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Thursday, May 29

Scary Tales and the Barnum and Bailey Circus

This time around I'm posting another of the comic books I had as a kid. This is a rather interesting one, as I have three copies of it! The reason for the multiple copies is that I got them free at the circus. Every year the Barnum and Bailey circus would come to town, and sometimes they would hand out packets of comic books wrapped in plastic. If memory serves me - and this is close to thirty years ago now, so it's a bit hazy - these came wrapped in plastic three to a pack and they handed them to you at the door as you entered.

I must have grabbed multiple packs of these comics, probably scooping up discarded ones on my way out the door, and that's most likely how I wound up with three copies. Not sure exactly, but I definitely do remember that this was one of those circus comics. It's from Charlton Comics, and was published in 1981, which would have put me at 13 or 14 years old. Sounds about right

There are three stories here, and there are two hosts for this book. Neither introduces themselves, which is odd, they just introduce the stories. The first host is a blue skinned man with dark circles around his eyes and a purple jacket. We see him at the beginning and end of the first story.

The next is a woman with long red hair. She's the same woman who appears on the cover in a circle next to the Charlton logo. Again, no clue who these nameless hosts are. Guess it isn't important.

The book is even weirder as a circus freebie as all the stories involve Satanism or Satan himself. The most noteworthy name in the book is Mike Zeck, who draws the best and final story in the comic, Hades University. I always liked Zeck's work in Marvel superhero books, particularly Spiderman, and he's clearly the most talented of the bunch in this book, too.

Good ole Charlton comics - you gotta love em. They all have that same flat coloring on cheap newsprint. But they're fun to read nonetheless. Overall this ain't a great comic at all, and really not even a very good one, to be honest. The cover art is merely a blow up of a frame from the Zeck story! But it has memories for me and hey, I have three copies, so I guess I'm covered in case something happens to one of them, right!?

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