Vault of Evil, no.3, 1973

Vault of Evil no. 3, June 1973, Marvel. Creepy cover art by Frank Brunner. The series had excellent covers throughout the run.

The first tale is from Tony DiPreta from Adventures into Terror 15 called “The Woman Who Wasn’t” and the gorgon from this story appears on the cover. This story features some of DiPreta’s best art.

Cal Massey gives us “Jaws of Death” from the same original issue from 1953. Two fair-weather friends grow tired of tending the reptiles at a ‘gator farm. They devise a foolproof scheme to get rich by breaking into the local bank, except they didn’t take into account the alarm. Doh! When they turn on each other, it’s only a matter of time until one of them becomes a late night snack. “The Tarantula” becomes the third story reprinted from the Atlas pre-code series Adventures into Terror 15. Hy Rosen renders a frightful and moody tale about a Romanian town overrun by giant “vampire” spiders. When four miscreants decide to use the chaos to steal from the fleeing villagers, they notice that Josiah Creech still has valuables in his manor at the top of the hill. They didn’t expect that divine retribution waited for them on that hilltop.

Finally, a fourth tale reprinted from the same issue as the others. This was an unusual exception. Nearly all reprint series had, at most, three stories from a single historic issue. The fact that all four of these stories made it under the code censor’s eyes makes this issue rarer still. Each story here is a bit more violent than the typical Bronze Age horror and “The Lion’s Mouth” saves the best for last. Ed Robbins presents a cautionary tale about upsetting your assistant when your life is in their hands. Pierre is a circus performer whose act includes sticking his head into a lion’s mouth. He’s trained his lion to hate his wife as much as she does. Her idea for revenge is deliciously devious and not to be missed.


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