Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Back from the Abyss: The Dell Movie Classic Mummy!

The first mummy story I ever encountered was in a comic book -- one from a stack my older brother had collected in the fifties and early sixties, which I inherited around the time Larry discovered girls, bought a used Ford Fairlane, and put comics and kid-stuff in the rear-view mirror. I always remembered the story, but the comic disappeared somewhere along the trail. Maybe in the same purge that cost me my early issues of Famous Monsters of Filmland, an episode which (in Partridge family lore) has taken on the epic proportions of the broken leg lamp scene in A Christmas Story.*

Anyway, I looked  high and low for another copy of that comic during my years as a teenage comic collector and dealer, but never found it. When I decided to write "The Mummy's Heart," I figured I'd take another crack at the search, and maybe grab some inspiration for the story in the bargain. After all, back in the day I didn't have Google at my disposal.

Different story today... about three clicks and I had it. Not only the reprint comic which (in much abused non-mint form) I'd once held in my own hands:

But also the original undead Egyptian specific edition, with a knockoff Universal mummy tale that echoed the Karloff/Chaney, Jr. flicks, but definitely went in its own direction, too:

Even better, a couple more clicks and I discovered a blog featuring the whole issue, all spiffed up and looking better than the edition I'd once held in my grubby little monster-lovin' mitts:

The Horrors of It All  Blogspot: Dell Movie Classic The Mummy (Part One)
The Horrors of It All Blogspot: Dell Movie Classic The Mummy (Part Two)

Check out the above if you want the definitive take on a mummy who can 1) sprint like Woody Strode, 2) climb buildings, and 3) get tackled like a guy running a misguided Statue of Liberty play. Seriously. Plus: this living dead Egyptian is possessed of a single eyeball that can (by turns) hypnotize and melt handcuffs. And: the square-jawed hero has an Egyptian Peter Lorre-style sidekick, always a plus. Lastly: I remember acting out the part of the story where the mummy tries to kidnap the heroine; I was the mummy, the preacher's daughter from next door was the girl. Needless to say, parental disapproval soon followed.

Anyway, rereading the Dell mummy tale all these years later wasn't exactly inspiring when it came to creating my own story, but it was fun. A little more clicking around and I discovered that Dell produced a slew of Movie Classic issues featuring the Universal Monsters crew. What I haven't found is a compilation that reprints all this stuff. Now that would be fun... and a great gift for Monsterkids everywhere. I'd definitely pony up the bucks to spend a few hours eyeballing this murderer's row:

Now, if only the good folks at Dell had gotten around to adapting Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein... or Werewolf of London... or The Old Dark House... or the Karloff & Lugosi versions of The Raven and The Black Cat!

*And, yep, we're talking issues #1 - 20 of that fabled Warren mag. Mom insisted that my Famous Monsters collection was a fire hazard. She used to tell me: "Just cut out the articles you like -- those things could burn down the whole house!" In other words, the mags were doomed. I was away at summer camp, learning to skin jack rabbits, when they became landfill. Yes. There was no recycling in those days, and summer camp was a different experience than it is today.