … Also includes a two-page ad for Pom Poms milk caramels featuring Tarzan by Joe Kubert.
Collector’s note: According to MyComicShop.com, there is a Mark Jewelers variant of this issue.
Character quotable: “I like your kind of numbers, Mr. Nadaj! I’m your woman!” – Miss Peggy Marlowe, auctioneer and unwitting prognosticator
Editor’s note: This review was written Oct. 31, 2022.