DC SALUTES THE BICENTENNIAL
Published bi-monthly, thirty cents, August
Editor: Murray Boltinoff
Only the most ardent Marvel zombie would refuse to admit that of all the possible comic book genres published by both DC and Marvel, DC at least led in the horror division. Marvel published many a horror title, but with a few exceptions, they featured reprints from the 1950s and early 1960s. Most comics of their line rarely lasted over a year.
DC’s horror titles featured new stories with rare exceptions. Ghosts differed even from the DC fare in two ways: until its last few issues it did not have a “host” introducing the stories or otherwise having a framing segment to introduce and finish a tale (other than text boxes on the first and last panels) and until issue #75 (April 1979), it claimed its stories were true!
Ghosts was published from September-October 1971 until issue #112 (May 1982). (Boy is my spell-checker going berserk over the first two words of that last sentence…).
Neither the Grand Comics Database nor the DC Comics Database state who did the cover or wrote any of the stories…
“Showdown with a Specter”, Terry Hensen (a)
In 1968 Villem Kruger and his family visit his grandfather’s diamond mine abandoned decades before. When Villem moves away stones blocking the mine – he releases the ghost of a worker killed in the mine. The ghost vows to destroy the descendant of the evil Kruger. Villem’s son Jon offers to take the place of his father for the ghost’s revenge.
The ghost explains he cannot take Jon’s life as he was adopted and not a descendant of Grandfather Piet Kruger . As the father of an adopted child I am rather irked by this…
The ghost decides since Villem adopted a child and raised him with so much love that the child was willing to sacrifice himself for his father, Villem does not have the evil that was in his grandfather and spares the family. As the father of an adopted child the ghost redeemed himself from his narrow-minded statement from the paragraph before…
“The Phantom Head”, Buddy Gernale (a)
July 1505: Michelangelo is haunted by a floating head – every painting and sculpture he tries to complete has the head of the ghost. If he does not complete the portrait of Cesara Borgia by the end of the week, Borgia will likely take Michelangelo’s head! Even the pope cannot help!
The ghost stops visiting Michelangelo after his disappointing visit to the pope and all is well.
The painting of the floating head is found 288 years later and identified as the head of King Louis XVI, who was decapitated during the Revolution!
“The Girl Who Inherited a Ghost”, Gene Ureta (a)
In France in April 1957, the mother of painter Gaston Poulard is angry at him for marrying Californian Becky. Rightly so – Becky is a gold digger who is after the mother’s fortune! Becky stands by during the mother’s fatal heart attack; holding the mother’s heart medicine. The mother’s ghost haunts Becky – throwing plates at her and chasing her through the house!
Mrs. Poulard sends a letter to a ghost hunter, Henry Thorson-Jones (they don’t call him a ghost hunter per se, but you know …) to rid the house of the intruder. The ghost tricks the hunter into pushing Becky down the staircase, killing her. Thorson-Jones discovers the letter sent by Mrs. Poulard was NOT his wife, but his mother – written and mailed after her death. The intruder written about in the letter … was Becky!
Text feature: The Jigsaw Ghosts. Written (presumably) by Murray Boltinoff.
Guests at a resort in northern Britain in 1904 see the top half of a woman floating through their room. The servants see the bottom half of the woman walking through their quarters. It seems a prior owner chopped his wife in half, and …
In 1923, a visiting minister wakes to find a disembodied girl’s hand tugging on his. Later he discovers the prior owner chopped off his daughter’s hand and hid her body in the wall of that room…
New owners of a Providence, Rhode Island home in 1960 heard footsteps in a sealed-off section of their home. Opening the unused room revealed fresh footprints leading to a chest. Inside the chest were the prior owner’s last will and testament and a pair of boots – whose footprints fit exactly with the fresh prints on the floor …
This text feature was in the place of a letter column.
Original Material copyright 2015 Michael Curry
Images used are copyright their respective holders and and reproduced here under the “fair Use” doctrine of 17 USC 106 & 106a for the purposes of criticism and comment.