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excellent writing
masterpiece art
historical bonus 3
total score 10
Skull #6
Back Cover
Back Cover
(click for larger image)

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1st/2nd Printing / November 1972 / 36 pages / Last Gasp Eco-Funnies
I don't know if Last Gasp knew that this would be the last issue of the series when they commissioned its content, but they couldn't have chosen a better way to go out with a bang. Skull #6 features one full-length story written by Tom Veitch and illustrated by long-time partner Greg Irons and by the supremely talented Richard Corben.

"A Gothic Tale" is told in two parts, the first half drawn by Irons and the second half by Corben. The story begins in 1860 in a small coastal village in Maine, where a mad doctor/scientist named Lucius Rodin is rumored to be "up to something blasphemous!" Dr. Rodin manages to enchant the beautiful Heather Dufresne, the virginal belle of the village, but he gets killed in an explosion before their romance can be consummated. But due to the mysterious, supernatural powers of the "Oriental" sorcerers he was working with, Dr. Rodin is brought back to life just long enough to make love to Heather and impregnate her.

To say that Heather's pregnancy is wrought with complications would be an understatement, but as we learn in the last page of part one, the baby is born healthy (we can't say as much for Heather's "delivery").

The story picks up 210 years later, with Corben at the helm of the brush and inkwell. Lucious Rodin's great-grandson, Hector, begins to explore his notorious great-grandfather after his father dies. Hector begins making regular visits to his ancestral home in Maine, where he frequents a Roman Catholic convent. During his last visit, he is ambushed by monstrous creatures and must face the curse that Dr. Rodin and his cult invoked over two centuries ago. I've already spoiled too much of the plot, so I'll leave the culmination to you, but the story ends with the spirit of a vintage EC Comics denouement, only laden with gore.

Veitch's story is truly a horrific classic, and only the slightest glitches and missteps leave it short of pure brilliance. Irons and Corben, however, have virtually no flaws in their depiction of the narrative. Their compositions and character portrayals are at times ominous, raunchy, solemn and gruesome. It is some of Irons' best work and some of Corben's best early work in black and white. To my knowledge, this is the only time they collaborated on a project together, and the results make you wish it had been a common occurence. Irons, who died almost 30 years ago, more than holds his own with the legendary Corben.

So Skull Comics comes to an end, but it is indeed in glorious fashion that meets the high standards of the EC Comics tradition.
There are two printings of this comic book, both by Last Gasp and both with 50-cent cover prices. It is believed that the two printings are indistinguishable from one another. There were approximately 10,000 copies produced in each printing.
Greg Irons - 1, 2, 3-19 (art), 35
Herman Hesse - 2 (quote)
Tom Veitch - 3-34 (script)
Richard Corben - 20-34 (art), 36
unknown contributor - 35 (photo)