Armagideon Time

Love to haunt you, baby

June 27th, 2014

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…


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.

4 Responses to “Love to haunt you, baby”

  1. damanoid

    Keep in mind, DC’s “Ghosts” clearly advertised “True Tales of the Supernatural.” You can’t very well ask them to make stuff up, simply for a more exciting story! That would be journalistic fraud.

    Here we have an account of a drug addict who ran into a disco, and who may or may not have seen a ghost, which was also a skeleton, as ghosts tended to be back in the ’70s, for some reason. Consider the possibility that some ghost encounters just aren’t very interesting. They are still valuable data. Most of the time, the Loch Ness Monster just comes up for a snort of air and doesn’t attack anybody.

    It is frankly unreasonable to demand that all accounts of paranormal events be both accurate and entertaining. If we allow sensationalism to distort our perception of these matters, we may never understand why ghosts sometimes appear as skeletons, and sometimes don’t. Honestly, “Ghosts” might just as well have been titled “Skeletons.”

  2. Aberration, The

    Still better than “The Blair Witch Project.”

  3. Joe S. Walker

    I had the Ghosts Showcase Presents but didn’t get very far into it – partly because in the early issues at least, each story ended with the line “NOW do you believe in GHOSTS?” (In the same way, stories in Unexpected went through a period of always ending with some variation on “Well, that was UNEXPECTED,” which very rapidly became incredibly PREDICTABLE and ANNOYING.)

  4. Snark Shark

    ended with the line “NOW do you believe in GHOSTS?”

    nope, but I believe Vince Colletta can barely draw!

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