Friday, June 7, 2013

Crime SuspenStories #5

Cover dated June/July 1951
Cover by Johnny Craig

"The Sewer!" - Art by Johnny Craig/Story by Johnny Craig
"Mr. Biddy... Killer!" - Art by Jack Davis/Story by Al Feldstein & Bill Gaines
"The Gullible One" - Art by Jack Kamen/Story by Al Feldstein & Bill Gaines
"Partially Dissolved!" - Art by Graham Ingels/Story by Al Feldstein & Bill Gaines

"The Sewer!" - A man named John is business manager for a handsome womanizing man named Harry. John plots with Harry's wife Irene to kill him such that they can be together. He knocks him out and causes him to drown in his bathtub. When they leave and try to hide Harry's body by dumping it in the sewer, Irene snaps and goes crazy. She starts screaming out about how they have killed Harry and runs off. John dumps Harry's body in the sewer then hides out. He then goes to the police station to see Irene but the police won't let her see him. When he returns home he finds cops waiting for him, so he runs off. He flees into the sewers in order to hide. While there, the body of Harry floats by and clogs the pipe that is letting out the water. As a result John drowns. Above ground, it is revealed that the cops were simply trying to warn John that Irene had escaped from the police and was trying to kill him; he was never a suspect. Craig has some really strong artwork in this story, particularly the last few pages which take place in a heavy rainstorm and in the sewers.

"Mr. Biddy... Killer!" - Archie Chester is frustrated by his shrew of a wife, who is constantly screaming at and arguing with him. While heading out to see some friends, Chester Archie comes across the mysterious Mr. Biddy. Mr. Biddy knows all about Archie's wife and tells Archie that he will kill her for him such that Archie can be free. Archie declines at first but later agrees to it. Mr. Biddy beats her to death with a pipe, but after calling the police he leaves. Archie is convicted for his wife's murder and sent to jail. He is set to be executed, but it is called off when it is discovered that Archie simply imagined Mr. Biddy and has gone crazy. That Mr. Biddy never really existed is rather easy to figure out from the start.

"The Gullible One" - A man named Hal goes on a trip to his friend Fred's hunting lodge along with 3 other friends. A massive snowstorm occurs and all five are trapped within the lodge. Weeks pass, and one day Fred is found dead. The four depart from the lodge and make it back to civilization, but with who killed Fred unknown, all four are set free. A year later, Fred's father invites them all to a memorial dinner. After dinner is served, he tells the four that he now knows who killed his son and that he has poisoned their dinner. He puts a glass in front of them which he claims has the antitode. After seeing everyone staring at him, Hal drinks it, even though he didn't commit the murder. Fred's father says he didn't know who was the killer and that the food wasn't poisoned, but the 'antidote' was, and Hal dies, having 'confessed' to Fred's murder. Hal's gullibleness never has much of a part in the storyline until the end, which is a decent one. The story was inspired by the Cornell Woolrich story "After Dinner Story".

"Partially Dissolved!" - An illusionist, Ventar, is successful at drawing large crowds, but plans to really dazzle people by escaping from 2 locked chests that are thrown into Lake Erie. He believes he can escape by using calcium chains to lock the chests, which dissolve in water. He tells the secret only to his assistant, Molto. However Molto betrays Ventar and uses real chains on the chests such that he is not able to escape. Knowing all of Ventar's secrets, Molto becomes famous himself. When he returns to Lake Erie he gloats about his betrayal of Ventar, only for Ventar's corpse to rise out of the water grab him, and drag him into the lake where he drowns.

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