Chronological listing of all issues – with comments and annotations. We mention date of publication, cover motive and cover artist (if identified). The number in brackets links cover motive to story inside. Especially for ACE HORROR every issue has been indexed at the Grand Comics Database – the link will show you all available data, including cover shots and story descriptions.
Just click the underlined issue labeling.
A miniature splash page indicates that you can find this entire story in our „Stories“ section. Just click to read it.
BAFFLING MYSTERIES / 22 issues, formerly INDIAN BRAVES
BAFFLING MYSTERIES #5
Cover: Goatmen (1) – Ken Rice ?
“Volcano Of Vengeance” (Mike Sekowsky + Vince Alascia ?)
“Phantom Snow Queen” (Maurice Gutwirth) – reprinted in BAFFLING MYSTERIES Nr. 24
“The Lady Was A Tiger” (Ken Rice)
“Terror In The Coal Pits” (Gene Colan + ?) – reprinted in BAFFLING MYSTERIES Nr. 25
The cover artist seems to be Ken Rice. He’ll be responsible for some of Ace’s better horror title pages later on. The covers for BAFFLING MYSTERIES are highly erratic and one artist won’t be doing more than two covers in a row.
Ace’s soft spot for lettering with Leroy hits the series right from the start. Only Rice’s tiger tale is left handlettered. Even now both “fillers” (which are unnumbered in this first issue!) are done with Leroy.
This issue’s text story („Underwater Mystery“) appears simultaneously in BEY7. Surprisingly the editors refrained from using their text pieces more often than just once. I would have printed the same story in 70 magazines. They didn’t. They actually came up with dozens and dozens of dopey short stories.
BAFFLING MYSTERIES #6
Cover: Fantastic Creature (0) – ???
“Macabre Ritual in Witches’ Glen” (Mike Sekowsky + ?)
“Fatal Rendezvous” (Jim McLaughlin)
“Horror On Canvas” (??? – Myron Fass)
“Black Magic In A Slinky Gown” (Mike Sekowsky ? / Bill Walton ?)
Just one Leroy-crime in this issue and it strikes down the baddie of the book: “Horror On Canvas”. Very strange that they return (temporarily) to handlettering… Probably couldn’t handle all that mechanical lettering.
Art Spotting Arcana Dept. (Seeing Things Division):
Have a look at the „alien symbols“ on that stone slab in the foreground. Don’t they spell „Chilly“ (on the right side)? A certain John Chilly is credited with the cover of BEY16, done half a year later. Just pointing this out for the sheer fun of it.
“Black Magic In A Slinky Gown” has a Sekowsky feeling all over it, yet was never credited to him. Does somebody out there feel confident to take it for granted? Looking at it now, I’d say it’s probably Bill Walton – who can tell?
And I’d love to know who did that outrageously bad (fun story!) “Horror On Canvas”…
And just after two years of wondering (tossing and turning in my sleep as well) I suspect it could be Myron Fass.
“Black Magic In A Slinky Gown” is posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
BAFFLING MYSTERIES #7
Cover: Terror Beneath The Tides (4) – „Ace Baker“
“A Game With Lucifer” (Lou Cameron + Rocco Mastroserio)
“Scourge Of The Kentucky Hills” (Jim McLaughlin)
“Back From An Unhallowed Grave” (Mike Sekowsky + ?)
“Terror Beneath The Tides” (Mike Sekowsky + ?)
Only the last story is executed in Leroy. For the moment handlettering is en vogue.
With this and the following issue, BAFFLING presents two covers by „Ace Baker“ a.k.a. Frank Giusto.
The most sexy ones Ace horror ever dared to publish.
BAFFLING’s covers were in general Ace’s most orthodox horror motifs, meaning that they often depicted damsels in distress. Blonde, of course.
BAFFLING MYSTERIES #8
Cover: Queen of the lizard men (0/4) – „Ace Baker“
“The Bride’s Borrowed Time” (Lou Cameron + Rocco Mastroserio)
“Jungle Idol’s Vengeful Rage” (Bill Molno ? + ?)
“At The Sound Of Airi’s Drum” (Lou Cameron + Rocco Mastroserio)
“Yama’s Fiery Fury” (Chic Stone)
Handlettering again predominates.
This issue is packed with two stories by the team Lou Cameron & Rocco Mastroserio.
Cover could be referring to story number four, but “Yama’s Fiery Fury” is about “lava men”, not “lizard men”. But who gives?
“Yama’s Fiery Fury” is a story of great significance: the first pre-code horror tale (I ever came across) that ends on a peaceful note concerning the island’s natives. Allright, some heads get bashed in before, but in the end the natives are being treated like real human beings, eye to eye. Thank you, Ace.
BAFFLING MYSTERIES #9
Cover: Demons of Hades (0) – Ken Rice
“When Black Wings Flap” (Lin Streeter)
“Dread City Of The Undead” (Bill Molno + Vince Alascia ?)
“Mad Matador’s Fiendish Frenzy” (Lou Cameron)
“Victims For The Crawling Menace” (Louis Zansky)
Now it’s both fillers lettered by hand and all the stories done with Leroy stencils.
“Mad Matador’s Fiendish Frenzy” is Lou Cameron’s first solo job for Ace horror. Looks insecure. His brush and pencils seem to slip in several panels. He felt much more confident when backed up by Mastroserio.
But Cameron gets better in quantum leaps. Already in the next issue he will deliver exciting work.
“Victims For The Crawling Menace” was my first encounter with Louis Zansky. I was appalled by his artwork. Noticing on first glance only bad drawing and crude scrawling. After a good and deserved chastising from Jim Vadeboncoeur, Jr. I learned to appreciate his fine and unique style.
But I still hold my ground by stating that “Victims For The Crawling Menace” is his worst!
It’s coherently composed, but the artwork on pages 5 to 7 is just crude. Yeah, man.
BAFFLING MYSTERIES #10
Cover: Cavern of forgotten souls (0) – John Chilly ?
“Diogenes’ Deadly Lamp” (Jim McLaughlin)
“Nightmare Flight” (Lou Cameron)
“Monster Of The Moat” (Paul Gattuso + Richard Case)
“Land Of The Silicon Men” (Louis Zansky)
Again both fillers are handlettered – small relief.
This issue’s cover is a disgrace and the baddest in BAFFLING’s run. Perspective is wrong, size ratio is off, exactly like on the cover of HAND12 (published simultaneously).
Ace’s third „horror cover“ (in the true sense of the meaning) is BEY16, also from this time. We’ll never know what the hell came over the editors to let these pages see print…
“Nightmare Flight” could have been the inspiration for the cover of BEY25 (to be published one and a half years later!). Two skeletons piloting a passenger plane. And a wild story it is, containing rotting corpses, a swamp of death, a cruel “swamp queen”, a jump out of a plane in mid-air. These slightly sickening stories were mostly handled by Lou Cameron. Did he write them as well? Does anyone out there know?
“Nightmare Flight” is posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
BAFFLING MYSTERIES #11
Cover: Worshippers of Baal (4) – Jim McLaughlin
“Appointment In Hades” (Gene Colan)
“Step Into My Grave” (Jim McLaughlin)
“Red Talons Of Lupercalia” (Louis Zansky)
“Sinister Return Of The Priestess Of Baal” (Chic Stone)
The die is now cast: BAFFLING’s first issue to appear completely done in Leroy letters.
My favorite Ace horror cover – Whotta babe!
(see it by clicking on the underlined issue title…)
As I mentioned before, BAFFLING presented the more sexy covers.
Made a count now: 9 times we get the standardized blonde in a red dress. A horror title without ever showing off by depicting a blonde in a red dress harassed by ghosts or ghouls or skeletons does not deserve the term “horror”.
“Appointment In Hades” is a grim war story and the last contribution by Gene Colan.
“Step Into My Grave” is posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
“Sinister Return Of The Priestess Of Baal” is posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
BAFFLING MYSTERIES #12
Cover: Indian Burial Chamber (0) – Jim McLaughlin
“Vengeance Of The Tiger Queen” (Chic Stone)
“Paint A Picture In Crimson” (Al Eadeh)
“House Of The Screaming Fiends” (Dick Beck + Pete Costanza?)
“Never Bargain With A Spirit” (Mike Sekowsky + Bill Walton ?)
Completely Leroy lettered.
Following WEB’s “manic autumn” of 1952 now BAFFLING is entering into a streak of hardboiled horror: BAFF12 features man-eating tigers and headless zombies, a kill-crazy model and her werewolf lover as well as undead fiends operating on live humans. Only “Never Bargain With A Spirit” offers a relaxing tale about a curse you cannot escape…
“Vengeance Of The Tiger Queen” is posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
“House Of The Screaming Fiends” is posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
BAFFLING MYSTERIES #13
Cover: Mummy bleeding from the mouth (0) – Jim McLaughlin
“Dr. Gueux’s Nightmare Monsters” (Louis Zansky + Mario Rizzi ?)
“Greed’s Grisly Treasure” (swipe artist ???)
“Role Of The Footlight Werewolf” (Charles Nicholas + Paul Gattuso)
“Black Horror Of Druid’s Glen” (Charles Nicholas + Chris Rule ?)
Completely Leroy lettered; third McLaughlin cover in a row (this establishes a modest record).
Ace authors are again left off the leash: We get fascist fantasies of omnipotence, nightmare monsters, a devilish tavern and biblical demons, a werewolf tale with an unequaled body count and druids conducting human sacrifices.
“Role Of The Footlight Werewolf” is posted on Prof. Ravensdeath’s “Monster Rally“ blog – to read click on underlined title.
In “Dr. Gueux’s Nightmare Monsters” Jim Vadeboncoeur, Jr. sees pencilwork by Louis Zansky. Heavily clouded by someone else’s thick inks. I never would have realized this. That’s why Jim is the world’s finest “art identifier”. It is posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
Let’s welcome to our table a new unidentified member. With “Greed’s Grisly Treasure” debuts an illustrator we’ll call „swipe artist“. Some of his panels look just fine (here he swiped), some look like ripped out of my daughter’s hands (8 years old). We will meet him again.
Hames Ware and Jim Vadeboncoeur, Jr. rounded up the following suspects: Art Gates, Louis Ravielli and Bob Bean. From what I’ve seen, I’d go for Louis Ravielli, but there’s just too little material online to make a solid comparison. So we are waiting to find more stories and hopefully a signature somewhere. The only way to be really sure.
“Greed’s Grisly Treasure” is posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
“Black Horror Of Druid’s Glen” is posted on Prof. Ravensdeath’s “Monster Rally“ blog – to read click on underlined title.
BAFFLING MYSTERIES #14
Cover: Won’t be one of you pygmies (0) – „Ace Baker“
“The Dead Are Never Lonely” (Jim McLaughlin + ?)
“Prowl Of The Stalking Terror” (swipe artist ???)
“Beware The Graveyard Clay” (Charles Nicholas)
“Slave Of The Orchid Goddess” (Howard Larsen)
Leroy Lettering sets the standard.
An undead actress stalking the living, a vampire spree in a hospital, Voodoo devils and a florist’s little shop of horrors make BAFF14 a third manic issue in a row.
One-time cameo by Howard Larsen, who worked mainly for Avon and Fiction House in the 1940s and 1950s.
“Beware The Graveyard Clay” is posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
“The Dead Are Never Lonely” is posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
BAFFLING MYSTERIES #15
Cover: Follow the disciple of evil (0) – Jim McLaughlin
“Snakes Alive!” (Charles Nicholas)
“Bazaar Of The Cursed Goblins” (Lin Streeter)
“My Image Of Evil” (Jim McLaughlin)
“Quiet Stalks The Undead Fiend” (Louis Zansky)
Completely Leroy lettered.
With the two last stories the Ace writers return to their more docile form of horror literature.
So let’s say goodbye by having a look at one of Charles Nicholas’ best jobs for Ace (pre-code horror blogging guru Karswell beat me to the publication, but I’m glad for it):
“Snakes Alive!” is posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
BAFFLING MYSTERIES #16
Cover: Wha…? That’s me! (3) – Jim McLaughlin
“Doom Comes In Emerald Green” (Ken Rice)
“The Witch’s Vengeful Return” (Louis Zansky)
“Strands Of The Faceless Horror” (Lou Cameron, signed)
“Wings Of Wickedness” (Jim McLaughlin + ?)
Completely Leroy lettered.
In McLaughlin’s handiwork style changes are happening. His characters look more like Rice, his layouts have a touch of Zansky and Cameron. I guess he’s being inspired by his colleagues.
The wish-fulfilling Indian rug in “Strands Of The Faceless Horror” (this issue’s cover motif, also!) is to be found earlier in the April 1952 issue of Harvey’s WITCHES TALES #9.
In “The Fatal Steps” one mustn’t walk on the rug, here one mustn’t even look at the rug. In both stories the souls of unwary men get woven into the rug.
In two stories („Witch“ + „Wings“) the leading women struggle with their inherent evil – in vain!
This issue is entirely illustrated by Ace’s “Big Four”: Cameron / Rice / Zansky and McLaughlin.
This only happens four times in Ace’s horror books. BAFF16 is the premiere.
“Wings Of Wickedness” is posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
BAFFLING MYSTERIES #17
Cover: Lava men’s sacred rites (0) – Ken Rice ?
“Kill, My Minions Of Death!” (Lou Cameron, signed)
“Duel Of The Spectres” (Dick Beck + George Klein)
“Evil Cult Of The Juggernaut” (Dick Beck + Don Perlin ?)
“Master Of The Undead” (Al Hartley) – reprint from BEYOND #1
Completely Leroy lettered, except for the last story – which is a 1950 reprint.
The cover refers to “Yama’s Fiery Fury” from BAFF8, published one and a half year before!
Wonderful pop art splash by Cameron in “Kill, My Minions Of Death!” – and a joke in German upon the gravestone: “Hier liegen Ludwig Kameron (!) + Baron von Levitdorf – geboren 1824 – von zuviel Trinken gesterben 1895“. Translates as:
„Here lie Ludwig Kameron (!) Baron von Levitdorf – born 1824 – died from too much drinking 1895“. Was Cameron born in Levittown? “Dorf” meaning “village”.
The “art spotting squad” of Hames Ware and Jim Vadeboncoeur, Jr. tell me that “Master Of The Undead” is a one-time cameo by Al Hartley. Who did the 1940s funnies title DOTTY for Ace and later on hooked himself up with post-code Atlas/Marvel.
BAFFLING MYSTERIES #18
Cover: Die by the stings of my death’s-head moths (0) – Jim McLaughlin ?
“6 Of Me On The Prowl” (Ken Rice)
“12 Hours To Doom” (Lou Cameron, signed)
“The Ghost In The Portrait” (Ken Rice) – Reprint from CHALLENGE OF THE UNKNOWN #6
“Crimson Wraith From The North” (Sy Grudko)
Completely Leroy lettered, except for the last story – which is a 1950 reprint. One from Ace’s very first horror comic book.
This cover motif, too, does not cover any story inside, but reminds the alert reader of a story from BEY8: “The Winged Spectres Of Dismal Swamp”, almost two years previously published.
And it’s a Ken Rice double feature. Good occasion to compare how his style has changed over two years.
“6 Of Me On The Prowl” is posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
BAFFLING MYSTERIES #19
Cover: Man-eating plant (0) – ???
“The Monster Maker” (Jim McLaughlin + ?)
“They Strangle By Night” (Louis Zansky)
“Conjurer For The Foul Fiend” (Ken Rice)
“The Werewolf Strikes!” („Ace Baker“) – reprinted from BEYOND #1
Completely Leroy lettered, except for the reprint, of course.
Best cover in BAFFLING MYSTERIES’ run.
The man-eating plant anticipates the look of that hideous “Alien” monster from the movie 30 years later. In my eyes, at least.
GCD speculates this cover to be drawn by George Roussos. Sounds improbable to me, because Roussos didn’t do any other work for Ace (as far as I know currently).
Puzzles me. Can’t put my finger on it.
“The Monster Maker” is posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
“Conjurer For The Foul Fiend” is posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
BAFFLING MYSTERIES #20
Cover: Return the jewel of the Pygmy God (0) – ???
“The Maze Master” (Lou Cameron, signed)
“Tune Of The Zombie Queen” (Louis Zansky)
“Hostage Of The Unearthly” (Ken Rice)
“When Voodoo Drums Rumble” (Jim McLaughlin)
Completely Leroy lettered.
The cover looks definitely like McLaughlin, except for the woman’s head. What’s wrong with your face, girl?!
Second time that the “Big Four” create a whole issue by themselves: Cameron / Rice / Zansky and McLaughlin. Happens simultaneously with BEY26.
“The Maze Master” suprises with psychedelic images in the vein of Salvador Dali.
Another surprise is the ending of “When Voodoo Drums Rumble”, wherein the bad guy does not go to hell, but is doomed to spend the rest of his life as the witch’s henpecked husband. Maybe for all eternity?!
A downright comical twist. Can’t think of another one in Ace’s horror production…
“Voodoo Drums” by the way can be seen as a variation of „Horror Of The Cannibals’ Dinner“ from DARK MYSTERIES #15 (December 1953, by rival publisher Story Comics). Same plot – a tyrannical plantation owner seduced by a voodoo witch. The Story version however ends on a different note: deadly revenge, of course.
“Tune Of The Zombie Queen” and “Hostage Of The Unearthly” and also “When Voodoo Drums Rumble” are posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
For „Maze Master“ please look up the issue on the Digital Comic Museum, click HERE (we can’t do everything ourself).
Postcript June 2015: He did it again. „Doc“ Karswell completed this issue on his THOIA blog! So go look for „The Maze Master“ right there.
BAFFLING MYSTERIES #21
Cover: Prehistoric monster on guard (0) – Ken Rice ?
“The Horror Of Hillory Hill” (Lou Cameron, signed)
“Doom Dancer” (Jim McLaughlin)
“Valley Of The Mayan Goddess” (Martin “Marty” Rose) – reprint from WEB OF MYSTERY #5
“Arm Of Vengeance” (Sy Grudko)
Completely Leroy lettered, except for the reprint.
After having been “suspended” for a few months, Sy Grudko is allowed to contribute a whole story again. It’s just his second for BAFFLING MYSTERIES.
BAFFLING MYSTERIES #22
Cover: You are now slaves to the flame queen (0) – Jim McLaughlin ?
“Sculptress Of Doom” (Ken Rice)
“Curse Of The Condemned Gypsy” (Jay Scott Pike) – reprint from WEB OF MYSTERY #3
“Over My Dead Body” (Lou Cameron, signed)
“The Amulet Of Terror” (Mike Sekowsky + ?) – reprint from BEYOND #3
Standard practice in these last issues: two handlettered reprints and two new original stories done with Leroy stencils.
Lou Cameron signs his name twice in “Over My Dead Body”: once in the splash and once in the „book of Moloch“ on page 2 where his name appears above the names of the story’s protagonists (see above). Hardly a „hidden signature“.
BAFFLING MYSTERIES #23
Cover: These hags, too, called me ugly! (0) – ???
“Werewolf Husband” (Louis Zansky)
“It Happened On Valentine’s Eve” (???) – reprint from BEYOND #4
“Clang Of The Crypt Door” (Jim McLaughlin)
“The Frenzy Of Sheila Lord” (Maurice Gutwirth / George Appel) – reprint from BEYOND #5
Ace really did not care for covers. Just look at that.
That’s more of a rough sketch by someone but no glossy title page. Probably McLaughlin on the fly.
Great tongue-in-cheek text story about a man-eating kiler carpet („The Deadly Visitor“)!
The reprints are newly colored. Interestingly ALL of the reprints have been taken anew to the colorist. The editors would have kept the black and white original art and compiled a “new” batch of stories for each issue – to be taken to the colorist and then the printer.
BAFFLING MYSTERIES #24
Cover: Warrior trapped in this glacier (0) – Ken Rice ?
“The Sacred Fingers Of Princess Thais” (Jim McLaughlin)
“Scourge Of The Scorpion Cult” („Ace Baker“) – reprint from BEYOND #6
“The Phantom Snow Queen” (Maurice Gutwirth / George Appel) – reprint from BAFFLING MYSTERIES #5
“The Menace That Stalked Brooding Cunliffe” (Jim McLaughlin) – reprint from WEB OF MYSTERY #5
The cover refers to a story that feels familiar from an Ace horror story some years earlier. Can’t remember which one at the moment…
With this issue BAFFLING MYSTERIES go down in flames. Only the lead story is an original. And – to do Sy Grudko justice – both of the fillers. The rest are reprints. It’s the last pre-code horror book ever published by Ace (together with BEYOND #30, also January 1955).
It’s McLaughlin’s double feature again, please compare the first to the last story (there’s a full four years between them).
BAFFLING MYSTERIES #25
Code approved Cover: [Man on psychedelic staircase] (0) – Louis Zansky ?
“Riddle Of Pete Dunn’s Last Fight” (Jim McLaughlin + ?) – reprint from BEYOND #6
“Mark Of The Cat” (Lou Cameron + Rocco Mastroserio) – reprint from WEB OF MYSTERY #7
“Flee The Other Self” (Ken Rice) – reprint from HAND OF FATE #9
“Night Of Strangeness” (Gene Colan + ?) – reprint from BAFFLING MYSTERIES #5
Cover seems to be by Louis Zansky, that would be his first for Ace horror. Zansky (like McLaughlin) stayed on in the code days and did the last cover for Ace crime books as well (PENALTY #48, January 1956). In my eyes, he is a perfect cover artist. Too bad he just was assigned the occasional title page for a western-romance book or earlier crime fare.
BAFF25 is a strange book, cause code-approved.
First story (a boxer’s tale) seems uncompromised, in the second the title has been rendered harmlessly from “Mark Of The Sinister Cat” to just “Mark Of The Cat”. On page 2 a knife thrown at a cat is drawn smaller and more out of range. On page 4 facial transformations are not shown anymore. Same goes for page 6, where it’s just six hairs standing on end of the woman’s head which are left out!
Grand finale on page 7: “She must die!” is changed to “She must pay!” and another reference to death is cancelled. The man stabbing the woman is gone. And the last panel has new text: “I don’t understand” replaces the former phrase: “That she-devil is destroyed at last”.
The next story is heavily retouched, please see for yourself: “Flee The Other Self” (Ken Rice) used to be: “It Is Written: I Die Tomorrow!”. In many balloons the Leroy original text has been doctored in handlettered changes. The best part: The Fate character (it’s a story from HAND OF FATE) has been redrawn in many pictures (probably by Louis Zansky) to look like the doppelganger of the protagonist!
The end is just fantastic: Paul falling down a man-hole, killing himself and drifting face-down away through the sewers? Not anymore! He is drawn pulled out of the water and gets to live!
The real mystery is why they took the pains to rewrite (and partially redraw!) this piece at all. Ace still had plenty of “harmless” stories lying around to pick for a reprint.
In the last story (“Night Of Strangeness”) the terms “bizarre” and “insane” are eliminated in the last panel morale.
This issue also contains a reprint of (only one) filler and a three-page text story. This, for the first time in Ace horror, is no fictional story, but a detective’s guide to interpret bloodstains from crime scenes. Also strange.
BAFFLING MYSTERIES #26
Code approved Cover: You are checkmated! (0) Louis Zansky
“Prisoners In A Lost World” (Sy Grudko ?) – reprint from BEYOND #10
“The Lorelei Of Loon Lake” („Ace Baker“) – reprint from WEB OF MYSTERY #2
“The Phantom Model” (Jim McLaughlin) – reprint from WEB OF MYSTERY #9
“6 Furlongs To Yesterday” (Gene Colan + ?) – reprint from WEB OF MYSTERY #4
Again a rare Zansky cover. He was the man for all the last ones, because BAFF26 is the last ever published Ace horror comic book. Sob!
The artwork in “Prisoners In A Lost World” was a mystery to me for a long time, but I suspect Grudko now. This would actually be his first full horror story done for Ace. From the beginning of 1953 he will be a regular.
The first touch-ups due to censorship in this second code-approved issue appear in story number two. In “The Lorelei Of Loon Lake” the woman’s skeleton is removed.
The text in “The Phantom Model” is doctored to avoid all references to death. A panel showing the painting of a drowning girl is replaced by people looking at that painting. The Paris morgue is not the morgue anymore, but an ordinary building. In the final page again paintings of death left out of the picture. The painter does not die, he just faints.
And these are the reworkings for “6 Furlongs To Yesterday” (which was originally titled “The Haunted Horse”): The kid’s father finds only praise for his boy (instead of a bit of blame in the original as well), the stable’s owner does not say „It’s weird“, but „These things happen“. The boy hasn’t eaten in TWO days (used to be three in the original version) and the ghost of Sammy’s father has been cut from the picture. Saving the best for the end: The boy did not die in the hospital, but sends his congratulations from his sickbed.
Who says the Comics Code spoiled all the fun?!
For the record: BAFFLING MYSTERIES – Top Spotted Artists (number of stories)
|Lou Cameron||(11)||3 with Rocco Mastroserio|
Each 1: Maurice Gutwirth, Richard Case, Howard Larsen and Al Eadeh.