Tag Archives: Horror Comics

THE GRIM GHOST (1975)

Halloween Month at Balladeer’s Blog continues with this look at the Grim Ghost, a Pre-Spawn horror figure from the VERY short-lived Atlas/ Seaboard Comics. FOR MANY MORE ATLAS/SEABOARD HEROES CLICK HERE 

Grim Ghost 1THE GRIM GHOST

Secret Identity: Matthew Dunsinane, Highwayman

Origin: In 1740s America, Matthew Dunsinane was the masked Highway Robber known only as the Grim Ghost. He successfully preyed upon the Carriage Trade for years. In 1743 the Grim Ghost robbed Lord and Lady Braddock in their coach.

Lady Sarah Braddock, beautiful but evil, pretended to be interested in a tumble with the daring outlaw who had committed the robbery. Our red-blooded hero fell into her trap, was unmasked, tried and hanged.

In Hell, Satan informed the Grim Ghost that in the 20th Century he was facing a rebellious demon called Brimstone, who wanted to overthrow him and rule Hell in his place. That diabolical figure was endowing various evil-doers with powers to survive their ordained deaths, depriving Satan of their souls, thus weakening him in power and prestige.

Grim Ghost 2Satan offered to release the Grim Ghost from Hell periodically to subdue those renegade evil-doers and send them to Hell for damnation.

God would not interfere with Dunsinane’s mission since Brimstone was defying Fate. Satan endowed the Grim Ghost with powers of his own to battle Brimstone’s legions on Earth.

First Appearance: The Grim Ghost #1 (January, 1975). His final appearance came in July of that same year.

Powers: The Grim Ghost was given a flying, coal-black horse by Satan as well as ghostly powers of intangibility plus a brace of supernatural pistols. Those pistols fired shots that could burn and blast their way through solid objects plus dispatch Brimstone’s minions to their rightful place in Hell.

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HORROR MARVELS: FIVE FORGOTTEN MARVEL COMICS HORROR CHARACTERS

masc graveyard newBalladeer’s Blog’s month-long celebration of Halloween continues! There are plenty of Marvel Comics authorities who could give you the story of the in-depth evolution of horror comics in the 1970s, from the relaxing of the Comics Code around 1970 onward. I’ll spare all of us a trip down that particular alley and cut to the chase. Marvel Comics is THE comic book publishing house in pop culture right now with nearly every movie that ever gets made being based on a superhero figure from The House of Ideas.

The 1970s saw Stan Lee and company churn out countless horror comics to cash in on the new flexibility in four-color storytelling. Some were long-lasting successes, like Tomb of Dracula, and others weren’t, like The Frankenstein Monster. When Marvel ventured outside established works by Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley and others they actually produced some very intriguing characters who had more potential than many actual horror films from the 70s. Excluding the overworked Drac and Frank here are five of Marvel’s most intriguing horror figures from that experimental decade.

Satana

1. SATANA THE DEVIL’S DAUGHTER

Comment: How has this character NOT been the subject of multiple movies by this point? You’d think that Marvel would have learned long ago not to let its strong female horror figures lie unused. For decades Stan and friends let their character Rachel Van Helsing, the young blonde descendant of a long line of vampire slayers go unexploited only to watch potential millions of dollars fly away as Buffymania took hold in the 90s.  

Satana black and whiteSatana Hellstrom was the half-sister of Damian Hellstrom, Marvel’s Son of Satan character. Like Damian she was the offspring of Satan and a mortal woman. Unlike Damian, who went goody-goody to spite his infernal father, Satana was a loyal Daddy’s Girl who was happy to try to spread her father’s ways in the human world.

When she wasn’t battling her half-brother or serving as the Earthly object of worship for a Satanic Cult or facing down covens of demons conspiring to overthrow her father’s rule of Hell Satana was a very successful succubus, and it’s easy to see why.

Even the more “adult” black and white horror comics of the 1970s couldn’t show what a succubus REALLY does, so Satana set about harvesting souls by simply kissing her victims, despite occassional dialogue panels indicating that something a little more … involved … might be going on. Mortal souls would emerge as black butterflies from the mouths of the dead, shriveled bodies of Satana’s prey and our sultry protagonist would then crush those butterflies between her fingers, proud to send another soul to her father’s domain.

A cinematic Satana could be given full-blown horror treatment and be a female franchise-spawner to compete with Freddy Krueger and the like. Continue reading

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A HALLOWEEN LOOK AT GHOST RIDER

Ghost RiderHalloween Month continues here at Balladeer’s Blog with a look at the 1970s Ghost Rider. I will say again, from my research the very late 1960s and most of the 1970s were the best period for Marvel Comics. They were to that period what Pulps were to earlier decades.

Once Star Wars, Alien and Close Encounters of the Third Kind proved that science fiction and fantasy were finally able to be presented with the kind of special effects necessary, it seems that a LOT of pop fiction writers who used to gravitate toward the comic book industry now sought careers in movies and television instead.

Ghost Rider and Bounty HunterAt any rate, the Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze) made his first appearance in August of 1972 and it’s a shame that the movie version in 2007 didn’t stick closer to the action and horror combo of the comic books.

The pair of Nic Cage movies did not do the character OR his lore any justice and ruined a chance to see some top-level Ghost Rider foes like the Bounty Hunter, Witch Woman, the Orb and others on the big screen.  

Enjoy a sampling of cover art featuring the Ghost Rider taking on some of his Rogues Gallery of enemies, many of whom would have been ideal for the debut movie. Continue reading

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BROTHER VOODOO: COMING SOON TO A THEATER NEAR YOU!

brother-voodooHalloween Month continues here at Balladeer’s Blog! Marvel Comics’ Doctor Strange movie is coming out soon.

With every single Marvel Comics character apparently coming to a large or small screen near you it’s only a matter of time before we’re treated to Brother Voodoo – another of their neglected horror heroes.

 

And here’s another look:  Continue reading

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