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Week 186 - Amazing Ghost Stories #16

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topic icon Author Topic: Week 186 - Amazing Ghost Stories #16  (Read 253 times)

MarkWarner

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Week 186 - Amazing Ghost Stories #16
« on: February 07, 2018, 06:29:03 PM »

My humblest apologies are due to all the loyal reading group members for the EXTREME wait for the next book. I have had a few issues to deal with (minor) health and (major) hardware. But we are back and 100% on track!

For the reboot I chose an issue I keep bumping across. It has great ratings and reviews. The book in question is Amazing Ghost Stories #16, which can be found here http://comicbookplus.com/?dlid=19040. I had a quick glance inside and am not sure which is the "plum" story, so it is a free for all. Choose what you want, but I am certainly going to be doing a c2c on this one.

Happy Reading!
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SuperScrounge

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Re: Week 186 - Amazing Ghost Stories #16
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2018, 07:45:18 AM »

The Widow's Lover - Interesting. Some amusing bits like the end, but also some grimness that tempered my overall opinion.

The Tentacles of Death - It was okay, but nothing special.

Dr. Osborne's Secret Weapon - Uhhhh... soooooo, aliens who could theoretically use ortillery (orbital artillery) on the planet, instead put forces on the ground and spread out. Yeahhhh... Ignoring that the general talks about 300 years of military history, but doesn't think of, or even know how to use, pre-atomic weapons??? Okayyyy... Other than that it's interesting to see the hope that an early-fifties writer had for nuclear power. He figured in just a 100 years we'd be nuclear-dependent, whereas we are just over 30 years away from that date and barely use nuclear power for anything.

The Bloody Sword - Not bad.

The Portrait of Death - Eh, the unanswered questions bring this one down for me. If Anton had some connection to the man Harborough killed, or if Anton had been the personification of Death or Justice, or something like that.

The Finger of Fate & Graveyard in the Antarctic - Okay.
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Captain Audio

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Re: Week 186 - Amazing Ghost Stories #16
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2018, 02:55:37 PM »

Stories were fair to very good, artwork very good to excellent with an unusually well done cover.
All in all a good read.

Though I like sci fi more than horror the tentacles story was the weakest, even Osborne was more imaginative.

If things keep going as they are we may end up dependent on nuclear energy for most of our everyday needs, but it will be a huge mistake if they haven't solved the nuclear waste problem before that happens.
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Kracalactaka

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Re: Week 186 - Amazing Ghost Stories #16
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2018, 07:30:57 PM »

You can never go wrong with a Matt Baker cover

I really like the 1st story
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POWPUCK

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Re: Week 186 - Amazing Ghost Stories #16
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2018, 11:49:36 PM »

A crypt that size would surely take days to deplete all breathable air.
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Captain Audio

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Re: Week 186 - Amazing Ghost Stories #16
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2018, 11:47:24 PM »

A crypt that size would surely take days to deplete all breathable air.

You will see the same error in many stories and horror films.
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bowers

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Re: Week 186 - Amazing Ghost Stories #16
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2018, 07:11:49 AM »

I'm not a big fan of most horror comics, but I do enjoy an occasional trip into the genre. The cover was smashing, but then one expects no less from Baker!

"The Widow's Lover" was far and away my favorite. Infantino and Kubert seem an odd team, but the result was an eerie, almost Ditko-like effort which matched the story well. Loved the little twist at the end.

"Tentacles of Death" was okay, as was "Portrait of Death", but neither were memorable.

The Kinstler page was quite good. Who knew he would go on to become one of America's most famous portrait artists?

The public health ad about polio reminded me of the mass-vaccinations in our city, held in a large covered stadium. As a five-year old, I remember having to wait in line on a ramp to receive a rather nasty shot. But that shot was much more useful than those ridiculous tips in the ad!

All-in-all, a fun read! One and a half thumbs up from me. Cheers, Bowers
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The Australian Panther

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Re: Week 186 - Amazing Ghost Stories #16
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2018, 11:34:37 AM »

Great comic! The cover is one you could use to teach people how to do covers. The focal visual point is the Ghost in White, which grabs your eye, and the rails have the effect of having the action come toward the viewer. Everything else is perfectly balanced. Unlike some of Baker covers there is a good deal of detail in this and none of it wasted.     
The thing I liked most about the whole book is the garish coloring. Somebody had a ball coloring this, playing around and experimenting, most of the time, the colors work to enhance the mood of the storytelling.
The standout story is the Infantino/Kubert. Kubert really brings out the best in Infantino, they are an excellent team.   But the layouts are Infantino and each panel is worth going back and looking at again.  And I’m not a huge Infantino fan. And yes, Bowers, there is a Ditko feel to some figures. But the story is excellent too, unlike the others in the book which are mostly same old, same old.
Unusually for the period, the Tuska story looks like he phoned it in, he usually did much better work.
Giunta does an excellent job inking Barry. Love the mist in the first panel. Story is pretty average, but its worth reading for Barry’s take on it.
‘Portrait of Death’. George Roussos is not a favorite of mine. I have always believed his inking style butchered Kirby’s pencils in his Marvel days. Never understood why he seems to have been such a popular inker in the business. But looking at his work here, I can appreciate him a bit more.
His shading here creates a very dark, atmospheric world and here again the coloring, although garish, illuminates things effectively. Look at the eyes in panel 4 page 4 and the last panel on page 5, for example.   
The two one-pagers compliment the book well enough, making it a comic you would have been very happy to have picked up off the newsstand.
I found that I had already downloaded this, but nice to have the motivation to look more closely at it.
This is the sort of book you would want to show someone to demonstrate how good the Golden Age could be.
Cheers!   
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lyons

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Re: Week 186 - Amazing Ghost Stories #16
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2018, 06:27:45 PM »

I read The Widow's Lover story years ago, and never forgot the creepy atmosphere the story and art exuded.  A true gem.  Infantino and Kubert excelled on this one. A masterpiece of horror. 
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paw broon

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Re: Week 186 - Amazing Ghost Stories #16
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2018, 05:38:02 PM »

Great cover.
The Guillotine story is pretty straightforward and the ending is given away in the first panel. I really enjoyed the art.
Tentacles could have been better and there's a lot of explanation at the end, which is interesting as his Electro bolt gun had no effect.  Good monster.
The Bloody Sword was a decent ghost story and I thought it looked good and atmospheric. 
OOOOHHH! Portrait of Death is a creepy wee tale. Nicely atmospheric and spooky.
Finger of Fate.  I love Kinstler's western stories for Dell. Pity the story in this page is a bit duff.
A good read.
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crashryan

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Re: Week 186 - Amazing Ghost Stories #16
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2018, 06:13:37 AM »

I'm late getting to this, but I didn't want to miss the chance to say how much I enjoyed it.

A nice Baker cover starts things off, followed by the best story in the book, "The Widow's Lover" by Infantino and Kubert. I'm an Infantino fan. In fact he was one of my early art influences. Infantino's layouts are excellent, and Kubert's rough ink style adds energy to his figures. The story is good too (even if the splash panel gives away the ending). The coloring is...interesting. It reminds me of Fawcett horror comic coloring. The colorist grabs whatever color comes to mind and if the panel is too complicated, s/he just makes it all one color. The yellow/green thing does nothing for me.

"Tentacles of Death" doesn't make much sense. Here George Tuska is developing the style he used for the Buck Rogers daily strip: cartoony characters and simplified inking. Sorry, George, your Octeel is pathetic.

Since others commented on "Dr Osborne's Secret Weapon" I gave it a read. This is one of those stories where the author starts with an interesting ending--humans repel a high-tech invasion using antique weapons--then goes through contortions to make the story fit it. The atomic wall has cancelled out all modern weaponry but apparently it hasn't created a physical barrier. What's to stop the aliens (or the humans for that matter) from simply walking across the line and beating their enemy over the head? They may not remember airplanes and rifles but I'm sure they haven't forgotten swords, clubs, and bricks. The story is oddly reminiscent of Charlton s-f stories.

"The Bloody Sword" is a fair story rescued by an excellent art job. I have a hard time seeing John Giunta in the inks. I like Giunta's early ink style (I'm not much a fan of his pencils) but he always took a rather minimalist approach. The inking here is far more elaborate than I'd expect from JG.

"Portrait of Death" is a really dumb story, mostly because of the laughable payoff. However George Roussos' art is terrific. I'm one of the many early Marvel fans who hated his sloppy inks on Kirby and Co. His earlier solo jobs were much better but usually nothing to cheer about. But every now and then he'd explode! He'd do a story like this which suggests there was a really fine artist hidden inside. The faces are too cartoony for my tastes, but his compositions and figures are excellent. And look at the care he put into the backgrounds. He really thought them through, using detail and local color to give a strong sense of atmosphere.

The Kinstler one-pager is nice to look at. Comics offer endless variations on this story. I wonder if it ever really happened to somebody? And speaking of really happening, has anyone ever heard about the 1910 Graveyard of Lost Seals?

All in all a pleasing read.

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SuperScrounge

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Re: Week 186 - Amazing Ghost Stories #16
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2018, 09:34:37 AM »

Interesting that Paw and Crash both felt the splash panel gave away the ending of The Widow's Lover.

Yeah I can see that, if you read the story thinking you are reading a murder mystery, but I think it was meant to be a character sketch, we learn of the man's love for his job and Madame Guillotine.

For me the twist at the end was learning the police officer could have arrested Moulin BEFORE the cheapskate  Deputy Minister was killed and hoped a more generous man would be appointed.  ;D
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Captain Audio

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Re: Week 186 - Amazing Ghost Stories #16
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2018, 09:35:12 PM »

"And speaking of really happening, has anyone ever heard about the 1910 Graveyard of Lost Seals?"

Haven't heard of this exactly but in recent years while exploring Antarctica they have discovered the mummified freeze dried carcasses of seals many miles inland with the remains dating back many hundreds of years in some cases.
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Morgus

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Re: Week 186 - Amazing Ghost Stories #16
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2018, 06:32:03 AM »

One of the great horror comics that St John put out. Not a cluncker story in the batch. The art was uniformly good. and the writing was first rate. Glad the company and the whole genre is getting the recognition it finally has coming.
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