Venus #19: "The Kiss Of Death!"

Venus #19
"The Kiss Of Death!"
April, 1952

Bill Everett: Story, Pencils, & Inks

Tonight, Igor will bring the dead back to the world of the living.  From
their dark, dank graves, he'll call them forth.  Venus and Whit can only
gape in amazement as the dreadful deed is done.  Three men were brought
back, but for Andreas, he would be caught in "The Kiss Of Death!"

As she watches the two flaming skeletons fighting one another, Venus is
unable to muster a scream.  The only sounds in the room were the rattling
of newly animated bones.  The scent of the grave and its occupants soon
fade from sight.  Held in the arms of Whit, they had come to expose a
false "medium," but had found more than they had bargained for.  Igor has
returned the two combatants from whence they came.  This was just a
practice run for tonight's seance.  The two reporters will write about
the dead answering a man's question.  Two knocks on the door, and Andreas
enters into the room.  Whit and Venus draw closer, as Igor greets his

The meek man's hands were shaking, but his eyes were wild with
anticipation.  Andreas wishes to speak with the spirits in hopes of
finding a lost love.  The medium nods and asks his client what he wants
from them.  Whit and Venus listen as Andreas tells them about his platoon
during World War One.  It was in France that the buddies had met the
lovely Mara, and asked her to marry one of them.  Since she was unable to
decide, the woman decides to marry the one who outlives the others.

The soldiers protested, but Mara decided that this was the only fair way.
When Venus asks Andreas what happened next, the little man turns towards
Igor, and tells him that he is the last one.  He wants the medium to
bring the spirits of his buddies so that he can learn where Mara is.  The
reporters watch as Igor draws the mystic circle onto the floor, complete
with protective signs.  With all of them standing within the circle, Igor
tells them that they will be safe from evil.

The medium begins his message, and soon, the room grows cold with the
arrival of the dead.  A flash of light and three forms draw ever nearer.
The scent of the grave is upon them, with bony hands reaching eagerly out
towards them.  Protected by the circle, Andreas is able to ask his
question about Mara's whereabouts.  Upon hearing her name, the ghoulish
trio draw back, then inform their friend that the lovely Mara is no
longer among the living.

Hearing this dire news, the meek man begins to howl with despair.  Venus
and Whit suggest to Igor that he try and summon Mara before anything else
can happen.  The medium orders the trio of spirits to bring Mara to them.
One spirit leaves, while the others stand by in silence.  A faint shadow
appears on a wall... with the glow drawing closer and closer...  Mara
came with her arms out for Andreas... and after lifting her veil, they
could see what was left of the once beautiful woman.

All signs of life were gone from her face, with death leaving its mark
forever upon her.  Venus can only feel pity for the poor man, while Whit
watches as Andreas hears his darling's voice once more.  The medium tries
to stop him when he leaves his circle, and the reporter is only able to
grab one of his gloves.  As they embrace, all within the circle see the
truth which had been concealed by the fallen glove.  Andreas removes his
mask, then the two long-lost lovers share a kiss.

Flaming skeletons have been popular since the time of the Blazing Skull
to the Ghost Rider of the present-day.

Whit Bissell was an actor remembered for "Creature From The Black
Lagoon," "I Was A Teen-Age Frankenstein," and "The Time Machine."

Richard Widmark was memorable in the movie, "Kiss of Death!"

Frankie Avalon sang about "Venus," the goddess of love.

"Mara Of The Wilderness" was a movie which costarred Adam West.

As rendered by Bill Everett, the girl reporter does catch the eye of the
reader, and her beauty is there to be seen by all.

Bad guys rendered by Everett tend to be bald with bushy eyebrows and wide

The beautiful Mara is a brunette with a red flannel blouse and a green

The ghoulish trio wear purple robes and have skulls for faces.

Whit looks like a cross between Clark Gable and Jimmy Olsen, with his
orange hair, and green tie.

When it comes to the kiss of death, the gloves are off, and the masks
are, too.

In What If #9 (first series), Venus was recruited by Jimmy Woo to become
a member of the 1950's Avengers.

Steve Chung
"The Kiss Of Review!"