Thursday, 30 May 2013

DC Comics' Ghosts!

Suffering spectres! Long-standing readers may know I was a fan of DC's horror output in the 1970s.

The House of Mystery, The House of Secrets, The Witching Hour, I loved them all.

But my favourite of their titles was always Ghosts - mostly because of the front cover boast that the tales within were all true. It was one thing reading tales that weren't true, but ones that were...?

Sadly, I long ago parted company with those comics and it's a safe bet I'll never buy them anew, as previous experience of reacquainting myself with other DC horror titles has made me aware that, although beautifully drawn, the stories themselves were rarely compelling.

Therefore I'm just going to post the covers of the ones I had and see what I can recall of them.

Remember, don't read this post with the lights off. The terror you are about to encounter may be more than your sanity can withstand.

Ghosts #13, DC Comics

This was the first issue I ever had.

I got it in Blackpool in 1975. Blackpool 1975 has special meaning for me. It brings back memories of skinless sausages, Johnny Weissmuller's Tarzan and Quatermass II.

It also brings back memories of a band called The Bent City Danglers. Don't ask.

The only tale I remember from this ish is The Nightmare in the Sandbox, which was about an evil sandbox dragging people and pets into another dimension. I was especially perturbed when the dog corked it.

Needless to say, the knowledge that it was a true story gave it an extra potency.
Ghosts #15, DC Comics

I also got this in Blackpool in 1975.

Sadly, I recall nothing of the contents.
Ghosts #18, DC Comics

This might have only been three issues later than the previous comic in this list but, thanks to the wonders of 1970s distribution, I didn't get it until a visit to Blackpool in 1978.

It's another whose contents I don't recall but I do remember liking it at the time and I was especially taken with the cover.

Did this issue feature the tale of an Egyptian man with a killer cat? If so, this was the issue where it first dawned on me that, despite the proud boast, not all the tales might be true.
Ghosts #21, DC Comics

No memories of this one at all -- unless The Ghost in the Devil's Chair was a short feature about some place that was claimed to exist in Britain.

I was very excited by such a claim but wondered why I'd never heard tales of that dread place before.
Ghosts #31, DC Comics

This one I remember strongly.

It's another one from Blackpool 1975.

Blood on the Moon made a particular impression on me. It involved a swamp-based murder avenged with the aid of a blood red moon. Every time I've seen a red moon since, it's reminded me of that tale.

Come to think of it, I don't think I've seen a red moon in years. Do they still have them?

Was The Spectral Coffin Maker about the Black Death? If so, I hope it featured a plague doctor in one of those bird-beak gas masks they were so keen on. I do feel modern-day doctors should dress the same way. They're always going on about improving the NHS but the fools never make my GP wear a bird-beak mask, like I want him to.


Ade Salmon said...

I've always felt Ghosts was the weakest of the DC supernatural anthologies. I can't recall any really good artists like Wrightson or Toth being involved. Maybe I just didn't get those issues though I have a fair few. The most memorable cover for me is of rose bush with skull faced flowers though I can't remember the actual story ! You can get the series as a b/w reprint in DC's Showcase series. I've resisted so far...


Joe S. Walker said...

There is a Ghosts Showcase Presents, though I own up I didn't get very far into it. In the early issues each story seemed to end with the caption "NOW do you believe in GHOSTS?" and my answer remained NO.

Witching Hour was the best DC horror book, I think.

Steve W. said...

Stay tuned, Joe. I have something about The Witching Hour coming up in the not at all distant future.