The title story inside by Mike Sekowsky is almost as good as the cover. Keep in mind, this work was created in late 1951 while Universal’s Creature from the Black Lagoon was still three years away. There are definitely echoes from this story into the movie, which call into question the “official” Universal Pictures account about the dinner party from 1941 as the muse for the Creature.
Not only does Mike Sekowsky also provide art for “Back from an Unhallowed Grave” but he penciled hundreds of comics for Marvel and DC, including the first few years on Justice League of America, and then runs on Wonder Woman and Adam Strange.
His work for Marvel stretched from 1942 (Mystic, Captain America, USA Comics) to 1975 and Super Villain Team-Up. He also did pencils for Wally Wood and Tower on THUNDER Agents and Dynamo.
Also in this issue, “A Game with Lucifer” by Lou Cameron with inks by Rocco Mastroserio.
“Scourge of the Kentucky Hills” by Jim McLaughlin might have been an early source for current hillbilly werewolf noir Moonshine, though the stories are quite different. In “Scourge…”, the splash page opens with a hanging of a gray wolf, suspected of killing several small children in the town. Memo, the hunchback hangman, muses to himself that they’ve only injected the wolf with opiates and haven’t tied the noose tight enough to kill the beast. They have other plans. His friend, Doctor Vincent Curtiz has a weak heart and is dying. Nemo operates on the Doctor’s instruction, transplanting the wild, opiated heart into Dr. Vincent’s body. When the Doctor Comes out of the surgery comatose, Nemo injects a stimulant to arouse him. He sleeps restlessly that night but awakes the next morning feeling more alive than ever. Now cured from his heart ailment, he rushes across town to propose to Louise, his true love. Louise notices his hair has grown shaggy and rough with a strange gray color to it. That night, he cuts his hair and dyes it but it reverts nearly instantly. Nemo arrives and notices thick hairs on the Doctor’s forearms. Nemo frets about the unnatural merging of human and beast, fleeing to warn the townsfolk about this new threat. Suddenly beastial rage seizes the Doctor.A primal urge to rip out Nemo’s throat overwhelms him. By daylight, he reverts back to human form, but the town discover Nemo’s mangled corpse and form a posse to hunt the beast. Worse yet, Louise is becoming alarmed about the changes to Vincent. Her “friend”, Bruce becomes suspicious when another person is mauled and they find the Doctor wandering the woods alone. As Bruce drives a wedge between the beauty and the beast, Vincent’s primal fury becomes uncontrollable.