DC’s 1970s horror comics didn’t really deliver when it came to spine-chilling scares, medications but they did excel at taking an enticing high concepts and whizzing any potential it might have had down its narrative leg.
A heartbreaking example of this can be found in Ghosts #90 (July 1980), viagra which teased readers with the following boogie fever dream…
A supernatural tale featuring a funnybook depiction of disco during the peak of its popularity? In theory, such a work would push all my retrological buttons. In practice, however? Well, you’ll see…
The story begins with a strung-out junkie Ernie Foster — depicted by oh-so-hep Charles Nicolas and Vince Colletta as a headband rocking demi-hippie — hitting up his ladyfriend Melba for some dough to get another fix.
When long-suffering Melba refused to support Ernie’s habit, the dope-addled doofus took matters — and Melba’s windpipe — into his own trackmarked hands.
Melba’s noisy demise attracted the attention of the fuzz, forcing Ernie to seek refuge in a nearby disco. Once inside, the homicidal hop head tried his best to blend into the crowd and lie low.
Yet the spin of the glitterball and the thumping beats proved too much for Ernie to resist. Grabbing a random stranger as a partner, Ernie stepped out onto the dance floor to shake his groove thang for an impressed audience of onlookers.
In fact, Ernie was so wrapped up in the rhythm that he failed to notice that his dancing queen was actually…
…MELBA’S NOT-REALLY-THAT-SCARY GHOST.
Ernie’s terrified freakout brought the attention of the cops, who hauled him off to the slammer. The tale concludes with a less-than-enthusiastic narrator asking readers to ponder whether the hallucinations of a strung out heroin addict could have actually been supernatural in origin.
(Answer: Not unless you ascribe magical powers to Mexican black tar cut with baby laxative.)
And that’s it — three pages of sub-Fortean bullshit equivocation slapped with a title and teaser that should have been reserved for something transcendently glorious. I realize some aesthetic compromises will be made in the course of crafting work-for-hire filler, but this was like using The Pietà as a coatrack.