More reprints from the S&K Prize horror series of the 1950s in this issue. Starting off with the cover, a reprint of the cover to the original #17 (v2#11), a moody piece with one of the classic horror set-pieces, a dark attic, with a chained freak. The 8-page story from that issue, “Freak!”, is reprinted in here, featuring art credited to Kirby/Meskin in the updated Kirby checklist. The Meskin part is heavy, which is probably why the story was missing from earlier Kirby checklists, but the Kirby parts are definitely there, especially in how some of the characters hands are posed. A decent short story, although the cover kind of gives away too much.
Also in this issue is “The Cloak”, a 7 pager from the original BM #2.
This is sort of a modern urban gothic horror story. An unemployed man in Budapest gets a chance at a job, but needs to look good for the occasion. He has one good suit left, and goes out to rent a cloak to wear for it (this is back when men wore cloaks. And hats). It gets delivered to him by a mysterious guy, it has a label “Asmodeus”, and still he doesn’t get the hint. He wears it, and it attempts to kill him several times before he ditches it, giving it to a derelict. Our man Paul then calls the tailor offering to pay for the cloak, and finds out it wasn’t from the tailor, the cloak he ordered is still waiting to be picked up. Now he looks up “Asmodeus”, realizes the guy he gave the cloak is in danger, and tries to save him. He fails, and the cloak vanishes. And that’s it. Dead vagrant, and no idea if Paul got a job.
A good, if simple, story. And the art just has to be seen. The various accidents that Paul runs into with the cloak are great, like being dragged by a train. And the backgrounds are excellent. I don’t know if Budapest actually looked like this, but it should have.