This is the Great Comic Book Detectives, where readers send in requests for the names of comic books that they remembered reading years ago and I try to find them for them! Send any future requests to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Reader Mike M. wrote in to ask:
Hoping you can help me identify where an old comic book horror story originated from. I believe it is a 1950’s or early 1960’s comic, possibly by Marvel or Atlas, and possibly with Ditko art.
What I remember of the story is it that it involves a man who has been cruel to others his entire life. Two of the examples are a nanny who used to give him medicine as a child, and an elevator operator. There was at least one other person he wronged but I can’t remember the details.
There is a very Ditko-esque scene where the man boards a mysterious subway and he ends up re-living horrific experiences with those he has wronged over and over. For instance, the nanny is now a cruel monster who forces him to take spoonfuls of foul tasting medicine, and the elevator operator makes the elevator plunge up and down so fast it slams the man up to the ceiling and down on the floor.
Any idea where this tale came from?
The tricky thing is that this comic was not by Steve Ditko and it wasn’t a Marvel comic, either. But that can’t stop the comic book detective! The story in question is “Endless Rooms” from American Comics Group’s Forbidden Worlds #107 (in 1962) by Richard Hughes and the legendary comic book artist, Ogden Whitney (creator of Herbie, the Fat Fury!!).
As noted, the story is about a rich jerk who had some bad experiences in his life, as he went on being a rich jerk, including his nanny…
and an elevator operator…
(There are two other people he hated – a professor and his first business partner)
The rich jerk is then killed in a traffic accident and a crazy subway shows up to bring him to hell…
He then is sent to a room where a demon in the form of his nanny torments him…
He escapes to two other rooms where he is tormented by demons in the form of his professor and his first business partner, and he finally ends up in a room where he’s tormented by a demon in the form of the elevator operator…
He seemingly escapes, only to discover that this whole thing is a circular process…
That was a particularly bleak horror story for a 1962 comic book. I can see why it stuck with you, Mike!
Okay, that’s it for this installment of the Great Comic Book Detectives! If anyone else has a story that they’d like me to track down, drop me a line at email@example.com!
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