Chilling Adventures in Sorcery #5 (1974)

This is one of my favorte obscure comics series of the 1970s. Every issue of Sorcery is a hoot. As you might imagine, this was a horror anthology comic that came out in the era when horror comics were all the rage. Marvel, DC and Warren Magazines all were realeasing all kinds of horror comics, and this Sorcery was, oddly enough, produced by an offshoot line of Archie Comics called Red Circle Comics. The first three or four issues, in fact, had Sabrina the Teenage Witch as host (!), but by issue five, the comic had settled into a familiar horror anthology position, with four twist ending stories with art by the terrific Vincente Alcazar and the equally terrific Gray Morrow.
 
Because it wasn’t put out by Marvel or DC, this comic can still be fouind at many conventions at good prices. I picked up this issue, for instance, in Fine condition for only $3, or the price of a new comic these days. But in terms of bargain for the dollar, this is worth much more than this month’ issue of New Avengers.
 
The first story in the issue is "The Two Thieves of Baghdad," and takes place in ancient and modern Iraq, or at least Iraq of the 1970s. It’s ironic reading this comic today, seeing the presentation of Iraq as just another exotic country. Of course, for Americans, Iraq will never be "just another country", but here it’s presented as the backdrop of a charming adventure tale. Alcazar’s art is wonderfully bold and fresh, with an exciting kinetic energy to it.
 
After an ad from "Jeri of Hollywood" for movie star photos (for 50c, you could get a set of 18 photos of such stars as Ann-Margaret, Barbara Eden, Lee Majors, Raquel Welch and the Mod Squad!) comes "Esme," the story of a groovily dressed girl whose glasses make monsters seem like normal people. Okay, that’s not a problem you or I might ever have, but Alcazar’s heaving rendered line work is moody and fun.
 
The third story, by Gray Morrow, tells of two barbarians who find god and riches to their eventual regret. Nothing special, but nice art.
 
Finally, there’s a final piece illustrated by Alcazar, about a medieval queen who wants the necklace off the neck of an old gypsy woman. When she gets it, she learns that greed is a bad thing.
 
Overall Sorcery #3 isn’t a great comic book, but it’s a lot of fun and contains some wonderful artwork and a killer cover. It’s nice to read a Bronze Age book that’s off the beaten path. There was another way to do comics stories in that era, and Sorcery represents one alternative.
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