Spooktoberfest Special: The Horror of Haunted Love!
Let's not mince words here: Charlton Comics are not very good.
Don't get me wrong, I'm sure that a lot of very talented people worked somewhat hard to put these things out, and while I haven't read a whole lot of them, I assure you, there's a reason for it: I've never sat down with a copy of Fightin' Navy or Fightin' Army or Three-To-One Marny or whatever and not found it to be a grudging uphill battle just to get through it. Even Charlton Bullseye #1--the comic that gave us my current sidebar panel--is all but unreadable, and that's a comic where The Question fights a Robot Shark.
Which is why it should really come as no surprise that the alleged terror inspired by tonight's selection will leave your spine refreshingly tingle-free. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you...
Charlton Comics: The company that has to constantly remind you that the horror comic you're reading--the one with all the ghosts--is, in fact, scary.
Released in 1978 under Charlton's "Modern Comics" Imprint--the bane of Crappy Comics Three-Packs everywhere--Haunted Love originally came out seven years earlier as an attempt to fuse the subtle terror of Silver-Age Horror with the heartfelt drama of Teen Romance Comics, and that works out about as well as you'd expect.
The cover story, "A Kiss To Save Him From The Grave," has a plot that was clichéd thirty years ago and really hasn't gotten much better with age, and yet it manages to drag on for a mind-numbing sixteen pages. So, on the off chance that you--like Registered Nurse Lucille Burton--missed every single episode of Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, The Outer Limits, and innumberable films from the mind of Roger Corman, allow me to hip you to some crucial knowledge:
If you take a new job that requires you to drive out to the Old Plantation in the middle of Creepy Swamp only to find out that you're replacing this woman...
...you might want to consider just placing an ad in the classifieds.
SPOILER WARNING: He's a ghost, Lucy and her boyfriend beat him up with the Power of Love, but on quiet nights she still hears blah blah blah blah blah.
The scariest thing in the entire story?
So yeah, not exactly the kind of fright-fest you'll be wanting this Halloween. But to be fair, it does have a ghost. The lead story, however, doesn't even bother with that. And yet it's far, far creepier.
Submitted for your approval... "The Eternal Teacher":
Written by Nicola Cuti with art by Joe Staton--who I can only assume knocked this thing out in about fifteen minutes, which would explain why he gave most of the characters three and a half acres of forehead--this one concerns one Ken Dupke, a teacher hired by the Benjamins to deal with their daughter, Elizabeth, whose condition requires the use of a live-in tutor:
What condition, you ask? Well, let's have a look!
Shades of Nabokov! Yes, Elizabeth--who must've been carrying her driver's liscense to get that kind of reaction, because she sure as heck doesn't look 18--is a barely-legal woman, but she has the mind of a child! So for the record, it's about right here that this story starts to get really uncomfortable. And yes. It gets worse.
Ken teachers her the alphabet and such, and by the time he's gone to sleep, she's read a bunch of books and put on one of her mother's dresses, waking Ken up at two in the morning to show him her progress and make him promise to stay with her forever, at which time Ken starts making out with his retarded student.
Of course, the next day, Ken bops down the stairs basking in the afterglow, at which time Elizabeth's Old Man breaks the bad news--which really would've been helpful yesterday: Every time Elizabeth goes to sleep, she forgets everything and regresses to her default five year-old mental capacity. Which, of course, leads us to this charming moment:
I'm not even sure if this qualifies as Haunted--or as Romance, for that matter--but if the goal here was to creep me out, Charlton Comics, then I say Mission Accomplished.
When The Pros Say "Kick Flip?"
...Because I'm pretty sure what it means when they say "eat it."
(For more fun with Charlton's ad department, check out this one, courtesey of Mike Sterling's Progressive Ruin)
More From Spooktoberfest 2006!
| The Relatively Serious Review of Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service (With Bonus Flamewar!) |
| The Mind-Melting Horror of Halloween With Tarot |