cover image Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery: Vol. 1

Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery: Vol. 1

Various, . . Dark Horse, $49.95 (256pp) ISBN 978-1-59582-219-2

Starting in 1962, for the king's ransom of two bits, your average red-blooded American kid could pick up a copy of Boris Karloff Thriller and be instantly transported to a world of haunted houses, doomed desert islands and criminal enterprises where the joke was always on the cleverest. Iconic actor Karloff slapped his name on these comics (crudely drawn versions of the dapper actor provided intros and moral conclusions for these creepy stories), making for a classic mid-century drugstore spinner-rack pulp thriller. Drawn with effectively crude but zippy panache by an impressive roster of journeymen like Leo Dorfman and Sparky Moore, the stories inside were strictly in the sub–Twilight Zone category, all mysterious coincidences and bumps in the night. A good number of the stories collected here (like the one where a newlywed couple is haunted by prankish ghosts) have a sharp moral to them, while many simply try to get under the reader's (presumed youthful) skin with cursed tombs and crashing thunderstorms. This sturdy edition brings together the first four issues and includes an introduction by the series namesake's daughter, Sara Karloff. The series ran into the 1980s, so one imagines there will be other volumes to come. (June)