WELCOME, FOOLISH MORTALS . . . TO THE COUNTDOWN TO HALLOWEEN.
As I've often said before, Halloween for me is a state of mind and exists 365 days of the year; the actual 31st of October is more like a formality. But since that day is the nexus around which all our spooky gallivanting will circle, I'd like to start off with a little nostalgia from the misty past of my childhood. And many of these childhood memories tend to focus around my grandparents' huge old Victorian house in Pennsauken where I would usually stay weekends. For years, my grandfather would take me to the Pennsauken Mart where there was a store which sold tons of comic books (with the covers torn off) for something like "five for a dime" or some ridiculous price like that. This is where I first developed an addiction to comic books - specifically DC and Marvel superhero comics. However, years before this, when I was very small, the first comix I read were things like ARCHIE, MAD HOUSE GLADS, Disney and Looney Tunes funny animal comics, Gold Key/Whitman comics (like my beloved OCCULT FILES OF DR. SPEKTOR) and those Charlton horror comics - many of the titles you will see below in this vintage advert.
Many of these comic books I would get when my grandmother and I would walk all the way down Westfield Avenue to Thor's drugstore. It was here I also picked up my treasured Black Jack gum and those "You'll Die Laughing" horror trading cards (which I just may be posting some of shortly). My cousin Loran and I used to joke about the short-lived Charlton comic book HAUNTED LOVE which combined romance comics with the hugely popular gothic horror genre spurred on by the success of the DARK SHADOWS TV show. Years later, we both obtained copies of HAUNTED LOVE #1 and it was a coup, I can tell you! There is just something extremely nostalgic which gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling about those old Charlton horror comics (and the Gold Key/Whitman ones too, I might add). You either know what I'm talking about or you'll NEVER know. I can't explain it. You just had to be there. But, if I can get my meager faculties together, I just might be able to post an entire story from one of those issues - in fact, one of my favourite horror comic stories of all time which appeared in Charlton's GHOSTLY HAUNTS mag. Stay tuned to this Halloween Countdown for further developments. . .