Spooktoberfest Special: OH NO!

The passengers on the #3 bus to the Downtown/Stadium Area…





Yes, as ISB readers might recall from when I first stumbled on the formula last year, DC was able to keep up with the astonishing demand for horror comics in the mid-70s by publishing no fewer than seven titles whose covers were based almost entirely around putting skeletons in places where skeletons would not usually be found, often with horrifyingly ridiculous results!

Skeletal bus drivers, skeletal ski instructors, skeletal lighthouses… The madmen creating these terrifying tomes would stop at nothing to ambush the reader with a shot of osteological dread, and with the climax of Spooktoberfest rapidly approaching, I thought it might be time for another gruesome gallery of things… that are actually skeletons!



“Good Lord! Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson… IS ACTUALLY A SKELETON!!



“Uh, honey, I know it’s our special day and everything, but I’m pretty sure your cousin Ethel… IS ACTUALLY A SKELETON!!



“Could it be Lupus, or is Dr. House… ACTUALLY A SKELETON?!



“This is madness! King Leonidas… IS ACTUALLY A SKELETON!



“I say, leftenant! It appears the cloud cover the Jerries were using… IS ACTUALLY A RUDDY SKELETON!!

“Quite. Ah well, stiff upper lip then, Bertram.”



“Jinkies! That fifteen-footer that Chic’s hot-dogging… IS ACTUALLY A FLIPPED-OUT SKELETON!



“Oh man. Either I am tripping balls over here, or the Eastern face of Mount Rushmore… IS ACTUALLY A SKELETON!!

…And there’s also a witch over there by Jefferson, which is somehow even weirder.”



“Hey kid, watch out! That skeleton is ACTUALLY A–hey, wait a minute…”


The original “Actually a Skeleton” post from January 2006 can be found over on ISB Classic, and while I’m FREAKING OUT and the fact that there’s actually more than one surfing-themed skeleton cover, I’m not sure anything’s ever going to top “Dios Mio! Un esqueleto!”

38 thoughts on “Spooktoberfest Special: OH NO!

  1. “I mean, I read up on President Skeletor. He gets a bad rap, but he wasn’t a horrible guy. He inherited a deficit and his cabinet was lousy, but his foreign policy was solid and he rebuilt a lot of trust for our nation. Also, he was actually a skeleton, which wasn’t so scary once you got used to it.”

  2. Unfortunately, President Skeletor wasn’t a riveting speaker, largely due to his lack of lungs and vocal chords, which made it hard to answer critics which charged that he soft on witches.

  3. I,m really tired, but that’s still pure comedic genius. Another notch in the win cloumn.

  4. I can never forgive the way President Skeletor squandered our military might on his fruitless war to acquire the secrets of Castle Greyskull. How many of our regiments must march to their doom at the hands of He-Man before we bring our sons and daughters home?

  5. Taking the skeleton factor for just a moment, would you trust a doctor with that cloak and that collar to look after your loved ones? I mean, come on, they hadn’t even invented penicillin by the time that when out of style.

  6. My nickname at school when I was 11/12 was ‘skeleton’ (on account of being very tall, and horribly skinny). After developing a taste for jokes of a certain adult nature, I managed to get that nickname adjusted to ‘boner’. With the added bonus that the latter name was not used for teasing. Ah, sweet acceptance.

    True story.

  7. Reminds me of a old song from my place:
    “Rascayú, cuando mueras ¿que harás tu?
    Rascayú, cuando mueras ¿que harás tu?
    Tu serás un cadáver nada mas…..
    Rascayú, cuando mueras ¿que harás tu?

    (Approximately: “Rascayu, when you’re dead, what will you do?
    That is crass, but you’ll be just a carcass
    Rascayu, when you’re dead, what will you do?”

  8. I’m making it my primary goal to use the word “ruddy” no less than 5 times tomorrow……BEFORE LUNCH!

  9. Absolutely hilarious…just freakin hilarious. I’m laughing out loud here at work. Hope I don’t disturb my co-workers, they tend to get a bit…hey…wait…I just noticed…ALL MY CO-WORKERS ARE SKELETONS!

  10. Man, those all look great. Weird War Tales is already one of my favorite comics from the era, but I may have to track down some of these others as well. I would totally have bought all of these off the rack.

  11. I remember being freaked out by the “piper’ story in a Year’s Best Digest back in the day. Remember the “Year’s Best” digests? They would be impossible to do now because all the stories would have to be self-contained.

  12. That Weird War Tales cover is great and would make a FANTASTIC poster! I know I would’ve have grabbed that off the rack had I seen it…

    …And if I “had the nerve”…:)

  13. Call me a stoner, but is the kid on the last cover holding a glowing bong? Whoa, I’m tripping out man. “Muuuuuuuwaaaaaaaaa, don’t bogart that Billlllllyyyyyy.”

  14. I am going to get “Dios Mio! Un esqueleto!!” on a t-shirt. That is pure gold.

    By the way, did they ever reveal how ugly the face of death was in “Unexpected”??


  15. I remember having several of these very books as a “tween” in 70’s. Great memories.

  16. I love the “Piper at the Gates of Hell” cover, for the way the legions of the damned are throwing their hands in the air like they just don’t care. Hell is an everlasting Oingo Boingo concert? Sign me up!

  17. But we all know what the twist will be.

    Chris Sims is actually….a WEREWOLF!

    Or a skeleton…that’d be pretty freaky, too.

  18. Quick: which is more horriscarifying? That the passengers on the bus are are all skeletons, or that that is Bronze-Age open-collared JIMMY OLSEN ON THE BUS AND HE IS FREAKING OUT? When Mr. Action starts losing his shit, you know it’s duck-and-cover time.

  19. On that first cover, I love how the woman skeleton is reading a newspaper. It makes me think that that after the guy finishes screaming “Stop the bus! LET ME OFF!” the driver will say “Umm…Okay” and then let him off. Now THAT would be unexpected.

  20. I was also totally freaked out as a kid by the “Piper at the Gates of Hell” cover. Help me out, still blinking: is that the issue that also contains a story where an impossibly sexy Indian woman turns out to be Kali herself?

  21. Oh! The memories these covers bring back! I was a kid/young teen in the ’70’s, and I lovedlovedloved all these horror comics.

    I lost most of them, though I have one or two still floating around to scare my children with. ;)

  22. Er, although obviously you have no reason to know that, if you caught the Piper tale in a digest. Honestly, sometimes my ability to miss the point is practically supernatural…

  23. “Dios Mio! Un Esquelito!” Sounds EXACTLY like the kind of thing the Bumblebee Man would say on The Simpsons.

    The compositions are sometimes off (the “Piper” cover is too cramped, and the wedding one is really off-balance) but those are otherwise some really nicely drawn covers.

  24. Also: re the “Piper at the Gates of Hell” cover — “Pray he’s not playing YOUR song!” My song is “Moonlight in Vermont.” And I get very weepy when I hear it. Even if it’s played on the Bone Flute.

  25. I remember the “Piper at the Gates of Hell” story to be vaguely disturbing, but were there any DC Horror stories that actually. . . y’know, HORRIFIED?

  26. “is that the issue that also contains a story where an impossibly sexy Indian woman turns out to be Kali herself?”

    That might be Unexpected #174…

  27. Apropos of nothing:

    There’s a full-page yaoi ad in Previews this month that trumps even the “Friends… With Benefits?” one. You’ll know it when you see it.