Haunted Love #9, Charlton Comics

Haunted Love #9, May 1975

It’s early 1975, Nixon has gone, Gerald Ford is in the White House, and Charlton Comics is still pushing the Gothic Romance! Beneath Don Newton’s eerie painted cover are three spooky tales.

Joe Gill and Sanho Kim assure us that “Death Waits for Moonrise”. You’ll be unsurprised to discover this is a story with a werewolf theme and concerns young lovers Anya and Gregor. Gregor has discovered, and isolated, what he believes to be a werewolf virus. Using this he hopes to develop a vaccine for lycanthropy—not that anyone else actually believes such a thing exists. Later, Gregor is scratched by a wolf, and the need for the vaccine becomes urgent. He works night and day, hoping to have it finished before the full moon arrives. On the fateful day, Anya drugs her overworked boyfriend to force him to rest, and goes off leaving him to sleep the night away. Unfortunately, that night brings the full moon. Anya rushes home, only to find Gregor has indeed transformed into a werewolf. He lunges at her, but she succeeds in injecting him with the vaccine. “My darling… I’m cured…” says the grateful scientist, now far less hirsute.

Pat Boyette draws “Twilight Tears”, a slow-moving story of the widowed Marie, who is surprised when the new stranger in town bears an uncanny resemblance to her dead husband, Philip. The man claims to be Philip’s cousin Raoul, and swiftly goes about wooing Marie. His technique works, and he and Marie soon marry to live happily ever after. The story’s coda reveals that, 50 years later, Philip’s grave was discovered to be empty…

“The Night on Fog Island”, written by Joe Gill and drawn by Enrique Nieto, sees Isabel Talcott escaping to Fog Island following an unhappy love affair. The island is always shrouded in fog, and legends surround it after an incident 100 years ago that saw Isabel’s grandmother lose her husband, Joshua, in the fog after she allowed a beacon to go out. The house on the island is long-deserted and Isabel spends the day cleaning up. That night she hears a sound from the fog and lights the beacon. The ghost of Joshua looms out of the mist and attacks a passing sailor in his attempts to reach the beacon. Half-blinded by the beacon, Isabel puts it out so she can better see what’s happening. The ghost, lost once more, disappears into the fog and Isabel rescues the sailor. The sailor’s name is Sam and he’s quite a dish—Isabel is clearly smitten. Out in the fog, the pair hear the sound of the lost sailor, still trying to find his way home after 100 years…

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One of the duller issues of Haunted Love this, with none of the tales having much to recommend them. I suspect there’s a halfway decent plot struggling to escape the poor execution of “The Night on Fog Island”, and with a rewrite or two it would’ve made for a good episode of Night Gallery—Rod Serling could’ve used Don Newton’s cover to introduce it. Otherwise it’s all pretty much by-the-numbers fare.

Image ©2012 the copyright holder