Ghostly Tales About a month ago I at Community Thrift (my favorite thrift store in San Francisco) and I came across a box of comics next to the register.  Inside, mylar bags contained 5 or 6 comics stuffed into them and you could only judge the lot based on the covers.  Once I saw the cover shown above I was smitten.  The idea of the devil foreclosing on a spell was hilarious.  I simply had to read the story with such an idea.  I decided that this comic was worth the five dollars and I didn’t even care what other comics were in the bag.   Heck, I didn’t even care if the story inside this comic lived up to the cover.  I was entertained plenty already.  And thus, I became the proud owner of Ghostly Tales #139 by Charlton Comics (1979).

HE 1

Once I exited the store, I ripped open the mylar sleeve and rummaged through the comic to find the story with Lucifer and the blonde lady who hadn’t paid her magical mortgage.  Imagine my exultant surprise when I realized that the story in question was actually about a brunette, and that it was drawn by the incomparable artist Steve Ditko! Now I present to you, dear reader, writer Joe Gill and artist Steve Ditko’s “Happy Ending”!

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As always, Steve Ditko’s layouts are visually arresting and his characters amazingly expressive.  I especially love the last panel of this page with all the interesting elements it has going on.  And check out the hairstyle of our “heroine”!

HE 3

This layout starts with a street scene and then gets closer and closer to the action until we are completely swept up into the emotional stake involved.  I love the impertinence of our leading lady.

HE 4

This page reminds me of Ditko’s work on Doctor Strange with its otherworldly elements and compelling linework (or maybe I just got bewitched by the lower left panel).

HE 5

So all you have to do is sign away your soul and you get awesome powers.  Our lady should have studied the origin of the word mortgage.   Its usage comes from around 1350–1400 and is made up of two words “mort” (meaning dead) and “gage” (meaning pledge).  At least she got an awesome lightning bolt effect afterwards.  I am living for that last panel.

HE 6

“Nothing of this century ever passes on this road, Menherr!”  Now why would she mention the village while working on a picture as this guy claims.  Really, that doesn’t make any sense.

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You’ve been in this dungeon before!”  If I had a dollar for how many times I’ve heard that before (I’d have one dollar).

HE 8

“I helped destroy the only woman I can ever love!”  Hilarious.  Perhaps not quite as poignant as the author intended, but damn entertaining all the same.  Kind of a mediocre story (I’m not a fan of helpless woman turns evil and then is destroyed for her vanity and weakness stories) but the art by Ditko makes it all worthwhile.  What did you think?