While browsing in a comic book store not too long ago, I picked up a remaindered collection1 of Pre-Code horror comics: several issues of The Unseen (published by Standard Comics) from 1952-1953. Overall, The Unseen isn’t up to the level of an EC Comic; but it was still a fun read.
In addition to the graphic art stories, each issue included a straight-text tale, as well. Most of them were pretty forgettable, but I did find one devil’s-bargain tale that I thought was rather cute, so I transcribed it.
The frustrated straight-man to a famous comedian longs for a serious acting career. He sees his chance in a new Broadway production of Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus. But perhaps he should have waited for a play with a happier ending….
- You can read “The Eternal Stooge” over on Ephemera.
The story’s author is one Irwin Shapiro, who according to the The Grand Comics Database was a comics editor at Pines (the publication house that published Standard Comics) from 1949 to about 1953 (reference here). He seems to have written several straight-text stories for various Standard Comics titles. He may or may not be this Irwin Shapiro, a translator and children’s book author who also adapted several classic literary works for Pendulum Press—a series which eventually evolved into Marvel Classics Illustrated.
Nothing from Standard Comics shows up for the children’s book author either in Wikipedia or in the Grand Comics Database, but it’s still an interesting coincidence.
- Pre-Code Classics: The Unseen Volume 1, PS Artbooks, 2017 ↩
Illustration from the original publication, illustrator unknown.
Source: Comic Book Plus