The S&K reprint for this issue is the 10-page “Last Second of Life” from BLACK MAGIC #1[v1n1] , the first issue of the horror series. It’s the story of businessman Matthew Crane, who sees his business partner die, showing panic in his eyes during his last seconds. Crane then gets curious about death. At first his assistant thinks that Crane is showing some signs of compassion for the ill, but it soon becomes obvious that he’s just interested in being around when someone dies so that he can find out what they see that so spooked his partner.
He finally gets his wish, getting a dying young woman to describe what she sees, and of course it drives him insane, and he’s been locked up and screaming ever since.
Great job on this story, it was a strong way to launch the series back in 1950. I especially like how Crane gets increasingly rougher and more beast-like as he gets more desperate through the story, and a lot of the background details, like the elaborate statues in Crane’s house, really add to the mood.
The cover for this issue is an unused Kirby cover for “Last Second” from 1950. There were several tries at the cover before they decided to go with another story for the cover of #1.