Monday, October 25, 2010

Ghosts: Part 2

The Grim Ghost!

Continuing the theme of ghosts as superheroes I present the Grim Ghost, who briefly (3 issues) graced the world of comics in 1975.  The character was part of the Atlas company's line of comics.  Although I am given to understand that the company lasted a short time, I enjoyed reading the small collection of back issues I found in my local comics shop.

This character might be confused with a DC Comics character that was originally known as the Gay Ghost, but then times changed and DC changed the name of the Gay Ghost to the Grim Ghost (which is how I first encountered the character in Who's Who) and I do not know which of the pair was Grim first.

It hardly matters, I just threw that in for trivia.

So the Grim Ghost (Atlas) will be our topic.  The origin story/concept is fairly simple: Highwayman dies turns into agent of Satan acting to consign evil souls to Hell.
We've heard this story before; quite a few times, really.  So it is another avenging spirit, and created some 35 years after the paradigm avenging spirit of comics, the Spectre.

Ghosts make good candidates for superheroes.  I think I have said that before.  Let's run down a few reasons, shall we?

1. Intangibility
2. Invulnerability
3. Invisibility
4. A lunchbox of powers as suits the writer at the time including time travel, cold manipulation, scare people to death
5. Unfocused temporal perspective (the dead know things outside of linear time)

So already Grimmie has a leg up.  Now add to that that he was a highwayman in his living days.  Nice.  Highwaymen are cool in fiction.  I must stress in fiction.  In reality, for the most part, highwaymen were simply brigands, but there were some that developed a romantic reputation.  When one considers that it is simply good business to rob the fat cats and not the poor mice, it is easy to be seen as a folk hero.  If you take a mysterious mask, a fine flintlock, a flowing cape and a fancy hat and throw them into the picture you have quite a dashing figure indeed.  In fiction highwaymen often get to be nobles who seek to aid the lower classes by fighting corruption in their own class or loyalists to the King when a usurper sits on the throne.  Shite like that.
By being a ghost of a highwayman Matthew (for twas his name) is twice the hero.  The bit about working for Satan is just icing.
After three grand adventures the company and the comic were no more.
A relaunch of Atlas properties is in the works.  You can find this information all over the internet.  Here's a link:
There are more in a simple Google search, trust me.
I'm happy about this.  I enjoyed the short run of the Grim Ghost and as I said previously I like ghosts as super heroes given their already established supernatural abilities.
Masculinity...reacquired...initiate arsekicking protocol

If you feel like a little nostalgic comic reading go out and pick up the Grim Ghost.  Until next time, keep your pumpkins lit.

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