« Clocks in disagreement are worse than no clock at all. » — David Mitchell
There’s simply nothing that gets me more into the proper Hallowe’en spirit than a spectral Joe Gill – Steve Ditko yarn.
Back in 1999, Mr. Ditko shared this intriguing insight about his most frequent — and preferred — collaborator:
« Joe Gill is one comic book story/script writer who understands a comic panel. Many other writers believe a single panel is a long, continuing strip of a movie film, containing numerous, changing, point-of-view frames. »
Here, then, is a moody tale that originally saw print in Haunted no. 7 (Aug. 1972, Charlton).
A few notes: The title design is among the best I’ve seen from Charlton; it wasn’t generally their forte.
I’m wondering whether I’m just imagining the Benny Goodman / Don Ellis jazz subtext. Joe Gill is just the type of guy to surreptitiously toss that into the mix. Goodman, the ‘King of Swing’ was an paradigm of the big band school of jazz, while Ellis, though he began his career with Glenn Miller’s band, soon fell in with the avant-garde side of things. I see a natural dichotomy at work here… though I’m a fan of both myself.
Also, this seems to me like another instance of the suave villain / obnoxious hero setup (think Night of the Demon)… I mean, who would you rather spend an evening with, dapper Howard R. Clark, or with those two boorish, meddlesome stuffed shirts? Oops, I think I’ve given my bias away.
For a bit of mood setting, listen to some of those fabulous Lights Out radio shows that Mr. Clark so rightly digs.
And here’s a swingin’ Miller performance, circa 1937, of the Louis Prima standard Sing, Sing, Sing. And to balance things out, here’s Don Ellis performing his Bulgarian Bulge in 1969. Now, now.. can’t we all just get along?
So we’re done, countdown-wise, for another year. If that’s not enough to satisfy your odious cravings, take a stroll through our voluminous-by-now archives, at this point one hundred and eighty-six posts strong (or at least long!):
Wishing you all a bloodcurdling Hallowe’en — thanks for tuning in!