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Longbox Junk Halloween 2023 Part 11 Grimm's Ghost Stories #37

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Welcome to Longbox Junk, the place to find comic reviews you never even knew you wanted!

 
It's PART ELEVEN of our annual Longbox Junk Halloween Horror Marathon, folks!
We are just rolling along here. . .filling your little plastic pumpkin bucket FULL of tasty retro horror comic reviews!  I'm actually a little surprised that I've been able to keep up the pace like this.
 
So let's keep this party going with some more GHOSTS!  

GRIMM'S GHOST STORIES #37

Gold Key (1977)

 
 
COVER:  (?) Probably George Wilson
 
THE COVER:
 
Now THERE'S a Bronze Age beauty if I've ever seen one!  The painting isn't credited, but I've seen enough of his fine work to make a good guess that the great George Wilson did this cover.  I'll throw his name out in ANY discussion of great comic book covers.  But whether this is Wilson's work or not (and I'm pretty sure it is), this is just an AWESOME, sort of offbeat Halloween cover!  Let's get inside.
 
THE STORIES:
 
FOUR stories for THREE dimes? Now that's what I call value!  I see some great talent among the creative credits, so I have high hopes for this one.  Let's give each story a turn, shall we?  WE SHALL!
 
MY FATHER IS WATCHING
 
SCRIPT: George Kashdan
PENCILS:  Nestor Olivera
INKS: Nestor Olivera
 
THE STORY:
 
In sixteenth century England, a young man named Edmond is orphaned by the unfortunate passing of both mother and father.  He goes into the care of his uncle Osric, where he is treated as little more than a servant.  
 
As the days go by, Edmond begins to have strange accidents.  Unknown to him, his uncle is trying to kill him, so that he may control Edmond's family fortune.  But as strange as the accidents are, Edmond's explanation for remaining unharmed is even stranger. . .he claims the spirit of his dead father is protecting him!
 
 
As the days go by, we see Osric try several times to kill his nephew.  Each time, he is frustrated by Edmond's survival. . .which the young man swears is thanks to the intervention of his father's spirit. . .
 
 
 
Finally, Osric decides that "accidents" aren't enough and he sneaks into Edmond's bedroom to kill him while he's sleeping and make it look like a suicide.  But Osric learns the truth of Edmond's belief in his father's spirit protecting him as an unseen force turns the knife onto Osric!
 
The next day, Osric is found dead, seemingly by suicide despite Edmond's protests that his father's spirit protected him from being murdered by his uncle.  Nobody believes the young man. . .that is, until they find the gold signet ring worn by Edmond's father laying beside Osric's body.  A ring he was buried with. DUN-DUN-DUNNNN!
 
 
The End.
 
 
THE REVIEW:
 
Okay.  Not bad.  Nothing earth-shaking, but a decent little story.  A bit predictable, but not so much that it's ruined.  The art is pretty good for a Gold Key comic.  Like the story, nothing earth-shaking, but I DID like the artist's use of big, chunky "sound effects".  You can see a couple in the first two pages I scanned.
 
Overall, a pretty good start.  A little predictable and not remotely scary, but still a decent enough read.
 
NEXT!
 
THE LAST TRUMP
 
SCRIPT: Freff (Connor Freff Cochran)
PENCILS: Jack Sparling
INKS: Jack Sparling
 
THE STORY:
 
And so, we have the strange tale of two men, Roger and Don. . .one-time best friends until they went into business running a motel together, which drove a wedge between them.  One night, during their weekly card game, Roger suffers a heart attack!  
 
 
Not long after that, Don discovered that Roger's ghost was trapped in the motel. . .trapped by the game of cards he never finished.  And so, to spite his former friend, Don forces Roger's ghost to play cards with him every week, with the game remaining unfinished so that Don can continue to torment the pitiful spirit. . .
 

Until one stormy night, when Roger challenges Don to read the cards and see his future.  Don draws the Ace of Spades, foretelling death!  Don scoffs at the prediction, believing Roger has cheated in order to try to scare him into freeing the spirit.  
 
 
 
But then a gust of wind blows the cards out of the room!  Don chases after them, not wanting to lose his hold over Roger's ghost. . .but in his rush, he falls over the edge of the cliff the motel sits on.
 
The next day, police checking for damage after the storm discover Don's body. . .still clutching the Ace of Spades.  Roger's ghost played his last trump and finally won the game.  DUN-DUN-DUNNNN!
 
 
The End.
 
THE REVIEW:
 
Okay. okay.  Not bad.  A pretty good little story that follows the well-worn path of "You brought this on yourself".  It's backed up with some nice art from Bronze Age great Jack Sparling.  A name I'm ALWAYS happy to see on creator credits! This isn't his BEST art, but it does elevate the story a bit.
 
NEXT!
 
THE GENERAL'S MESSENGER
 
SCRIPT: Freff (Connor Freff Cochran)
PENCILS: Al McWilliams
INKS: Al McWilliams
 
THE STORY:
 
Near the site of the famous battle of Waterloo, a Belgian businessman sees a ghost.  But instead of being frightened, he decides to capitalize on the spirit's regular appearances after learning its story. . .a British Messenger who was killed by the French before delivering his final message. . . and build a restaurant.
 
 
Months later, the businessman has built "The General's Messenger".  A restaurant created to bring in guests curious about the ghost.  Opening night is a huge success, with the restaurant crowded with customers.  As promised, the ghost appears before the astounded people!
 
The owner speaks to the ghost, asking what its message was.  The spirit answers!
 

It tells the restaurant owner that it must tell a Colonel Greenan about Wellington's victorious advance.  By coincidence, that very night there is a General Greenan dining at the restaurant.  On a lark, the owner delivers the message after discovering that General Greenan is indeed a distant relative of a Greenan who had fought at Waterloo.
 
But after delivering the message to Greenan's ancestor, the restaurant owner is shocked to hear the ghost thank him and then disappear after promising not to haunt any longer. . .leaving the restaurant owner without his great attraction.
 

 
THE REVIEW:
 
Another cool little bite-sized ghost story.  Like the two that come before, it follows a well-worn story path. . .this time it's "You just couldn't stop while you were ahead, could you?".  A tried and true comeuppance tale.  It's always fun to see greedy characters get what's coming to them.  Also like the other two stories, the artwork is better than I would normally expect in a random issue of a Gold Key anthology title.  I have to say that the art in this issue has really been a pleasant surprise!
 
AND FINALLY. . .
 
HER OWN VICTIM
 
SCRIPT: Paul S. Newman
PENCILS: Oscar Novelle
INKS: Oscar Novelle
 
THE STORY:
 
Ellen is unhappy in her arranged marriage to the uncouth Baron Alfred, and finds herself attracted to a handsome young Count named Andre.  As she is a woman married to a powerful Baron, Andre turns her advances away.  Ellen decides to do something about the situation. . .
 
 
That night, Ellen attempts to poison her husband with a glass of wine.  He refuses and forces her to drink it instead, not knowing it is poisoned.  When Ellen falls dead, Alfred realizes he has escaped Ellen's plot, but also realizes that nobody will believe him.  And so the Baron flees!
 
 
Several days later, the Baron is captured by the men of Ellen's brother, a powerful Earl.  Brought before the Earl, Alfred protests that he is innocent and Ellen was the one who tried to poison HIM.  As predicted, nobody believes him.
 
BUT THEN. . .
 
A ghostly apparition of Ellen appears before the astounded group!  She offers Alfred a glass of wine.  The Earl sees the ghost of Ellen trying to complete her last act and immediately frees the Baron. . .with his sister proving her own guilt. . .from beyond the grave! DUN-DUN-DUNNN!
 
 
The End.
 
THE REVIEW:
 
Not bad.  Not great.  Just another pretty good little ghost story backed up with some surprisingly decent art for a Gold Key anthology comic.  Like the rest of the stories, it's riding down a well-traveled story path, but that doesn't stop it from being a good read.  
 

CONCLUSION

 
This issue is four for four in delivering some pretty good little bite-size ghost stories.  None of them are great ghost stories, but in a 1970's Gold Key anthology comic, four for four decent stories without a bad one to be found is actually pretty darn surprising!  Usually there's at least ONE clunker.  Not this time.  Very nice!
 
Don't get me wrong.  These aren't the kind of stories that will stick with you.  They aren't going to make any "Best Of" lists.  But they're all solid and enjoyable. 
 
The art lends a big helping hand to my enjoyment of this comic. The art in this comic is really a step outside the box I would expect in a Gold Key comic.  Normally, the art is the weak point when it comes to Gold Key comics.  When I pick one up, no matter HOW great the cover is. . .and I WILL defend the hill that Gold Key/Dell has some of the greatest comic covers out there. . .I ALWAYS expect the interiors to be bland and workmanlike. 
 
 The art in this issue isn't going to win any awards, but it IS surprisingly good for the time and the company it's coming from.  Major points on the good side of the scale for that.
 
Overall, this comic has some pretty good little ghost stories backed up with some nice art, and all under one fine cover, so I can give this one a hearty recommendation to any fan of Bronze Age horror comics.  
 
Grimm's Ghost Stories has never been collected or reprinted in English, but the good news is that I spot these all the time in back issue bins, yard/estate sales, antique/junk stores and flea markets.  Issues of this series aren't hard to find at all for a diligent Longbox Junker.
 
UP NEXT. . .
 
When it comes to Halloween comic book covers, it's hard to top THIS one!
But what's inside? Let's find out!  It's DC's Secrets of Haunted House #5!
 
Be there or be square.
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