Menace #2: On With The Dance!"

Menace #2
"On With The Dance!"
April, 1953

Script: Stan Lee
Art: Russ Heath

Her name is Stella Scheele.  She is a dancer with an icy heart and a
dollar sign where her soul should be.  This is her story.  After getting
ready in a cramped dressing room, Stella is on stage with the other
chorus girls, but her thoughts are of having one good break  The people
in the audience are her personal judges, and she must use all of her
talents to amuse them.  Stella longs for a solo number and the spotlight.

When the number has ended, it's back to the dressing room, where the
girls are happy... all but Stella.  She overhears the news about Fay
Grey's broken leg, and the need for a replacement.  Before the others in
the chorus can make their move, Stella is already knocking at the
producer's door.  Lou Harmon eyes her when she enters, and listens to
Stella when she makes her request.  The producer sighs, then tells the
dancer that auditions will be held tomorrow.  When she asks for Lou to
take a chance on her, he admits that it's because he knows her too well
to waste the role on the likes of her.

The dancer rages out of the producer's office, unable to speak, and sees
-- Jack Waters waiting for her.  When she asks what he could possibly
want from her, Jack wonders if she remembers him at all.  He had gone to
prison for her over a stolen necklace, and had taken the blame instead of
his beloved Stella.  Unimpressed by his devotion, the dancer tells Jack
that she doesn't date ex-convicts.  Jack Waters had given up three years
of his life in prison, but all this means is that he was a fool.  He
holds his head to keep it from bursting, and watches her head for the
stage door.  Jack threatens to kill himself, for without her, he has
nothing left to live for.  BAM  Now all of her problems are over.

As she sleeps in her bed, all Stella can think of is getting the part.
The following morning finds Stella Scheele on her way for the audition.
Lou is surprised to find her at the casting office, especially since the
role has already been filled.  The producer introduces the dancer to Mona
Durell, but Stella is unable hide her contempt towards the witch.  The
plain Jane has stolen the part which should have been hers, and Harmon
must have been out of his mind when he chose her.  Stella waits for her
rival to come outside, where she'll scare her into leaving the role.

An hour passes, with Miss Durell being accosted by an armed Stella.  At
her apartment, the dancer has her rival covered with a revolver, and
wants her to resign.  When asked why she should want the part so much,
Stella Scheele admits that she loves to dance, and she would be much
better at it than a witch like her.  Mona smiles, and promises Stella
that she'll get her wish.  She will dance as no one has ever danced
before.  The plain looking girl had been telling the truth, because the
gun drops from Stella's hand, and she begins to dance as never before.
The dancing continues, even through exhaustion, and the desire to stop.
Stella doesn't stop, and she continues to dance.  Days pass, with plenty
of weight loss, and the knowledge that she had made a grave mistake.
When she called Mona Durell a witch, Stella should have made certain that
she wasn't.  The witch floats on her broomstick, and laughs at the
skeletal remains in the tattered dress... continuing its eternal dance.

This story was reprinted in Giant-Size Dracula #2 (September, 1974).

Russ Heath is no stranger when it comes to the art of the female form.

When they told her to break a leg, Fay Grey was a real trouper, and took
the advice to heart.

I wonder if Fay was related to Jean Grey?

Lou Harmon resembles a chain-smoking Stephen Strange.

As drawn by Heath, the producer casts his cold, calculating gaze on the
ambitious dancer.

Jack Waters resembles a slightly older Jimmy Olsen, complete with green
wardrobe, and bow-tie.

Instead of having a signal watch, the jilted beau carries a gun, and
knows how to use it.

The poor guy had his shot at Stella, but missed the opportunity, and said
his piece.

Miss Durell flashes the dancer that "Mona Lisa" smile, then makes Stella
Scheele the Lady of the Dance.

Steve Chung
"On With The Review!"