Tower of Shadows no.4, 1970

Tower of Shadows no.4, March 1970 from Marvel. Cover by Marie Severin and Herb Trimpe. The cover copy says “Tales to Blow Your Mind!” And “Within the Witching Circle!” 

Each story is introduced by one of the creators, as a nod to EC’s twisted narrators.

The first tale is introduced by artist Don Heck. “Evil is a Baaaaad Scene!!”, written by Allyn Brodsky, is loaded with classic dialog like “Isn’t Black Magic supposed to be dangerous?” “Cool it, babe! Black or green — what’s the difference? Ain’t it all relative, anyway?” and “we make up our own rules… we’re not suburban squares tied down in s nine-to-five rut.” Brother Alistar wants to use Daley’s pad because of Its astral position for the summoning of the demon Zagan. When Zagan emerges from the flames, he looks quite imposing, but afterwards, Heck draws the demon without its original menace. Igor, their cat, crosses over the conjuring circle, breaking its spell over Zagan. Zagan takes Alistar down below to meet his master and the two hippies don’t escape unscathed…they suffer their worst fears. Heck did a decent job with the stereotypical flower children and then transforming them into what they fear the most at the end. 

Marv Wolfman introduces “One Little Indian”, written to Gene Colan and Dan Adkins’ art. Heartless Michael Royal is trying to drive Peter Lester broke, the same man who once helped Michael stay afloat when he was down on his luck. Fortune Teller Lola tells Michael everything about himself. He scoffs at her, but says she’s for him pegged. Then she foretells his death in the presence of an Indian. When he’s walking home, he passes a cigar store Indian and just misses being struck by a block of granite. After that, he keeps seeing Indians, including kids playing cowboys and Indians. Now panicked, he desperately tries to avoid them while searching again for Lola. He heads back to the hotel where she works. 

Lastly, terrifying Tom Sutton introduces “To Sneak…Perchance to Scream!” scripted by Denny O’Neil with a fresh take on the haunted house trope. Replete with a mad scientist, a demeaned hunchback toady and a sinister doomsday weapon, this tale is at once lunacy and farce and yet again, poetic and powerful. “To Sneak…” would be equally at home in early Mad comics from EC, Crazy from Atlas or Not Brand Echh! from Marvel.


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