Back in the '70s DC published a lot of comics in their "mystery" line; most of these were anthologies of unrelated short stories like "House of Mystery" and whatnot, but a few had continuing heroes and stories and were more or less like their superhero comics, only even less plausible. I never bought any of those continuity comics, and recently came across a few in a pile of random comics purchased at an antique mall. And now I know why I never bothered buying these continuity horror comics in the first place!
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: The Phantom Stranger!
The Phantom Stranger is a guy who dresses like a stage magician, plus a little porkpie hat and domino mask. He has mysterious powers that I'm assuming are never explained. Or maybe they were explained and no one gave a shit. In any case, he's like, magic or something.
The natural enemy of all magic heroes is of course the bespectacled skeptic who is a complete pill whenever anyone brings up the subject of the supernatural. Which is a lot, considering he's, you know, a "ghost breaker". Terry Thirteen is a calm, rational, logical thinker who goes into fits of apopelxy whenever anyone says the word "supernatural."
He also goes into fits of apoplexy whenever The Phantom Stranger shows up, which is a lot, since this is, you know, his comic book. Of course Terry is convinced Phantom Stranger is really a "fake" because, in case you've forgotten, the supernatural isn't real.
Sheesh dude, relax a little. I don't know what "police sense" means either but that's no reason to go on another tangent about THE SUPERNATURAL ISN'T REAL for Christ's sake. I'm beginning to think this Terry Thirteen guy needs therapy, but he probably believes psychiatry isn't real too.
OKAY WE GET IT YOU DON'T BELIEVE IN GHOSTS. Man, I can't believe that cop doesn't arrest him for brutal assault of a dead horse.
"It... it was the snow that blinded me! That's how he vanished!" If this is the sort of lame excuse he comes up with to put "rational" explanations to the supernatural, no wonder he's such a nervous wreck.
Fuck's sake buddy, all she did was describe its scale. God, lighten up.
Of course the whole point of this series is that Terry is constantly denying anything supernatural or fanciful, and it always turns out to be the case, and then a giant ice man comes and swats him like an insect or something. Yeah, there was definitely a reason I wasn't buying these continuity books.
Full page spreads like this can really help convey dramatic action, convey the importance of a certain scene, or fill up the page count on a rather thinly-plotted comic. Guess which one this is.
No but seriously, it's really effective to see a long shot of The Phantom Stranger punching the ice giant through his cape (???) as Terry and his wife fall from his hands and the giant's belt emits a blood-curdling EEEEEE. Great staging.
And so, we leave our perpetually skeptical friend and his long-suffering (and I do mean suffering) wife for good. Presumably the guy was in a big hurry to get back to civilization, where he could accost people on the street, forcing them to step on cracks and walk under ladders, JUST TO PROVE A GODDAMN POINT.
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