Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Golden Age Throwbacks: The Ghost

Let's return to the Nedor Comics roll call with another superhero from the Golden Age of Comic Books now in the public domain, The Ghost. Unlike some of the other Nedor superheroes I've featured previously in the Golden Age Throwbacks series, the Ghost wasn't so much a featured cover star as he was a backup feature to the main act. Still, he is interesting in his own right, and his powers and background story are very different from what we've seen so far. He was also one of a small number of superheroes who started out in the Pulps and later transitioned into a comic book series based (albeit loosely in this case) on the character. The Ghost also had an arch-enemy named Professor Fenton who made frequent appearances in the series.

THE GHOST (Nedor Comics)
Origin: No Origin
Real Name: George Chance
First Appearance: Thrilling Comics #3 [Nedor Comics April 1940]

ABILITIES
Prowess  3
Coordination  3
Strength  4
Intellect  4
Awareness  6
Willpower  8

Stamina  12
Determination  1

SPECIALTIES
  • Occult Master
POWERS
  • Astral Projection 5
  • Flight 8  - Levitation
  • Invisibility 5
  • Illusion 4
  • Telekinesis 4
  • Mind Control 4
  • ESP Device 3 (Sight and Hearing) - crystal ball
QUALITIES
  • Connections: Betty Morris (assistant and girlfriend)
  • Connections: Yogi Masters (by psychic bond)
  • Identity: Yogi Master of the Mystical Arts
  • Catchphrase: Hindu Oaths (Sacred Sakti! - Great Gautama! - Sainted Siva! - Well-beloved Krishna! - Blessed Buddha! - Karma!)
CHALLENGES
  • Arch-Enemy: Professor Fenton
  • Enemy: Axis Powers
  • Enemy: Emperor Tengo of Venus (5000 AD)
  • Weakness: Powers don't work if his hands are tied
Point Total: 64

ORIGIN STORY
George Chance a.k.a. the Ghost!
As a boy, George Chance lived in India with his father amongst the mystical yogis. On his deathbed, George's father asked the yogis to raise his young son for him. The yogis imparted to George the greatest magic of the ages and secrets of their mystical Hindu ways which he learned to put to practical use. When George reached adulthood, the yogis told him that the world needed him now, so he left them to return to his American homeland. Impressed with Chance's yogi magic (which he used openly after his arrival in the Western world), a wealthy gentlemen invited him to perform at a party that night. A short while later, Chance discovered that the same man who invited him to the party had been found dead, an apparent suicide. Thinking this didn't add up (why would he invite him to a party if he was planning on kill himself?), George Chance suspected murder and decides to investigate further. Chance decided to dedicate his powers to fighting crime and adopted the persona of the Ghost!

As the Ghost, Chance went to the police with his murder theory, but learned that the suicide note was indeed written by the dead gentleman. Soon after, however, another man was found dead under similar circumstances, again by suicide and leaving a note. Investing further, the Ghost uncovered an elaborate insurance fraud scheme devised by a criminal named Tanko. The "suicides" were actually in on the plot, having written the suicide notes themselves and with Tanko's help, planned on faking their deaths to collect. But Tanko double-crossed them, tricking them into actually killing themselves and keeping all the insurance claim money for himself. The Ghost used his yogi powers to pretend to be the next victim and tricked Tanko into revealing his plan.

The Ghost's powers all stemmed from his mastery of yogi magic which included levitation (and flight), astral projection, the ability to turn himself and others invisible, illusion, telekinesis, and mind control. By using a crystal ball, he was able to see what his enemies were up to elsewhere. He also possessed a psychic bond with his yogi masters which allowed them to know when he was in grave danger and communicate a warning to him, and even save him from certain doom when he was completely helpless (i.e. he was unconscious or his hands were tied, preventing him from using his yogi magic).

Professor Fenton
Although George Chance in the guise of the Ghost often fought enemy Nazi and Japanese agents and saboteurs during World War II, Professor Fenton was truly his greatest nemesis and arch-enemy. Fenton was an evil genius who possessed an amazing time machine which he used to commit crimes all throughout history as well as in the present. Many of the comic book storylines featured Fenton and some elaborate scheme to steal some valuable artifact from the past, but the Ghost always outwitted him in the end. Fenton's time machine needed an operator in the present to bring back anyone time traveling and included a "televisor" so that person could check up on the traveler's progress in the other time period and communicate with them. Sometimes the Ghost would even sneak into Fenton's lab and use the time machine himself when he needed it, usually by ordering one of Fenton's thugs to work the machine and then return him on command through mind control. And on one occasion, a yogi master to whom he was psychically bound operated the machine in astral form and returned the Ghost from the past. The time machine could also send someone to the future, as the Ghost discovered when he traveled to the year 5000 AD where the humans of Earth had been enslaved by Tengo, the Venusian Emperor.

The Ghost and Betty Morris
The Ghost was often assisted on his adventures by his girlfriend, Betty Morris. Betty was originally from the 18th century and met the time-traveling Ghost on one of his adventures when she became entangled in one of Professor Fenton's schemes. The Ghost later brought her back to the 20th century via Fenton's time machine where Betty quickly adapted to the styles and culture of her new modern life.

REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING
The Ghost first appeared in Thrilling Comics #3 (April 1940) published by Nedor (a.k.a. Standard) Comics, but the names of the original writer and artist are unknown. The Ghost was loosely based on the Green Ghost, a Pulp fiction character also named George Chance.

2 comments:

  1. Congratulations. Another well-done post. And also, for starting work with Dan Houser.

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  2. Thanks, Fabrício! I'm very excited to be working with Dan. I think the PDFs we are going to be working on together are going to be really cool with a lot of "added value" for $1 dollar. The Golden Age Throwbacks series will continue here though and we'll use those as the basis for the expanded PDFs. I'm honored and thrilled to have Dan Houser's art accompanying my write-ups!

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