The 1953 Mysterious Adventures #15 cover
In the shimmering pantheon of cool skull covers generated by Mysterious Adventures during it's run (which we'll feature from time to time), this one is not the best or most horrific. But for my money, it's the funniest.
I mean, here's this big skull-faced fellow fearsomely flinging a careening cranium into the tumbling tenpins to score a strike, no mean feat considering how haphazardly a skull will roll. But if that wasn't cool enough, when the girl shrieks "Bill! Bill! What did you do with him?" he replies with "Here's your Bill!" Yeah, I got your Bill right here, baby. Bet ya never knew he was so into sports, huh, toots?
The funny thing about this is the inference that it wasn't bad enough the skull-masked murderer had killed poor Bill and then de-fleshed the skull; but now he's bowling with it! THE HORROR!
What few realise is that this was the first of a proposed series of stories and covers in which the villain torments the same girl by playing various sports with Bill's detached headbone. Rumors persist of sketches being discovered in which Bill's skull is being hammered by a hockeystick (by the hockey-masked skullface, a clear inspiration for Jason), kicked around on the soccer field; bashed with a bat toward the outfield; pounded with a polo stick by the horseriding bad guy, and so on. Why these were never published is a mystery lost to time, as they would have made classic images.
For a a skeletal slew of complete scans of Mysterious Adventures and other pre-code comics, visit fellow blogger Karswell at The Horrors Of It All.