As we creep ever closer to Halloween, I get more and more excited! In honor of this holiday, I bring you the recently released trade paperback, Marvel Ghost Stories! So get ready for some chilling tales this week in Ye Olde School Café!
This trade, like the previous three Vampire Tales I’ve featured lately, are a who’s who of all-time legendary comic book creators! Stan Lee, John Buscema, Tony Isabella, Gene Colan, Marv Wolfman, Roy Thomas, and on and on. The cover by Gil Kane had me buying this before I even knew about the content, to be honest. All right, no more chatter, let’s get right to the book!
The first story line is about the Silver Surfer and his tormentor, Mephisto! Back in Silver Surfer #8 & 9 (1969), Mephisto had already tempted the Surfer once, but failed. He then saw an opportunity to try again using a ghost! He empowered Yoost van Straaten with enough power to rival that of the Silver Surfer! The Flying Dutchman, or simply Ghost as he was also known, tried to use everything imaginable to sway the Surfer’s mind, but failed. Even when a human’s life was at stake, the Surfer refused to give in to Mephisto. Great story, and artwork…to die for!
The next tale is from Colan and Wolfman’s great run on Tomb of Dracula! It shows Dracula trying to overtake a residence where a woman is plagued by a ghostly presence. Dracula, feeling like a supreme being himself, takes on the task of finding out who or what this ghost is. After much investigating, the ghost reveals itself to Sheila Wittier and tries to kill the woman. Dracula stops the creature, then finds out its weakness and a crazy fight ensues. Again, great stuff by one of the greatest tag-teams of all time. R.I.P. Gentleman Gene.
My other favorite story is from a book called War is Hell! In issue #9, we see a soldier who thinks he’s waking up to World War II, but in actuality he’s dead and waking for the first time on the other side! He’s greeted by Death, but doesn’t believe it at first. Not long after, though, John Kowalski realizes that he is dead, but he wants to atone for some cowardice during his life. Death tells him that he’ll suffer a thousand deaths for his cowardly acts, and then even more. This might be one of the craziest tales I’ve ever read, but one of the best, too! This book had Roy Thomas, Tony Isabella, and Chris Claremont on it (WOW)!
There are four more stories included in this set. One starring Ghost Rider, where he battles The Phantom Eagle (a crazy dude who flies a plane that looks like something the Wright Brothers used). Another story features Captain America against Dr. Faustus, and guest appearances by the Red Skull, Bucky, and even MODOK! Next is West Coast Avengers #41, and in it Daimon Hellstrom performs an exorcism, and then he, Mockingbird, and Moon Knight must battle the Phantom Rider! Lastly, we have an issue from a limited series, Hellstorm! In this story, we see a little girl that has an obsession with her doll. Well, the doll has a secret, too, and it’s up to Daimon Hellstrom and a priest to figure out the mystery! Cool story by Rafael Nieves with artwork by Leonardo Manco.
Well, that’s it for now, but tune in next week for another great book from the past as I bring you a Silver or Bronze age story! See you next week!