Tuesday, August 30, 2016

An unholy trinity of Ghoul Tales

Ghoul Tales #7 has a $0.60 cover price and is a reprint of Ghoul Tales #3, which has a $0.50 cover price.

Ghoul Tales #3 is itself a reprint of the Stanley Morse Ghoul Tales #4 from 1971, which was also reprinted by Portman U.K as Ghoul Tales Vol. 1 No. 1 (pictured above). 

I suppose the new photo cover was intended to attract an adult reader, similarly to the K.G. Murray Doomsday covers. Many of the Doomsday covers also featured skulls and candles and moody lighting, and it’s possible they were produced by the same person or studio, but maybe not – the Doomsday cover images have a distinctive tone and style all their own.

Other Page Publications editions of Stanley Publications material also featured photo covers, for example Stark Terror #3, but more often than not the original illustrated covers prevailed.

I've always assumed that the Page Publications editions of the Stanley Morse comics were sourced via the Portman editions, but I'm not 100% certain of this. Somewhere along the line someone suggested to me that it was the other way around - that Portman sourced their editions from Page. I think the argument was based on the publication dates. But this cover merry-go-round would suggest Page either had access to the Portman/Morse version and rejected it, or otherwise didn't have access and therefore contrived their own. Either way, if Portman relied on Page, surely they would have used the Page version? I don't know - it's still guesswork on my part. If anyone can clarify this for me...

To the best of my knowledge this Ghoul Tales series ran for 7 numbered issues and an eighth unnumbered issue being a reprint of issue #6, but there may be more unnumbered duplicated issues.

Speaking of the the unnumbered reprint of #6, James has it listed as an unnumbered #1 in his series cover gallery. On the one hand that makes sense - given it has a $0.50 cover price and later issues in the series have a $0.60 cover price it's a reasonable guess that the first issue may have been unnumbered and was subsequently reprinted when the recycling stage began, as Yaffa were prone to do. However there is a bone fide Ghoul Tales #1 by Page Publications. But I'll detail what I know about that issue and it's own peculiar reprint history print in another blog when I check a few more details.

Oh, and for those keeping track, all three of these Ghoul Tales issues feature the complete uncensored version of "The Gossips!"

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