Making “The Demon Within”

The SHAZAM Award given out by the Academy of Comic Book Arts for Best Dramatic Story in 1972 went to a memorable short piece that ran in HOUSE OF MYSTERY #201. It was written by John Albano, drawn by the great Jim Aparo and edited by Joe Orlando. It was titled “The Demon Within”, and it’s been reprinted on a few occasions since then. As with a number of the contributors to the mystery titles during this time period, John Albano didn’t simply write a traditional script for this story. Rather, he did what was called a “visual script”, a term coined by Harvey Comics where this process was used almost exclusively. In essence, Albano drew out his story in stick-figure style, showing not just what was to be said but also what each panel was meant to look like. It’s a bit of a fascinating peek into the process to see the choices and decisions that Aparo made from these crude layouts to accentuate the menace and the horror of the experience.

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