Haunted Love #3, August 1973

Beneath an atmospheric Tom Sutton cover the Charlton gothic romance title continues to deliver thrills aplenty.

“Brainfever” by Nicola Cuti and Joe Staton tells the sorry tale of Myrna, a young lady afflicted by terrible dreams of a car accident. Doctors declare that she’s practically untreatable, and so she is placed in an asylum. There she meets Larry, who is the man she sees in her dreams: a dream where Larry is killed in his Model T Ford. As her condition deteriorates, the doctors recommend shock treatment — but Myrna protests and is sedated. In her dream she goes to the scene of the accident and meets the spirit of Larry — he has indeed been killed — and he tells her that she, too, is now a ghost, having died during treatment. Together they go to find their destiny in the beyond.

The second story in this issue is “The Fiend in the Fog”. Joe Gill and Tom Sutton’s fog-bound Gothic horror is set in 1831 London. While walking near the docks one night young Elizabeth is attacked by a fiend in a sailor’s outfit. She’s rescued by the hunky Captain Robert Teague. Over the coming days, Elizabeth falls for Teague, but he warns her never to venture aboard his ship alone — especially at night. Following a dinner date at her home, Elizabeth goes out into the night after Teague when he forgets his cap. Out of the fog the fiend reappears and throttles Elizabeth! A policeman arrives and scares off her attacker. Teague calls around later as Elizabeth recuperates. He has his cap, so Elizabeth realizes it was he who attacker her and has Teague thrown out of the house.

Feeling that she might have made a mistake Elizabeth sets out for Teague’s ship, and goes aboard — alone. The fiend is waiting for her! Suddenly, Teague smashes in the door. The fiend is actually his brother, insane from an uncured (and unnamed) disease contracted years before (syphilis perhaps — that’d be a first for comics!). The strain conveniently kills the brother, and Elizabeth and Teague fall into each other’s arms and set sail for the New World.

A good issue this one. The first story is slight but reasonably effective, while the fog-enshrouded mystery of the second works very well indeed. It’s sort of the maritime equivalent of Jane Eyre. Tom Sutton’s art is the stand out, far better than any interior work he’s produced on thie series so far.

Sadly, this Charlton material is unlikely to be collected any time soon, but DC’s forays into the world of Gothic Romance are readily available.

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