Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The House of Mystery #224 - May 1974

An adventure with the original Phantom Stranger!

DC wasn't done reprinting some of the stories from the original Phantom Stranger series; but instead of running them in Adventure Comics, the Stranger was moved over to the much more appropriate House of Mystery.

In this issue is "Mystery in Miniature", by John Broome and Frank Giacoia, from The Phantom Stranger #6
Our protagonist Tim goes looking for the elves, and he finds them as they are about to set a fire (arsonist elves, the worst kind). He takes a picture of them so he has proof, but the elves don't take too well to that, and tie him up with ropes, and touch him with some sort of magical wand.

Magical, did you say? Well, that means The Phantom Stranger is going to get involved
The elves are easily startled, but the Stranger warns Tim they better get out of there, before the little guys regroup.

Back at Tim's house, the Stranger leaves, and immediately Tim thinks maybe he can go back and recover his camera. But an elf is there waiting for him, warning him to stay away.

The elf tells Tim they plan to take over the world(!), and want humans to stay away from the iron works, where they plan to launch their attack. Tim grabs a poker from his fire place to defend himself, which seems to send the elf into a panic, causing him to disappear into thin air.

The Stranger returns, and surmises that the magnetic force inherent in iron must weaken them. So they do the next logical thing--don suits of iron and attack the elves:

...and so ends one really goofy adventure with The Phantom Stranger!

Around this time, DC was starting to give The Phantom Stranger a little more in-house promotion (ironic, since the book had just ended what was its most popular creative stretch), and I found this ad in another book from 1974:
Interesting to see that DC had decided, despite the Stranger's appearances in Brave and the Bold and Justice League of America, that The Phantom Stranger was a horror/mystery title as opposed to a superhero book, and would be sold along similar titles.


Anonymous said...

One of the only original Phantom Stranger tales to deal with actual "fantastic" elements--even though the menace here is revealed to be more scifi than supernu.
Ahh, those great old 100 page specials--I still have quite a few of them, and I had this one as well, though I let it slip away from me. So much reading pleasure for a measley 50 cents! Those days won't come again.
Love the house ad. They're great time capsules. Who now remembers Weird Mystery or Forbidden Tales of Dark Mansion?

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