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Superheroes – Once upon a Time in 1968 – Issue 11 – The Sinister Mansion of the Occult

12 November, 2021

320px-The_Haunted_House_Das_Geisterhaus_(5360049608)Immediately after Issue 10, things are about to go from bad to worst.

Cover:  The usual font is replaced with a twisty, creepy one.  Our heroes are shown menaces by werewolves, a vampire in classic suit, and a mad scientist.  The characters are changed: 808 looks ghostly, Horizon is in full Romani dress, Roboto look more like Frankenstein’s monster (bolts in the neck and all), Shadowfist and Vulpix are both in Regency-era dresses.  A black cat is standing, tail puffed out, with the heroes.  “Can our Heroes survive the Sinister Mansion of the Occult?!

Opening page: Our heroes standing around at the end of last issue, 808 and Horizon taking with Jack Diamond and Plasma-Man, Roboto looking for something to use as a temporary chest piece, Vulpix berating her cousin and Shadowfist looking for escaped thugs.  Their communcators crackle to “Jaiipuur Central is under attack!  Repeat, Jaiipuur Centralin under attack!  Emergency recall of all agents initiated.”

Next page: The heroes transport out (using the same transported effect as the Golden Key Star Trek comics) and briefly appear before the Kirby-drawn magnificant of Jaiipuur Central before fuzzing out and finding themselves in a Victorian drawing room with a low fire burning and rain pattering at the windows.  Much to their annoyance, Vulpix and Shadowfist are in dresses, Regency period, while 808’s uniform has shifted toward the Victorian, Horizon’s has become more Romani, and Roboto is looking more green, flat-headed and with bolts in his neck.  “What has happened?” said 808 and trying his communicator, gets only static.

Lightning flares and thunder crashes outside.  808 and Roboto head into the hall and open the front door, all they can see outside is rain and a steep slope, no lights in the distance, no obvious place to go.  They report the news and a butler appears, asking they if they would like to be shown to their rooms and that The Master would be joining them for dinner. They cautiously agree and are led up stairs, when they all try and go into the first room (Vulpix’s room) they find themselves sorted into their own rooms instead, worried that they will be separated they join up again, thing time successfully.  Once together again, they discuss the weirdness of this place and how it seems to be running on monster movie logic which they may be able to turn to their advantage.  (Trueto their belief that this is not entirely real, occasionally things would appear as though on a film set for just a moment before flipping back into the “reality” of the Mansion.)

The night continues with increasingly dangerous sequences:

  • Roboto finds himself strapped to a work table being raised to the roof where the electrical storm rages.  WHen he break free the mad scientist shouts, “It lives!”  Then an angry mob appears and chases them out of the labratory.
  • The Mansion is besiged by werewolves and, oddly, there is no silver about.
  • Shadowfist ends up alone with the Master in the dining room (“Glad you could join me for . . . a bite.“)
  • Vulpix tangles with a cannibal cook in the kitchen and is helped out by a black cat who, after the cook is tied up in the pantry, show Vulpix the way into the wine cellar from where an eerie glow emerges.

Hearing Shadowfist’s struggle with The Master, 808, Horizon and Roboto break in from the hall as Vulpix arrives from the kitchen.  The Master turns mist and escapes through the ceiling, “You cannot escape me in my own home!”  Vulpix tells the others about the glow in the wine cellar and they head down to investigate.

BookThere, in a magic circle, complete with sinister black candles at the corners of the pentagram inside is Dr Demonicus!  (Last seen in Issue 2!)   He is holding a model of the mansion.  “It is too late, soon you will be trapped here in your nightmares forever!”  Roboto charges him and smashes into an invisible barrier, much to his unhappiness.  Demonicus laughs as sounds of the horde of werewolves tearing open the door to the wine cellar echo down.  “It is over!”

“Not yet!” said 808, trying to phase through the barrier, which does not fully succeed by the barrier can be seen now.  Shadowfist attempts a left sweepof one of the candles, her lef is stopped but the hem of her dress continues through and etinguishes one of the candles.

“No, I will not be defeated by children!” screamed Dr Demonicus.  Roboto tore up the floor while Horizon held off the werewolves (who briefly look like people in masks and costumes).  Vulpix tosses the black cat at Doctor Demonicus who claws his face and leaps free to land on a wine rack looking smug as the whole scene dissolves into a swirl of color.

Our heroes find themselves back in Vulpix’s apartment.  808 tries his communicator and gets the emergency message (“Jaiipuur Central is under attack!”) but no further information.

End of Issue 11. Next issue 12 “To Jaiipuur!” is on the drawing board!

Notes: This was just before Halloween, so I thought something horror-adjacent was appropriate.  And, of course, it is an homage to the House of Secrets style of horror comics from the period.  For TIC Comic, The Sinister Mansion of the Occult was the title for that kind of story with the Butler acting as the Master of Ceremonies, introducing the stories and explaining the “moral” at the end.

Photos upper: The Haunted House / Das Geisterhaus by Harald Hoyer from Schwerin, Germany, found on Wikimedia Commons and used the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.  Lower is “Book 1” by ~Brenda-Starr~ is is licensed under CC BY 2.0

 

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