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Ghost Manor

Ghost Manor
Ghost Manor was one of Charlton Comics's horror anthology titles. Its first incarnation ran only 19 issues, from 1968 to 1971, before having its title changed to Ghostly Haunts; the second began in autumn 1971 and lasted through 1984. The first Ghost Manor was hosted by a sexy, blue-skinned witch named Wanda; the second by a blue-skinned, cadaverous butler named Mr. Bones.

Growing up, I must have read a few dozen of the Charlton horror comics - and I have specific memories of sweet summer afternoons reading stacks of horror books on the porch - but I never did like them very much. My friends and I usually turned up our noses at Charlton comics in general, and with good reason, I think. Charlton apparently paid very, very low rates, and didn't take the greatest care in how their comics were printed or produced; as a consequence, the art and writing were usually sub-standard, and very often the pages were so muddied it was hard ot tell what exactly the story was about (even if the art and clunky stories didn't get in the way). Ghost Manor was typical of the company's output in this respect: although some decent creators were hired to work on the book - Steve Ditko, Tom Sutton, and Jim Aparo come to mind - most of the time things just looked like they were slapped together, as quickly as possible. One could hardly be frightened by a story if one had no idea what it was about - even after finishing it.

As an adult, perhaps I should be giving Charlton's output a break; I know how hard it is to put a comic together, month after month. I know all about how Charlton had begun hiring South American artists, just as Warren and DC had. And I'm even able to look back at some of the company's mid-70's titles with a little fondness. But the truth is, the comics still look awful even at this late date, and I'm even more aware now, if anything, how much better they could have been if the editorial staff had taken a little more care with them, or if the publishers had put just a bit more money into their investment. But what resulted is so slapdash that it's almost an insult to the comic-buying public... and I can't forgive that.

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