Strange Tales #92: "The Thing Hunts For Me!"

Strange Tales #92
 "The Thing Hunts For Me!"
 January, 1962

 Script: Larry Lieber; Stan Lee (Plot)
 Pencils: Jack Kirby
 Inks: Dick Ayers

 The city of New York can be a glamorous one or a poverty-ridden one, depending upon the neighborhood! This was one of the rough neighborhoods... She had to find a place to live and it was all she could afford! There were a lot of characters she wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley! She was now at the rooming house Marge had told her about! The rent was ten dollars a week! The land lady asked what a nice-looking young lady like her was doing in a dump like this. She was between jobs and a girlfriend who had stayed here said it was inexpensive! She learns that the room next to hers was occupied by an old man who never left it, and always kept his door locked and bolted! Once inside her room, she found it like something out of Edgar Allan Poe!

 That night, she met the other boarders... a motley group of down-and-outers! One of them gave her the creeps by staring at her like a feline watching its supper! As she brooded about the big and tough boarder in the safety of her room, she hears footsteps in the next room belonging to the old man! Since the walls were so thin, she could hear him pacing back and forth -- back and forth! Now the old man has gone to the door, unlocking it, and coming out of his room! KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK! The old man was knocking at her door! KNOCK! KNOCK! The old man begs for her to open up because he had to speak with her! The old man was in trouble and asked her to come to his room at once!

 The old man would tell her as soon as they were inside his room! Once the door was locked, the old man spoke of the Thing hunting for him, and who wanted to silence him forever! The old man had a weak heart and before he died... he had to tell someone the whole fantastic tale! There was little time remaining... Three years ago, the old man was fishing in an isolated wooded area... when he saw a reflection in the water! It was a flying saucer about to land in a nearby clearing... As the door opened, the old man speculated that perhaps one of our astronauts was inside... or perhaps it belonged to a enemy spy ring!

 When the old man saw the alien inhabitants emerging from the saucer, he knew they were unlike anything seen on Earth! The saucer would return in a few years when the alien learned all they needed to know about the Earthlings! It would study them by disguising itself as an Earthling to avoid being discovered! Seeing the alien approaching his direction, the old man turned to run, and stepped on a twig... SNAP! The aliens knew the human was observing them and must now be silenced! Their entire master plan would be wrecked! The alien takes to the air on unearthly wings and flew above the treeline until he caught up to the old man! As the alien swooped down for the kill, the old man dove into the stream, and his pursuer was unwilling to endure the element of water!

 If only the alien could seize the Earthling without having to touch the water... but before it managed to accomplish that particular feat, the old man went over the falls, and found himself in an underground cave! Battered and bruised, but lucky to be alive! The old man waited until night and left the cave through a rear entrance... He had lost the alien for the time being, but his pursuer will not give up the search so easily! The alien will keep coming until he's silenced the Earthling! Since that terrible day three years ago, the old man has been hiding, and surviving by his wits! Now, he was sick, and his heart could not take any more! The old man had to tell his story to someone before the end came! KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK! Hearing the loud knocking, the old man fears that the alien has found him at last, and expires from the fear!

 With the old man dead, she opens the door... and learns that it was one of the boarders who only wanted to tell him his faucet was on.. and the water was leaking down into his room! The old man's room was soon filled with a doctor, a policeman, and other boarders! It was all over! And in a way, she was glad... She was glad the old man died in the manner he did -- of natural causes... because it would have been suspicious... with a boarding house full of Earthlings... for the alien to have done it... himself!

 This story was reprinted in Where Monsters Dwell #23 (September, 1973).

 This story was originally titled, "The Thing Hunts For Me!"

 Johnny Storm once found an amnesiac Sub-Mariner in an old flophouse.

 The big and tough boarder resembles Ben Grimm.

 Doctor Don Blake was on vacation in Norway when he stumbled across an invasion by the Stone Men From Saturn in Journey into Mystery #83.

 The aliens have facial features evocative of Fin Fang Foom.

 Skrulls are shape-changing alien who impersonated the Fantastic Four in the second issue of their comic book.

 Water is one way to douse the Human Torch's flames.

 After running from the Stone Men From Saturn, Doctor Don Blake found himself in a cave, and a secret cavern contained his salvation in the form of an old, gnarled cane which transformed him into the Mighty Thor.

 Due to the shrapnel lodged near his heart, millionaire industrialist Tony Stark build his life-preserving armor of Iron Man.

 Steve Chung
 "The Thing Reviews For Me!"