Category Archives: April 1971

Episode 1245: Sunset at Collinwood

“You’ve had too many victims! It’s over for you!”

Morgan Collins, the self-proclaimed god-emperor of the great estate at Collinwood, has learned that his emotionally explosive wife, who he had always feared was cheating on him with his cousin, was actually cheating on him with his cousin, to the extent that she is currently pregnant with her lover’s child.

Driven mad by this betrayal, in addition to the general background madness of being a Collins in the first place, Morgan has locked up Barnabas and Angelique in the cursed room that plagues this parallel hell. Everyone who spends a night in that room either dies or goes insane, at the pleasure of an angry ancestor who’s determined to spoil everyone’s fun. So far, the trapped lovers have been alternately possessed and throttled, but the evil wizard running the no-escape room hasn’t gone in for the kill.

As dawn approaches, Morgan strides down the hall towards the sealed portal, with a six-shooter in his hand. When he opens the door, if he finds that the couple has managed to survive the night, then he’s just going to shoot them, and take his revenge the old-fashioned way.

So I’ve got some hard news for Morgan this morning: opening that door is not going to benefit you in any way. Letting Barnabas out of a box is what got us into this mess in the first place.

Continue reading Episode 1245: Sunset at Collinwood

Episode 1244: Empire of the Loud

“The curse is more powerful than all of us put together.”

Morgan Collins has pulled the ol’ love-and-shove on his faithless wife Catherine, pretending that he’s going to rescue her boyfriend Bramwell from the human sacrifice chamber. Where is he? I can’t see him, she said, and he said Just look closer, he’s right there, and she said I don’t — and then all of a sudden she was on the wrong side of a locked door.

“You tricked me!” Catherine cries. “Just as you tricked Bramwell, you tricked me!”

“I plead guilty, my dear!” Morgan hollers, through the door. “On both counts!”

“Well, listen to me, Morgan!” she shouts. “I’d rather die with Bramwell than live with you one more day!”

“Then you have your wish, don’t you?” he chirps. “Goodbye, Catherine!” And then he saunters away, mentally updating his Tinder profile.

So we’re agreed: Morgan is the asshole in this story, and we refuse to put up with him anymore. After nine and a half weeks of this lemon of a storyline, Dark Shadows and I are finally on the same page.

Continue reading Episode 1244: Empire of the Loud

Dark Shadows Comic Strip, part 2: A Forever Death

“Is there nothing that can stop the power of that witch’s flaming hate?”

It’s day two of our special feature on the 1971 Dark Shadows comic strip, which appeared in newspapers every day for a year, starting about three weeks before the show was cancelled. The strip stars America’s grooviest ghoul Barnabas Collins, of course, who inhabits the great estate at Collinwood with a couple women named Elizabeth and Carolyn. And that’s it for the regular cast, so they have to import characters from the outside if they want to have anybody to talk to, or — as is often the case — anybody to look at while doing a lengthy thinks monologue.

There’s a lot of thinks in this strip; for Barnabas, it’s about 50/50 between thinks and actual dialogue so far, and the scale is tipping pretty strongly in the direction of internal dialogue. If they ever filmed this story, Jonathan Frid would hardly have to remember any lines at all; he could just pre-record everything, and then stand there doing facial expressions.

Continue reading Dark Shadows Comic Strip, part 2: A Forever Death

Dark Shadows Comic Strip, part 1: The Tortured Undead

“I thought there were only two Collinses left. That means there are three who must be destroyed!”

Now, I know that Quentin Collins is at a particularly thrilling crisis point right now — forced to wear jewelry that he doesn’t particularly care for — but I’m afraid we’re going to have to put his problems on hold for a minute, because I’ve got problems of my own. I’m leaving the country for a conference, and I won’t have time to write regular episode posts for the next two weeks. But I can’t just jump forward into the future and leave the rest of you behind, at the mercy of gypsies.

So I’ve come up with another crackpot idea for what to do over these two weeks, namely: write about the Dark Shadows comic strip, which ran for one year, starting in March 1971. These will probably take me longer to write than the regular posts would have, but I wanted a chance to cover the comic strip anyway, and you only live once, probably.

Continue reading Dark Shadows Comic Strip, part 1: The Tortured Undead