Friday, February 20, 2015

FORGOTTEN FOES : THE CHATTANOOGA GHOST

Top this title card, I dare you.
Few comic book properties boast the coterie of colorful criminals which Captain Marvel managed to assemble over the course of his litigation-truncated career, but even among the Sivanas, King Kulls and Mister Minds, there was never quite a baddie like the Chattanooga Ghost. He wasn’t really bad, he just liked to crush evil midgets!

I think he might just be a psychopath, Cap.
Appearing in the pages of Captain Marvel Adventures during a period where the adventures tended to be set in prominent locations around America, Cap’s entire battle with the Chattanooga Ghost happens exclusively on Tennessee’s Lookout Mountain, where the white-garbed, ghoul-faced creep spent his time popping up behind people and accidentally scaring them off cliffs.

See, it turns out the Chattanooga Ghost wasn’t a bad guy, exactly – he was just a would-be crimefighter named Buddy who donned a creepy outfit and pursued evil as the self-appointed Captain Ghost! The problem is he seemed to be looking for criminals entirely on high plateaus and also he might have been a sociopath or something. With a fixation on “crushing” evil as literally as possible, the Ghost goes so far as to try to smoosh Billy under a 1,000-ton rock. Why?

“That boy looks mighty suspicious” he says to no one in particular from the vantage point of a rocky outcropping, before jumping to the logical conclusion: “He’s probably a dangerous escaped midget! He should be crushed!” Wait, escaped from where - midget jail?

Anyway, the Chattanooga Ghost drops a giant boulder on top of Billy Batson, who manages to eke out a rushed “SHAZAM” just before wetting himself in terror, leaving his other self free to confront the rock-dropping goon. Upon meeting his hero, the misguided menace spills his whole life’s story. “Captain Ghost will be a big hero like you, Captain Marvel,” he explains proudly, “I’ll crush evil just the way I crushed that midget!” Haven’t we all said that at some point in our lives?

Cap lets the Ghost go after a promise to give up crimefighting, but there’s a good chance that Captain Ghost is completely insane and has probably just been quietly smashing “evil midgets” under rocks for the last seventy years. “Just one more midget” he promises himself, “and then I’ll stop.” Sure you will, Captain Ghost, but not while this kindergarten class is having a play day next to this big pile of giant boulders!

Maintaining that all-important work/life balance.

4 comments:

neofishboy said...

Yes, nothing says "crusader against evil" like a skull mask and booga-booga hands ...

"Have you noticed that our caps actually have little pictures of skulls on them?"
"I dont ... er .."
"Hans ... are we the baddies?"

Tom said...

I always wondered why Chat-town PD dressed like that.

cup king said...

Over activities that don't qualify for description of 'super-hero' include smothering tall people with a pillow, choking the middle aged with quinoa and tripping up thin people so that they fall in front of buses.

Brendan McGinley said...

There are a lot of contenders for greatest panel in comics' history, but for me, I think it may forever be "Glad to see you, Captain Marvel! We must work together and stamp out all evil. I just crushed an evil midget under the balanced rock!"

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