Hallowe’en Countdown V, Day 21

« The man asked, “Who are you?” “I am Death, who makes everyone equal.” » *

Greetings! Today I am giving my co-admin RG a much-needed chance to rest, and taking over Hallowe’en count-down duties. He protested a bit, but I was persuasive. Oh, don’t worry about him – he’s quite comfortable in the basement, and I may even unchain him at the end of the evening.

We have previously dipped a toe into Gespenster Geschichten (Ghost Stories) territory before, but – and this will come as no surprise – it was through the peculiar prism of tentacles. (For example, see Tentacle Tuesday: A Torrent of Teutonic Tentacles.) Yet this long-running (1974-2006) series published by Bastei Verlag also offers plenty of Hallowe’en-appropriate thrills: witches, ghosts, demented scientists, cold-blooded killers… you name it, Gespenster Geschichten has it! Here are a few covers which seem particularly appropriate for this wonderfully dreary, grey October evening.

The insides of these issues are of lesser interest: reprints of American horror comics, and, later on in the series, new content by artists local and migrated (Argentine, Spanish, Italian, Yugoslav…) Within some of these pages dwell reprints from Gold Key Comics’ Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery  (for example, with artwork by John Celardo, Sal Trapani, and Canadians Jack Sparling and Win Mortimer). I think we can safely conclude that the covers are considerably more horrifying than the innards of these issues…

With that out of the way, let’s see what German ghost stories have in store for us!

Gespenster Geschichten no. 23: Der Höllenhund von Fu-Tschu (The Hellhound from Fu-Tschu), 1974. This cover is equal parts disturbing and puzzling, with a creepy bear-dog with bleeding sockets and the little demonic effigy that is somehow simultaneously cute and clearly evil.

This charming little doggo was a rather… creative interpretation of the following painting, created for Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery no. 48 by George Wilson:

So you see how that particular Teutonic ball rolls! I admire George Wilson, but I admit I much prefer the German interpretation of this scene.

Gespenster Geschichten no. 41: Die Stunde des grünen Monsters (the hour of the green monsters), 1975. That witch looks downright friendly… the friendliness of a man smiling at a particularly appetizing piece of steak.
Gespenster Geschichten no. 59: Die Mask des Entsetzens (Mask of Horror), 1975. That’s a stylish haircut; I bet all the ladies go for this charmer.
Gespenster Geschichten no. 76: Die Herrin des bösen Zaubers (The Mistress of Evil Spells), 1976.
The Ghost Stories Special (Gespenster Geschichten Spezial) was an oversized format, though I am not sure whether these babies featured reprints of their smaller-sized brethren literally in a bigger format, or just functioned as a sort of anthology. This is Die unheimlichen Gespenster Geschichten Spezial no. 208. ‘Monster-ladies’ is somewhat self-explanatory; ‘Die unheimlichen’ means ‘the scariest’.

For more Gespenster Geschichten, visit this lovely Monster Brains post. And if you’re curious about what each issue contains, head over to Comic Vine, which lists reprints featured inside some of the issues.

*(from Der Gevatter Tod, collected by Brothers Grimm)

~ ds

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