In the spirit of Halloween, Ben is reading one horror comic every day. Will they keep him up? Or will they put him to sleep? We’ll find out…
It’s October 19th. Today we take a look at a title with two tales: one of a protagonist who debunks ghosts and one of a protagonist who is one.
PHANTOM STRANGER: DC Comics; Arnold Drake, writer, and Gerry Talaoc, artist, “A Death in the Family”; Steve Skeates, writer, and Tony DeZuniga, artist, “…and the Dog Howls Through the Night”; published 1974
What a great cover. I don’t remember when or why I bought this comic. It wasn’t kept in my long boxes. It was in a stack of stuff in the back corner of my office for the longest time. But what a great cover.
Of course, this does not happen in the book. At all. It comes to close to almost having some of the elements here. And I guess that on a metaphorical level, you could make the case that yes, a cyborg man is revealed to be behind a curtain of sorts.
The story is okay, but there weren’t many scenes in the story that would tease the actual twist and also be interesting to make someone like me see this in a back issue bin at a comic shop and decide it was worth the $2.50 risk.
Instead we get the story of a crime boss who dies and whose brother takes on the empire, only to find that the crime boss is not dead, only to find that the crime boos IS dead and has been replaced by a robot so his right hand man can take over things using the robot to make everyone think the crime boss is alive, only to find out that the crime boss is NOT dead because he’s a brain in a machine controlling the robotic body…
I wish the story was the one from the cover instead.
Oh, and Phantom Stranger is there mainly to tell the brother the needed exposition after things happen.
Meanwhile, you’ve got Dr. 13, the “ghost breaker”, investigating a ghost that can’t be a ghost because there’s no such thing even though the other half of the book is devoted to a character who actually IS a ghost.
And the ghost ISN’T real. No. As they investigate they find a picture of the man taken five years ago, who looks exactly like the ghost only the ghost looked 13 years older. “Of course!” Dr. 13 exclaims! It now all makes sense to him. The old man has been studying increasing metabolism and speeding up bodies “like that comic book character The Flash” and now he’s moving faster but can’t control it. So he’s aging faster.
It’s not great.
But that cover, though…
You can read the rest of this series here: Ben’s Horror-Comic-Athon October 2018
While Ben’s not podcasting daily for the entire month, The Comic Book Time Machine will be going daily for a week at the end of October. Don’t miss our WEEK OF WEIRD, as we explore some weird comics from October 25-31!