Haunted Love #6 cover

Haunted Love #6, October 1974

The striking cover is by Tom Sutton (as TFS) and exhibits more that a little European—or perhaps Filipino—influence. Lots of noodly lines and impressionistic figure work.

The first story, “The Vanishing Wreck”, begins with lone fisherman Seth seeing a beautiful woman drowning. He tries to rescue her from the choppy seas, but she vanishes. No one believes his tale, but he spends the next few months searching for her in vain. Then, one evening, he sees her again. He dives into the water, but she vanishes once more. Back at the coast guard station, Seth meets Pamela, who is the spitting image of the girl at sea. She and her father are going out fishing in dangerous waters, and ignore Seth’s warnings. He follows. When their sloop gets into difficulties, Seth dives in to rescue Pamela—and this time succeeds. Back ashore, Pamela reveals that she too had had a similar dream to Seth’s, and the pair are glad to have found each other. Joe Gill wrote and Fred Himes drew.

In “Sleep, My Love…”, by Joe Gill and Tom Sutton (as TFS), we meet the wrinkly crone Madame Maleure, who, upon meeting the dishy Dr. Henri Duval, wishes she were half a century younger (frankly, the way she looks, half a millennium would be closer the mark!). Maleure is nursed by the beautiful Madeleine, and the elderly woman, concerned that the younger is over-worked, requests that the doctor prescribe the nurse a sedative to help her rest. Over the succeeding nights Madeleine and the doctor fall in love.

One evening, Madeleine drinks her sedative before settling down. Asleep, her body is possessed by Madame Maleure, who wastes no time in going out shagging all over Paris. Waking the next morning Madeleine can’t understand why she feels so tired. Maleure suggests she has a quick nap, and once again possesses her, using her new, young body to wine and dine Duval. Pleased with this arrangement, Maleure decides to make it more permanent, and determines to kill the old body. Duval, however, has come to realise the truth: he knew he wasn’t kissing the real Madeleine. Racing to the old lady’s bedroom, he slaps Madeleine and wakes her. Together, Madeleine and Duval leave the house forever.

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The first story isn’t up to much and feels like a very tired, late Twilight Zone episode. The Fred Himes art does nothing to help matters, so this is best forgotten.

The other tale is much more effective. Sutton’s moody art enhances what is already a very eerie story, and the whole works very well. You could easily imagine this writ large as a Hammer film—or at the very least a segment in one of those portmanteau films (Tales from the Crypt, etc) that were popular at the time.There’s a great panel where the elderly Maleure, now inhabiting the beautiful young body, entices a young chap to, ahem… come away with her; the smug look on his face is sight to behold!

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