Haunted Love #7, Charlton Comics

Haunted Love #7, January 1975

Beneath the spooky cover by Enrique Nieto lie four creepy stories of vaguely Gothic romance…

Joe Gill and Sanho Kim tell of “The Eye of Beauty” in a story set in late-19th Century Paris. Claude Lumier is the finest painter in France, but knows no fame as he shuns publicity. No one knows what he looks like—not even his muse, the beautiful Lucienne Benoit: when he paints her, he hides behind a curtain. The truth is that Claude is a twisted, deformed man, ashamed of his appearance. The only person he shares his life with is his brother, the handsome Pierre, who eagerly spends the fortune Claude makes with his paintings. Realising that Lucienne is plotting to meet him in the flesh, Claude determines that she should actually meet Pierre. Pierre, always happy in the limelight, agrees. However, Lucienne is not stupid and instantly sees through the charade. She rushes through nighttime Paris to Claude’s studio, and finds him there. He tries to hide himself, but she kisses him. She loves him for his good heart, not his looks. And, after they are married, she helps Claude finally face the world.

“The Hounds of Hell” are a trio of vicious dogs bought by the previous owner of the now ramshackle Hartley mansion. When Jasper Conn buys the place, he’s a bit concerned that neighbour, Belinda Trask, still hears the dogs howl at night. That night, he too hears the dogs, and a diary entry seems to suggest that the dogs went down into the cellar years ago, and never returned. In the cellar, Jasper and Belinda discover an old well. When a piece of wood is dropped into it, a pillar of flame emerges. Jasper believes that the well goes right down to Hell! Jasper drops a makeshift cross into the well—a message for Satan. In response, Satan sends the three hounds of Hell up the well. Belinda attacks them with a Bible, and they go limp. Then, for some unexplained reason, the mansion burns down. But, it’s okay, because the adventure has made Belinda fall in love with Jasper. Joe Gill dashed this one off for Pat Boyette to draw.

The cover story, “The House of Fear!” is next. Abel Trevaney haunts the old mansion where Lisbeth Marlowe lives with Mrs Tompkins, a descendant of Trevaney. He hated women because his bride left him for another, and his spirit continues to try to force women out of the house. But, Lisbeth is made of sterner stuff, and refuses to be afraid. When Peter trevaney arrives to oversee the disposal of the house due to a codicil in old Abel’s will, he explains that only a married male heir can continue to live in the house— and he can never marry as no woman is strong enough to resist Abel’s ghost. Lisbeth assures him that she can, and melts into Peter’s arms. Abel’s ghost goes wild, attacking Lisbeth. Peter grabs a portrait of Abel and casts it into the fireplace. A scream is heard. Finally, Peter and Lisbeth can know peace, and they look forward to wedded bliss. Nieto draws this one, though the script is not credited. There’s a good chance it’s by Joe Gill again.

The final story is a prose piece by Joe Gill, with spot illustrations by Pat Boyette. No one ever reads these, so I’m not going to bother either.

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It has to be said that all of the art in this issue is fairly substandard—well, substandard by most publishers’ criteria anyway, it’s pretty much par for the course by Charlton’s. Best of the bunch is Boyette, but he was hardly firing on all cylinders. The best story by far is “The House of Fear!”, which is effectively creepy, and would make for a good Twilight Zone or Hammer House of Horror episode.

Not an issue of Haunted Love to rush out and buy, then.

Image ©2012 the copyright holder