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Saturday, 8 July 2017

Tales of Ghost Castle 1 - Lucien debuts, and hosts stories about an angry orphan, a demon, and mushrooms

Tales of Ghost Castle, another horror anthology book, made its debut with the May/June 1975 issue.

Paul Levitz and Nestor Redondo provide an introductory sequence in this first issue, which explains that Ghost Castle is located in Transylvania, land of all the classic horror monsters.

Lucien makes his debut as host, the librarian of the castle. He informs us that most people stay away from the place. Indeed, in World War 2 neither side wanted anything to do with the castle. Lucien has a pet werewolf, Rover. The stories he tells, which comprise the rest of this issue (and later issues) all come from books in his library.

Levitz and Ruben Yandoc helm the first tale, in which a couple who already have children adopt an orphan girl who is very into gardening.

She is not, however, into sharing the affections of her new parents with the children they already have. One night she lures them into her garden and murders them.

That's about all there is to the story. Not really much of a twist. But it does close on a great panel of Lucien and Rover.

Levitz also scripts the middle story, which is a bit more fun. Quico Redondo does the art on this one, which makes Hell look very much like a business, and centres on a demon who needs to meet his quota of souls.

The demon heads to Earth to make a bargain with a dentist, figuring that the guy will go to Hell for all the torment he inflicts, and want to avoid that. But the dentist enjoys giving people pain, and so he rejects the deal and torments the demon instead.

David Michelinie and Marty Pasko script the final story in the issue, with art by Buddy Gernale. This is also the cover story, and has to do with a man who murders his rich uncle to gain his inheritance. The uncle is also into gardening, in this case growing mushrooms.

After killing the man the nephew sticks the body into the mushroom patch. Later, the cook adds some of the mushrooms to the man's dinner, and the mushrooms kill him from the inside.

All three stories are, frankly, sub par.

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