Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Memoirs of a Bronze Age Baby: Ghost Manor #56

Some of you may wonder what's up with my love of Charlton books. I've never really been able to put my finger on it. As a child, I was a typical Marvel & DC superhero fan, but there always seemed to be a few odd Charlton books kicking around. One of the reasons has to do with distribution. Back when I was 8 years old, in the Summer of 1981, I could rely on any corner store having a few comic for sale. I hit my LCS almost every Saturday, but it was the slightly smaller cornerstore selection that kept me going during the week. I remember one in particular that I used to stop by while delaying my trip to my piano teacher's house.

There is a lake about 75 minutes northeast of Toronto. My paternal Grandparents had a small cottage on that lake (my Grandmother being born in that cottage in 1916). The nearby town had a small general store that had a tiny, tiny comic book selection. For some reason, they had mostly Charltons and Gold Keys instead of books from the Big Two. Over time I had amassed quite a stack of comics that I eventually left at the cottage. I was always thrilled to return each summer to re-read them.

That was a really roundabout way of saying that Ghost Manor #56 was one of those books, and always brings to mind lazy summer afternoons. It's a reprint book, but I didn't know that as a kid and I certainly wouldn't have cared. It's still one of the spookier images to ever grace a Charlton comic. I'm not sure if it was drawn for this issue (as it doesn't really fit the story) or if it was just in inventory), but it's cool and I always like the 'Solomon Grundy' look of the ghost. I'm sure that I've seen this cover used for another Charlton book, but I was not able to track it down this morning while scanning through some of their titles so I might be going crazy.

I won't really get into the second story, as it's a silly little tale involving a witch doctor. It's the first story that always got under my skin. It's about a prisoner who fakes his death in order to escape. The plan is for him to be buried alive and be rescued by a cohort. Needless to say, things don't quite work out as planned and if you're 'Buriedaliveaphobic', this one will make you squirm. Great, great stuff. What I really dig about it is the very deliberate pacing, as the story runs 17 pages - super long for a horror tale.

My Grandparents have both passed away, my Uncle has taken over the cottage, but I've still got my Ghost Manor #56 to take me back to those days by the lake.

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