The Trip of Fools

Witching Hour 2

Story: Alex Toth

Art: Dick Giordano, Jack Sparling, Jose Delbo

Cover: Nick Cardy

The witches are on point here, these stories could be considered a method of torture and would likely require the reader to be imprisoned. I went for another round of three tales and got quite the range. As best I can tell, Alex Toth wrote all of them with varying artists. The book itself has no credits which is never a good sign. I’m relying on mycomicshop which is my go to for quick information on books.

The first story is titled “That’s Right Bernard — scream!” and was drawn by Jack Sparling. The story begins with Bernard driving his coworker Mike out in the middle of nowhere. He pulls over at an overlook and reveals a gun, forcing his friend out of the car and close to the railing. For the very petty reason of his buddy getting a VP promotion at work over him, he pushes Mike off the cliff to his death.

That night when Bernard goes to sleep he keeps waking up to the terrible scream of Mike as he plummets to his death. It plays over and over throughout the house, driving him mad. Suddenly the screams stop and behind him is the ghost of Mike, claiming revenge. Bernard runs away and opens the front door to his house to find it floating in the abyss of space. Mike pushes him off and he falls below into the infinite nothing. Back at the real house, the police respond to a noise complaint and find Bernard still in bed screaming in his sleep.

The next story is “The Trip of Fools” drawn by Jose Delbo. I’ll say it up front, this story has not aged well and is misguided. It follows the story of an African man in the 18th century as he is taken into slavery and moved through the steps of the slave trade. First he is taken over seas by boat and sold on the market. His wife calls out to him from the auction block revealing his name to be John. Guessing that isn’t his real name, not sure why his wife would call him that.

As he is bought and leaves, the slave trader suddenly vanishes. A day later he is steering the carriage with the owners in the back, learning from another older enslaved man. The carriage breaks a wheel and they repair it when the two owners also suddenly disappear. With their new found freedom, the pair move to the frontier where they encounter a bunch of white outlaws around a campfire. They too disappear shortly after antagonizing John.

It is finally revealed that he is not from Africa, but another planet. He has been beaming up people to enslave in space. I’m sure it was well intentioned and at the time it was an white author trying his best but it is terribly dated and tone deaf. I think a topic like slavery shouldn’t treated like this. The truth of it is already horrifying.

The less said about the final story “Once Upon a Surprise Ending!” the better. The fluid art is provided by Jack Sparling. It reads like a fever dream. It is about a fashion model “princess” who encounters a handsome man with no name. They go out and he explains that he is cursed and imprisoned in his body until he steals a Golden Record from an evil giant named Corporation. What?

She doesn’t skip a beat and heads right to Corporation. I don’t know how she knew where he was. Anyway Corporation is literally an evil giant. She takes a picture to distract him and steals the Golden Record. She gives it back to the handsome prince who transforms back to his real form, a frog. The end. What did I just read? I think it was a poorly attempted metaphor for evil record corporations? Not sure about the frog thing.

So the stories range from just okay to awful. The only saving grace here is the art is all well done so it was at least easy on the eyes. I’m holding out hope that the series is able to get a few more writers and can come up with some better ideas. At least the covers by Nick Cardy are a thing of beauty.

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