Review: Secrets of Haunted House #5

Secrets of Haunted House #5 cover
Cover by Bernie Wrightson

Secrets of Haunted House #5
Published and © by DC, December-January 1975-76

Title: “Gunslinger”
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.

An ad for Pom Poms milk caramels
An ad for Pom Poms milk caramels, featuring Tarzan drawn by Joe Kubert, from Secrets of Haunted House #5.

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