Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Charlton Notebook: Haunted Love #10

The Gothic Romance mini-trend of the early 70s left us with perhaps the most obscure subgenre of all-time. Only a handful of titles were produced by DC, Atlas-Seaboard and yes, our good friends at Charlton. Haunted Love is a wonderful little series with some entertaining stories and artwork by Charlton mainstays like Morisi, Ditko and Staton. It is a really treasure trove for Tom Sutton fans, however, as this is the stuff he was born to draw. This issue features a nice painted cover by Sutton, representing the final tale, drawn quite nicely by Enrique Nieto, in this book where nothing can come between the love of a sculptor and his muse except for a wee bit of consumption. The first story, "A New Life" also features Nieto art. It's a decent story about a ghost writer (literally) who finds success and love 100 years too late. Sandwiched between those stories is "Beware: Do Not Love Him" a great tale full of Gothic goodness drawn by Sutton. A family secret is locked away high in a tower at a creaky old manor. A nice dramatic ending concludes this fine tale. This is definitely interesting and fairly unique stuff - it's well worth picking up an issues from this series if you can find one.


Richard Gagnon said...

I'm always left puzzled at references to gothic romance as being "obscure" or "weird". It *has* been around for hundreds of years, after all.

"Pure" horror came out of it, but it took a long time for it shed its gothic romance origins.

"Mini-trend"? Geez? Does it not exist if its aficionados are mostly female?

Scott M said...

Thanks for the note, but I think you've missed the point.

I'm talking purely comics here - it really was just a mini-trend, just a handful of titles in the 70s.

Richard Gagnon said...

Sorry if I missed your point! Mine was that comic, as any other medium, don't exist in a vacuum.

You can't really divorce them from the larger cultural context, right?

Semantic and market philosophy aside, it comes down to us agreeing on the main point: a lot of it was good stuff, and it's a shame there ain't more.

That said, Charlton's ghost comics often had a romance component to them, since the mid-sixties, thanks to Joe Gill working to keep things interesting for himself and the readers. Much more interesting than the endless rehashes of the "drive the rich relative crazy" stories that Jack Oleck and Carl Wessler were cranking out over at DC.