|From the opening story of Grimm's Ghost Stories #27 (1975), written by |
Arnold Drake with art by Frank Bolle.
|Grimm's Ghost Stories #27 |
(1975) published by Gold Key.
Anthologies such as Grimm's Ghost Stories are a staple of the horror genre, and like others such as Creepy and Erie, each of Grimm's tales of the supernatural are "hosted" by a spooky character, in this case a long haired witch who goes by the moniker Hephzibah Grimm. (You, like I, may have initially assumed that the Grimm surname was meant to suggest the two German brothers... we're both wrong.) Hephzibah, like all ghoulish hosts, offers witticisms as a framing device for each. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the majority of stories are set in, or include significant elements of, Gothic Romantic time periods allowing for the art to easily evoke a moody, scary tone.
Issue 27's four stories of 5 to 7 pages in length each, are divided evenly between two writers, Arnold Drake and Paul S. Newman. The issue opens with both Drake's stories:
- "Silver From A Dead Man's Eyes" written by Arnold Drake and with art by Frank Bolle, at 7 pages, is the this issue's lengthiest story. At least in death, Le Comte de Savonelle is a generous man, or so the servant who takes the two silver coins from the dead skinflint's eyes pre-burial suggests. Two lesson's are taught in this ghoulish story: 1) an eponymous truism about stealing and 2) making deals with the spirits of dead mean, rich people is not a recipe for financial stability!
- "Cry Uncle" written again by Arnold Drake with art by Ed Robbins is the story with the most modern setting setting, taking place in Southern California of the Seventies. This story also features a decidedly Mexican flair as the lead character, Manuel Cruz-Santos, uses phrases like "You loco?" and refers to his recently murdered uncle as "Tio Juan." When Manny is believed to be a suspect in the murder, only his uncle can save him... from beyond the grave!
|Manny's ghostly deceased uncle proves to |
be wa-a-ay cooler than your ghostly
While Drake's second story is set in a modern (by 1975's standards) locale, both Newman's feature strong Gothic elements.
- Teased on this issue's cover, "Music to Die By" features art by Jose Gual. Though set in contemporary America, the "country home of an English associate" locale means, of course, there are Victorian British ghosts, too. Here, the ghost in question enjoys alarming people first with her beautiful spinet (kind of an old fashioned piano by the looks of it) music and then by disappearing. A common trope in horror stories is the discovery that the ghost may not be so guilty, a non-twist that plays into the proceedings. In a story with ghost musicians, rich British baddies and instrument tuners being hung, it is weird that perhaps the most chilling line of dialogue in this tale is delivered by the military police at the conclusion: "He fired first and missed! I didn't!"
- "The Queen's Image," with art by Oscar Novelle, is the most genre-tweaking story of the four. Not only does the story include fictional Queen Margretta's ghost, but also the revelation that the ghosts walks the earth while Margretta is alive!
|Hephzibah's advice still rings true: always leaves them laughing... HEE HEE!|