Adventure Comics Vol. 1 #438

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The Ghostly Guardian must halt the insane activities of the curator of the Museum of Natural History, who, in his spare time, has people in specific occupations kidnapped and brought to the museum, where he treats the bodies for “special exhibits” he has constructed in the basement of the facility.

The Spectre Haunts the Museum of Fear

The story opens outside New York’s Museum of Natural History. Two workers help an insane museum curator move a drugged victim inside the museum for a murder and taxidermy work so the victim will become part of a lifelike display in the museum.

The next morning in Sayville, Herman Miller, a postal worker, makes his rounds delivering the mail. Two men jump from a truck and put chloroform to his mouth. Herman falls unconscious. The insane museum professor warns the henchmen to be careful with this perfect specimen for his exhibit. Inside the museum Herman unexpectedly awakens. He grabs a taxidermist’s knife and tries to escape. The henchmen realize that Herman is too difficult to subdue, so they shoot and kill him. The professor only moans that the henchman has ruined this specimen for the exhibit.

The next morning the mailman’s body is found on a dock with the knife still in his hand. New York Police Detective Lieutenant Jim Corrigan begins the murder investigation.

Later that day, a businessman is subdued for the professor’s American Businessman exhibit. But the professor has run out of his taxidermy materials.

A police car radio warns about a taxidermy store being robbed and Corrigan responds. At the taxidermy store, Corrigan turns into the Spectre, and with his eyes of death, he kills one of the store robbers. The Spectre then transforms into an exact replica of the dead man and goes with the other man back to the museum. Inside the museum, he changes again into the Spectre and then animates gorillas from a museum display to kill the professor and the remaining henchman.

Land of Magic

An unpublished 7 Soldiers of Victory story finally saw print as a back up feature in Adventure Comics #438 - three decades after it was written. Noted scientist and author Joseph Samachson had penned his last Soldiers story in 1945, when the super hero team were a regular feature in Leading Comics.

Back then, an editorial decision to change Leading Comics into a funny animal book had cast its victorious stars into comic book limbo, and forced Samachson's tale, "Land of Magic" to languish in DC's inventory for the next 3 decades. Yet when the 7 Soldiers of Victory resurfaced in Justice League of America #100 - #102 (August - October 1972), Adventure Comics editor Joe Orlando recognized a Golden Age opportunity.

He published Samachson's story in installments, in which the Soldiers were transported into strange, cartoonish realms within the land of magic before reuniting. Teeming with Samachson's whimsical sense of humor and adventure, this 7 Soldiers of Victory tale from the Golden Age was a lost treasure no more.

  1. "The Spectre Haunts the Museum of Fear" (Spectre) written by Michael Fleisher, penciled by Ernie Chua, inked by Jim Aparo and lettered by Milt Snappin.
  2. "Land of Magic" (Seven Soldiers of Victory) written by Joe Samachson, penciled and inked by Howard Chaykin.


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