Hallowe’en Countdown V, Day 4

« She’s a haunted house / and her windows are broken. » — Scott Walker, “Big Louise” (1969)

I’ve been wanting to share one of the all-time most beautiful art jobs Steve Ditko ever wittled, 1960’s The Ghost of Grismore Castle! (published in Strange Tales no. 79), but I don’t have that book. I do, however, own a 70’s reprint of it, in Vault of Evil no. 14 (October 1974), but the colouring and reproduction were so bland and washed-out that I knew that justice wouldn’t be done to this meritorious piece.

Then it hit me: I *had* seen a lovingly reconstructed presentation of the tale — has it nearly been… 30 years ago? Yikes!

It was reprinted with brio in the redoubtable Mort Todd‘s Curse of the Weird (no. 2, January 1994), a flawlessly-assembled anthology title he somehow conned Marvel into publishing in the early 90s.

So my gratitude goes out to Mr. Todd and, once more, my admiration to Mr. Ditko.

« We shot it from the original stats I dug out of the Marvel vault, rather than reprint VoE #14, and lovingly recolored it! Thanks for noticing! »

Oh, and as bonus, here’s the cover, one of those absurdly lush Kirby-Ditko collaborations. As usual with Marvel, all captions are de trop.

This is Strange Tales no. 79 (Dec. 1960, Marvel), pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Steve Ditko. And duh, *obviously*, “The Thing” is here, Stan. Show, don’t tell.
The very 70’s update. This is Vault of Evil no. 14 (Oct. 1974, Marvel); cover pencils by Larry Lieber, inks by Frank Giacoia.


6 thoughts on “Hallowe’en Countdown V, Day 4

  1. Geo. Raymond October 4, 2021 / 20:55

    Never was aware that Marvel had a horror line … Btw, returning to the Charlton horror comics, do you happen to recall a story where an actor switches the ‘prop’ knife for a real knife and then the victim haunts the killer through the TV set?


    • gasp65 October 4, 2021 / 22:12

      Hi George! To be fair, Marvel’s wasn’t much of a horror line; twenty-year old reprints couldn’t really compare to Charlton and DC (and even Gold Key). Something to pick up when there wasn’t much choice… which happened semi-frequently.

      The plot you describe sounds like no Charlton story I can think of, but I did come across a knife-switch murder story just last week, somewhere in a batch of 70s books I recently picked up… I left it at home (I’m currently on vacation), but I’ll look into it next week when I return. Oh, and judging from the plot, I’d wager it’s a Gold Key story.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. nealumphred October 5, 2021 / 13:49


    Thanks for reprinting “The Ghost of Grismore Castle!” And I agree that Ditko’s art is fantastic. We used to have a place called Back Date Book Store in Wilkes-Barre that carried old magazines, paperbacks, and comic books. They bought the bulk of them from local shops and wholesalers after the cover had been ripped off (or, more gently, just had the top cut off with a blade).

    My brother and I spent many a Saturday buying coverless comics for a nickel each of six-for-a-quarter and then spending the day reading them. (Those were, of course, the Saturdays when we somehow couldn’t find our way to the theaters for back-dated movies.)

    So, Charles and I read LOTS of what passed for “horror” comics from Atlas/Marvel and DC in the early ’60s. Even before Steverino made Spider-Man and Dr. Strange two of the most amazingly drawn stories of the Mighty Marvel Age, his stories stuck out from all the rest of the “scary monster” comics of the time (even Kirby’s stuff).

    So thanks and keep on keepin’ on!


    PS: Just came across this and while it has nothing to do with this page I thought you might enjoy it:


    Liked by 2 people

  3. Matt Brunson October 6, 2021 / 20:35

    Nice to see we both share a comic in our collections — in this case, Vault of Evil no. 14. And, yeah, I always dug that issue. In fact, I’ve always been a sucker for horror anthologies in any form (especially film, of course, such as those produced by Amicus). I also always enjoyed that “Boris Karloff” comic from Gold Key.

    P.S. Enjoy your vacation!

    Liked by 1 person

    • gasp65 October 6, 2021 / 22:57

      I don’t doubt we share quite a few more, but this is a most entertaining bit of intersection!

      Same here on the anthologies. In my childhood, the ‘Enoch’ segment of Amicus’ ‘Torture Garden’ holds the distinction of being the lone time when my brother and I made a ‘cowardice pact’ to just quit watching and go to bed. Hey, we didn’t know the rest of the movie was going to be far less scary! We’re greatly enjoying out vacation and, as it happens, have been watching episodes of anthologies The Outer Limits (‘The Guests’) and Thriller — Boris again! (‘The Twisted Image’ and ‘The Purple Room’).


      Liked by 1 person

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