« Ape is real spooked, guys! He’s always imaginin’ he sees someone in there! »
Here we have an evocative Steve Ditko cover, solid evidence of his tremendous design chops, from Charlton’s Ghost Manor (no. 7, second series, October 1972). A collaboration between Joe Gill and Ditko, « The Monsters Ride at Night » is an elegant bit of storytelling legerdemain, a fairly basic yarn that retains its mystery past the conclusion and whose deliciously dusty mood lingers in the mind. Well, in mine, at any rate. Back in the late ’70s, I traded a copy of Amazing Spider-Man 121 (acquired at a garage sale in a two-for-five-cents deal) for this one. I know I came out ahead in the deal*.
Again, I had every intention of providing the whole spooky shebang right here, but seeing as how I was preceded in this particular enthusiasm by a sinister confrère, it seems unnecessary. Just dim the light, settle in, point your browser to Destination Nightmare, pour yourself a noggin of your preferred poison, and savour this fine vintage.
I’m particularly fond of the mid-tale interlude, where our esteemed host, Mr. Bones, seizes the occasion to poke around the cobwebs a bit, a narrative game that the Gill-Ditko duo excelled at. DC and Warren’s hosts (with the obvious exception of Vampirella) never got to play such an active rôle in their respective recitals.
Oh, and since we’re on the topic of early 70s Charlton ghost books, here’s one I picked up just this afternoon, in the 50 cents box of the local comic book shop in Wolfsville, NS. It clearly had been through such hardships, I couldn’t resist giving it a home.
*I had an extra copy, what do I care?