Friday, August 18, 2017

Number 2090: Ghost Woman

According to the Grand Comics Database, “Ghost Woman” appeared in the 1945 giant one-shot comic, Star-Studded Comics (1945). The story is a one-off, not intended to be a series. Ghost Woman helps her husband get rid of some werewolves, then decides to go on to her final reward. There is a certain rough charm to the artwork, but it isn’t signed. I believe it is a shop job, probably using more than one artist.

Artist Bernard Baily, journeyman comic book man (the Spectre, Hourman, among others) worked in the field through much of the sixties, at least. He packaged one-shots during the war years and after in a comics shop business, Bernard Baily Studio, with Mac Raboy. They used different names for publishing companies. My belief is that they contracted with businesses that had paper rations, which during the war were needed for printing...even for stuff like comic books.


Daniel [] said...

Apparently the daughter just had to tough it out in the orphanage. Plus John is now set on fighting werewolves, not withstanding that he needed help remembering even basic werewolf lore. Oh well! The woman should have telephoned or had a telegram delivered, instead of rushing in her car to deliver a message that not only could have waited, but indeed wasn't even delivered.

Hey! Wadamminnit! Is this some kinda sneaky public service message about safe driving?!?

The problem with having this heroine be a continuing character would be that her powers of interaction with the living and with the ordinary elements of life are so very weak. One doesn't really want story after story in which things are moved slightly or knocked off the wall. I think that, if I were tasked with writing more adventures for her, she would discover that her efficacy grew with exercise. (There could even be a story that began with her barely unable to do something, then, at the end, had her barely able to do it, and thus save John.)

I admit to being a bit annoyed at the idea of an afterlife in which one rests. Really, one might as well cease to have an existence of any sort if one's spirit simply becomes dormant for eternity. And, if the rest is not going to be eternal, then why not get on with whatever is to follow it?

The Seditionist said...

My last recollection of Bailey work is backups in Phantom Stranger somewhere in the early 1970s. Of course, I suppose checking the GCD would be a good idea :)

Richard said...

I wonder if this wasn't originally intended to be the first installment of a series, but the last line was changed to give it a semblance of resolution when the editor decided it wasn't going any further? Note that the whole plot thread about the daughter still being alive unbeknownst to her father seems like a big thing for the ghost woman to leave unaddressed, considering how important it was to her just six pages earlier. One could easily imagine that last word balloon reading "And I will stay and help him fight werewolves as a ghost -- and I'll find some way to reunite John with his daughter!"

(I say "his" daughter because it's pretty clear the girl isn't also her daughter -- she never says "our" daughter -- and she doesn't seem to be his wife for that matter. At the very least it's ambiguous.)

Pappy said...

Seditionist, Bernard Baily was one of the early artists in comics. He co-created the Spectre with Jerry Siegel, did characters like Americommmando, Hourman, etc. Later on he did horror comics, and worked for DC in the fifties in their mystery comics.

According to his Wikipedia entry, he teamed up with Mac ("Captain Marvel Jr") Raboy in a publishing venture, which is where Star Studded Comics came from.

Pappy said...

Richard, I think if they could have turned Ghost Woman into a regular character they might have, but they might have realized (like Daniel, in his comments) that the whole character was going nowhere. They were probably better off just ending it then and there.

Pappy said...

Daniel, I agree about an afterlife of idleness (or "rest"), but even worse would be an afterlife where one is forced to have a job, or do some sort of work! Egad.

I have asked people who are very faithful what they think an afterlife will be like, and so far no two people, even those who belong to the same religion, are able to describe an afterlife, or heaven, without injecting their own personal wish list of what it will be like.

Personally, I thought waking up to an afterlife ("Riverworld") as described by Philip José Farmer in To Your Scattered Bodies Go and its sequels would be a welcome change from having an afterlife that is just an extension of my boring life.

Morbid said...

If there were such a thing as heaven, it would be an afterlife where demands are put upon you and rewards of recognition and material things are given. To get and then keep those things, you must deliver the best you can do at the thing(s) which you loved to do in life. As the wise saying goes -- "He who does what he loves for a living never works a day in his life." And it would be true in eternity, too. An eternity of getting to do what you love and there being a demand for it and rewards for it -- that is heaven. In such a heaven, Pappy would always have a demand for his blog, his talk of comics -- and rewards for doing so, both material and social.

Morbid said...

I do like the adventure and discovery aspect of Riverworld, having read it as a teen. There's a lot to be said for that version of "heaven".