Another post imported from my first blog "Sweet Skulls," that spotlights The "Nightmare" issue #13 cover and story. If you missed it there, enjoy it now, here!
In the summer of 1973, my skinny, bookish young 14-year-old self saw this issue of Skywald's Nightmare on the magazine rack at Chichesters Pharmacy on Vineville Avenue in Macon, GA. A cold thrill coursed down my spine, not only because I knew the Skywald mags to be the good stuff, but because the cover art was truly the fabric of nightmares. The beautifully rotting face of the living corpse on the cover was riveting. I quickly snatched it up, had it paid for and out of the store within 30 seconds flat.
Now, most all of the items that I would pick up at the drugstore during the weekend stay's at my Grandma's house, I would read as I walked back from the drugstore. Be it the latest Star Trek novelization, comic book, Monster Times, Famous Monsters, Castle of Frankenstein, Planet of the Apes, Dracula Lives, etc., they would all be perused as I walked the four blocks back home. But the rare issues of Skywald's Nightmare or Scream I lucked upon were saved til the night-time hours. It wouldn't be right to read them in the bright light of the daytime... no. That would be missing some of the special thrill.
After chowing down on the bagful of cheese Krystals I brought home for our supper, watching Kung Fu and the Saturday Night Movie on TV with Grandma, and finishing all the other magazines or comics I had bought, then... and only then...when it was after midnight, came the time for Nightmare. I retreated to my room, with a bedside lamp and a candle lit on the dresser. With a bottle of blue cream soda and some snacks on the table, I would almost reverantly take out the issue and open it. The horrors inside were devoured and absorbed into my young monster-hungry mind, filling it with delicious chills.
This is the first time I've presented an entire story in the Sweet Skulls blog. Usually I only feature the skull-centric cover art. But as I took out my old copy of this issue and scanned in the cover, I re-read the story and decided it would be a shame not to share the whole thing with you. So I spent about an hour scanning in the pages, then another hour cropping and formatting the images for posting. It took another hour to upload them to the blog page. The time required for all this is another reason I don't do it much; how Karswell does it on a daily basis is a mystery to me. I also don't want to encroach on territory already excellently covered by his blog "The Horrors Of It All," but since he mostly features pre-Code comics, and this is from a B&W horror magazine, I thought it was worth doing. As I have time, and if the story is good enough, I may do it again occasionally.
There you go... bet ya didn't see that one coming, did ya? Well, maybe you did, being so smart and all, but 14-year-old Fred didn't, and that's the standard I judge these old stories by.
Here's a bonus scan of a splash page about H. P. Lovecraft that I thought was well done. It looked like I did after I fell asleep reading the magazine and dreamed about all that weird stuff! Unlike most, I actually enjoyed my nightmares... they were like a realistic movie, and the scarier the better.