Marvel Tales 131, last pre-code horror 

Feb 1955 cover date, by pre-Marvel Atlas. Art by Stan Lee’s go-to staff artists Sol Brodsky and Carl Burgos. Burgos created the Original Human Torch for Marvel Comics 1.

Last Pre-code Horror

With the Comics Code looming, the editorial impact is already seen on this last pre-code issue. The cover blurb states “Five Fingers… Each one meant something”. The guy being grabbed by a disembodied hand seems surprisingly okay with it. The lady in the background is oblivious. Chilling😏

The stories inside are a mixed bag but includes Bill Everett and the best story in the issue “While Death Waits” by Stan Lee and Gene Colan.

Highlight of the issue

“While Death Waits” by Stan Lee and Gene Colan, from Marvel Tales 131, Feb 1955. In the last pre-code issue, Stan Lee and Gene Colan create a gripping story about miners trapped in a cave-in and one of them has given up. When the confessions start, the guy with nothing to live for confesses his darkest secrets, much to the shock of his fellow miners.

“The Man Who Bought a Dingbat” 

by Bill Everett from the last pre-code issue of Marvel Tales, 131 from Feb 1955. Bill Everett’s cartoonish tale turns out to be a lot of fun and a little bit sinister. Used car salesman Ernest gets set up as a truly disposable character. Don’t worry, “Honest” Ernest will get what’s coming to him.

Five Fingers

The art by Paul Hodge is mostly mediocre but the story was a lot of fun… And a little bit creepy. A  Pickpocket uses a false arm to pilfer people’s pockets (try saying that line five times fast). Things get strange when he starts referring to the third hand as if it were alive.


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