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Sunday, 30 October 2011

Archive's Sunday Comics - Halloween Special

It's the season for ghosts! And we've got a bumper sized classic story this week with art by Steve (Spider Man) Ditko.

This week's Sunday comic is drawn by classic Spider Man artist Steve Ditko. As well as working for the giant New York City firms, like Marvel, Ditko contributed prolifically to the Connecticut minnow, Charlton. Dead Fire appeared in Scary Tales for July 1978.

Charlton's horror titles, euphemistically called "ghost" comics, had by the mid 1970s fallen on harder times. The company had abandoned its "All New" policy, and was reprinting old material alongside the new, probably to help the purchasing budget go further.

Scriptwriter Keith Chapman tells us, "Charlton had bought the script for this one two years before publication, but they took their time commissioning the art. I had only the vaguest idea of what was happening on the business side. The closest I came to the Charlton building was the logo that appeared on the envelopes in which they always promptly sent the cheques once a script was taken. (Maybe spell that c-h-e-c-k-s!) In the logo, the Santangelo family's US headquarters looked very clean of line, the setting kind of sylvan. Others have recorded that the reality was a little different – more forbidding, maybe even a little sinister. But too late to go see now. I'm told it was torn down years ago and replaced with a suburban strip mall."

The story of Dead Fire draws on Norse legends. Myth was a great source for stories about vengeful gods and the like, both in the pulp-magazine and later eras. Some writers, like H. P. Lovecraft, created entire mythologies of their own which other writers then adopted. Keith says, "Writer Edmond Hamilton, who also wrote comic-book scripts, used myth liberally – for example, in The Valley of the Gods (Weird Tales, May 1946) it's Mayan legend; in Twilight of the Gods (Weird Tales, July 1948) it's the great Norse myths. So for Dead Fire I was merely following a long established tradition for a story of my own, and had a lot of fun doing it."

The entire 9 page strip is embedded below - remember click on image for a larger version and find more Horror related Archive Sunday Comics by clicking this link HERE

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