Friday, November 25, 2022

Beyond Appendix Occult - Ghost Readers Giant Gwanadanaland Comics #1523-A For Your Old School Horror Campaign

 Gwanadanaland Comics has been going through a pretty rough time with Amazon & now is going to picked up by Barnes & Noble. They offered really afforable physical  public domain comicbook collections at good prieces & before Amazon shut down the whole operation. Now their having to move their entire business over to Barnes & Noble. Couple of weeks ago I was able to get Ghost Readers Giant Gwanadanaland Comics #1523-A which is five hundred pages of pre horror code horror comics  goodness. Ghost comics were published by Fiction house; "Ghost Comics (11 issues, 1951–1954)"

According to Fiction House's wiki entry;" Fiction House was an American publisher of pulp magazines and comic books that existed from the 1920s to the 1950s. It was founded by John B. "Jack" Kelly and John W. Glenister.[1] By the late 1930s, the publisher was Thurman T. Scott. Its comics division was best known for its pinup-style good girl art, as epitomized by the company's most popular character, Sheena, Queen of the Jungle." 
Now here's the trick with Fiction house's female heroines they weren't spared the wraith of the American comic's purge ; "Feminist comics historian Trina Robbins, writes that:

...most of [Fiction House's] pulp-style action stories either starred or featured strong, beautiful, competent heroines. They were war nurses, aviatrixes, girl detectives, counterspies, and animal skin-clad jungle queens, and they were in command. Guns blazing, daggers unsheathed, sword in hand, they leaped across the pages, ready to take on any villain. And they did not need rescuing.[15]

Despite such pre-feminist pedigree, Fiction House found itself targeted in psychiatrist Dr. Fredric Wertham's book Seduction of the Innocent (1954), which in part blamed comic books for an increase in juvenile delinquency. Aside from the ostensible effects of gory horror in comic books, Wertham cast blame on the sexy, pneumatic heroines of Fiction House, Fox Comics and other companies. A subsequent, wide-ranging investigation by the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency, coupled with outcry by parents, a downturn in comics sales, the demise of the pulps, and the rise of television and paperback novels competing for readers and leisure time, Fiction House faced an increasingly difficult business environment, and soon closed shop." 

Gwanadanaland Comics's Ghost Readers Giant Gwanadanaland Comics #1523-A brings home the entire run of Ghost Comics & these are perfect for a resource for an OSR horror themed campaign. "Maurice Whitman covers grabs your eye and won't let go, with a mix of sex and horror as lurid as the pulp magazine covers " says the Scary Terry blog on Ghost Comics from July 10th 2010. He really hits the highlights of the Ghost comicbook title  here. 

This adventure situation looks oddly familiar?! Where have we seen this scenario before?! 

You can read the entire run of Ghost Comics from Fiction House right over on Comicbook Plus for free here. However how does any of this apply to old school or OSR games?! It applies quite a bit with Ghost Comics being a perfect horror  resource for OSR games such as the Red Room's Wretchploitation rpg. 

The idea of unhappy endings in Ghost comics could be the beginning of an adventure hook. While not as good as say classic E.C. Comics. Fiction House's Ghost comics have a charm all of their own hitting the horror highlights time & again. 
Almost always bringining home the horror in a post World War II period to  Nineteen Fifties campaign setting. The Beyond in these comics are almost always realms of the dead alien afterlifes. Afterlifes filled to the brim with the undead of every strip and other unidentifable monsters waiting to take the living. Ironic deaths, horrid fates worse then death, and more are the rule not the exception in these stories. 

Ghost Readers Giant Gwanadanaland Comics #1523-A is a reader copy meaning that it's black & white to be used as a reader's copy. And this suits me fine as the Fiction House stories could be used with Nightshift Veterans of the Supernatural Wars easily as adventure fodder or as inspiration for an NPC. 

The third game that Fiction House's Ghost Comics could be used with Bloat Games's  SURVIVE THIS!! What Shadows Hide - Core Rules. Fiction House's Ghost Comics realms are perfect as adventure fodder where the PC's have to save one of their own or recover a human who has stumbled into the world of the dead. 

If you want to grab other Gwanadanaland Comics collections then follow them on thier Facebook group right over here. And then support them on Barnes & Nobles coming up! 

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