Book of the Day - 2/18/04

Tower of Shadows #1 Sep 1969

- Overstreet 2006 (9.2) NM- Price: $90 -

When DC switched to the horror anthology format with House of Mystery #174 (Jun 1968) and House of Secrets #81 (Sep 1968), Marvel responded with two titles of their own to compete.  The first to show up on the newsstands is this comic, Tower of Shadows #1.  The other title would be named Chamber of Darkness and released with a Oct 1969 cover date.  As mentioned in a previous COTD, Marvel's horror titles never could match DC for quality.  But it wasn't because of a lack of trying.  Jim Steranko, Marvel's most popular artist at the time not named Jack Kirby, wrote and illustrated the wonderful first story involving a money hungry couple looking for the fortune of their recently deceased uncle (who they killed).  The second story, involving a fake "spiritualist" who meets the real thing, was written and illustrated by Johnny Craig, a veteran of the acclaimed EC horror books.  The story is wonderfully drawn and looks as if John Romita, long-time Spider-Man artist, may have had a hand in the inking.  And finally Stan Lee wrote the story of an old, cruel, scientist trying to create an immortality potion.  This story again has great John Buscema art.

I have to say that Marvel had a great start in the horror arena.  This is a great issue that's easily comparable to DC's output.  Too bad that Marvel couldn't keep up the quality in future issues though.  Marvel decided to cancel the format with issue #9, changed the name to Creatures on the Loose, and introduced a Conan the Barbarian clone, Kull the Conquerer.  The company would continue writing "horror" stories with their Dracula, Werewolf, and Frankenstein titles but the era of the Marvel horror anthology title was dead......