Hallowe’en Countdown II, Day 26

« Certain types of stories make perfect television fare. In the realm of the ghost story, however, I think the printed page has some advantages and I want you to discover them. When you read, you can be alone — absolutely alone. » — Alfred Hitchcock (but likely Robert Arthur in his name and place.)

Today, we feature Fred Banbery’s fabulously detailed and, well, haunting illustrations for « Alfred Hitchcock’s Haunted Houseful ».

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Haunted Houseful’s endpapers, a summary of much of what lurks within its pages.

Frederick Ernest Banbery (1913-1999) was perhaps the definitive Paddington Bear portrayer, but for me, it’s his Hitchcock-related work that truly sings. He illustrated three Random House Hitchcock books for younger readers: Haunted Houseful (1961), Ghostly Gallery (1962), and Solve-Them-Yourself-Mysteries (1963), plus the covers of a handful of Hitch paperback short story collections. These books can still be had surprisingly cheap to this day (I just checked eBay, and it holds), so keep an eye out. Every picture’s a gem, to say nothing of the stories!

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A scene from Manly Wade Wellman‘s « Let’s Haunt a House ». Dollars to doughnuts that’s not an actual ghost.
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From Constance Savery’s « The Wastwytch Secret »
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From Walter R. Brooks’ oft-anthologized « Jimmy Takes Vanishing Lessons »

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A pair from Elisabeth Coatsworth‘s « The Forgotten Island ». Is that you, Mr. Hitchcock, making your customary cameo appearance?
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« The Treasure in the Cave », an excerpt from Mark Twain‘s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

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And finally, two illustrations from Louise and Donald Peattie‘s « The Mystery in Four-and-a-Half Street ». Is that powerfully moody or what?

My wife said something about my « stretching the definition of comics » with this one, but, honestly, thanks to the cartoony style, this feels more authentically like comics to me than, for instance, most comics painted in a self-consciously ‘realistic’ style (think Alex Ross, Jon J. Muth or Kent Williams), not that I’m disparaging that approach… it’s just not my thing.

– RG