Tuesday, September 1, 2009

If You Blinked You Missed: Red Circle's Mad House

Greetings, Groove-ophiles! Hey, I know that you know that for a short time in the early 70s, squeaky-clean Archie Comics (under its Red Circle imprint) dabbled in the occult-style comics that were so popular at DC and Charlton at the time with Red Circle Sorcery (aka Sorcery and Chilling Adventures in Sorcery). But did'ja know that they produced a second, short-lived mystery comic called Mad House (taking the numbering from Archie's Madhouse/Madhouse Ma-ad/Mad House Glads, a sometimes experimental Archie humor comic)? Mad House ran for three issues (July-November 1974) and was pretty much a clone of Sorcery with the main difference being that editor Gray Morrow didn't contribute much more than covers. He did manage to round up some pretty far-out creators to fill its musty, macabre pages though. F'rinstance, dig this rock-n-roll fear-fable (featuring a parody of the Grateful Dead, yet!) by writer Marv Channing and artist Doug (Johnny Quest) Wildey from Mad House #95!

Ish #96 sports a story spotlighting the sexy side of the supernatural--"Demon Kiss" by none other than a young Bruce Jones. Check it out!

And finally, from Mad House #97, here's a fun riff on the great Sherlock Holmes by Marv Channing and Frank (Red Sonja) Thorne. Here comes "The Vampire Hunter!"

Henry Hobson was to have become Mad House's regular lead feature, but sadly, issue 97 was the final issue for Gray Morrow and company. After a few months in limbo, the mag returned to its humorous roots as Madhouse Comics and would last another 33 issues before the keepers decided to lock it up for good.

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