Monday, October 17, 2016

Countdown to Halloween 2016: MASKED MARVEL "Phantom Devils of Lorado"

He's the masked Western hero who looks like a Dia de Muertos sugar skull come to life...
...battling threats both supernatural and simply criminal!
It's too bad the writer and artist of this never-reprinted tale from Youthful's Gunsmoke #14 (1951) are unknown, because there are some kool narrative tricks and page layouts (particularly pages 3 & 4) that wouldn't be out-of place today!
The Masked Marvel appeared in the entire 16-issue run of GunSmoke, but he never had the cover slot, except in the background of one cover as a "Wanted" poster on a wall!

Trivia: This Masked Marvel was the fourth hero to have the name, but only the third comic book character!
The first was a Golden Age masked mystery-man in Centaur's Keen Detective Funnies as well as his own short-lived title.
The second was another mystery-man who battled Prize Comics' Frankenstein Monster in several stories before disappearing.
The third was a Republic Pictures 1943 movie serial hero with the gimmick that the audience didn't know which of several good-guys he was...though the audience knew from the beginning who the villain was.
(Usually, a serial audience had to figure out which of several potentially-evil suspects was the mystery villain!)
BTW, you can read the other Masked Marvel tales we've presented HERE.

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Monday, October 10, 2016

Countdown to Halloween 2016: ORIGINAL GHOST RIDER "Devil Deals in Death!"

Last week we brought you a "Tale of the Ghost Rider"...
...set in the same fictional universe.
This week, the title character himself takes the reins...
As in most cases, there's no actual supernatural element in the tale, just bad guys (and the Ghost Rider) using the technology of the time to simulate magical events!
This particular tale from Magazine Enterprises' Ghost Rider #12 (1953) is one of several to feature Satan/Devil/Lucifer impersonators, but the only one to feature a one-eyed Devil!
It's an extremely-impractical disguise for anyone to use, since the "eye" in the mask itself isn't useable to see out of, nor is it likely to look realistic enough to fool anyone!
Did artists Dick Ayers and Ernie Bache or the unknown writer just do it to make this impersonator visually-distinctive?
We'll never know...
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Monday, October 3, 2016

Countdown to Halloween 2016: GHOST RIDER "Tales of the Ghost Rider: Tortures of the Damned"

Welcome to our weekly contribution to Countdown to Halloween 2016...
...a never-reprinted tale from Magazine Enterprises' Ghost Rider #11 (1953)!
Penciled by Ghost Rider co-creator Dick Ayers and inked by his cousin, Ernie Bache, this story plays with the "is it only a dream?" trope to good effect.
Sadly, the writer is unknown...
Ironically, most of these "Tales of the Ghost Rider", relating non-Rider Western ghost stories, had actual supernatural elements, while only a few of the Ghost Rider stories did!
They tended to feature criminals pretending to be supernatural beings...just like the Ghost Rider himself!
Note: the first version of the Rider's origin had no mystical aspects as shown HERE.
But the revised version from the premiere issue of his own book did introduce supernatural elements as shown HERE!
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