Uncanny Tales from the Grave no.9, Apr 1975 from Marvel. Cover art by Ed Hannigan with inks by Klaus Janson, who had a run on The Defenders and 50 issues of Daredevil, among other work. Janson’s signature work is clearly evident on the candle near the bottom.
Another interesting note is that the cover proclaims that the issue contains “from beyond your darkest dreams, they come! There is no escape from… The Nightmare Men!” And “Three more macabre mysteries”. Great copy except there are five stories in this issue. Oops!
“Don’t Answer the Phone” & “The Nightmare Men” are from Strange Tales of the Unusual no. 10 from June 1957, only a couple of months from the Atlas Implosion! Both of these stories are eerie with writing and art, especially for post-code.
“Four Empty Chairs” with great art by Marvin Stein is reprinted from Mystery Tales 51 from March 1957. What starts as a taut mystery soon unravels into a pedestrian sci-fi tale.
“Peter and the Puppet” from Bill Benulis and Jack Abel is reprinted from Marvel Tales 110 from Dec 1952. This pre-code tale features a living puppet and the “puppeteer” who really is just the straight man for their act. The two are close friends riding on the success of their hilarious act and the amazing “ventriloquism.” The two are never separated. When the two fall in love with the same woman, things take a darker turn. She loves the comedy and doesn’t even mind the quirky dates with the wooden puppet as a third wheel. Nice twist at the end of this one.
Lastly, from Astonishing 54 from 1956 comes “When the Walls Close In” by Bob Brown.