|Graves, Ghost Hunter, and the Mystery of the Clock That Was a Whole Boob|
Among the multitude of Ghost Hunters, Ghost Detectives and Ghost Busters in the history of comics, few have gone on to any sort of long-lasting legacy. Much of that has to do with the changing mores of the culture, the waning and waxing of interest in the supernatural and horror genre. In some cases, however, it's plain disorganization.
Graves (Not to be confused with Dr.Graves, of the Many Ghosts of ... fame. He's sort of the Dobie Gillis of ghost fighters) bills himself as a Ghost Hunter, although he primarily lets the distressed spirits come to him. More specifically, he lets their intended victims come to him, and then he shows up later in a vain attempt to stop a bunch of murders. If only he can remember where he left his pen. And his lighter. And where's that pesky Ghost Disintegrator of his, anyway?
|It was in a shoebox, his kids took it to school for show and tell.|
This is what happens when he faces off against the spirit of a vengeful witch (Crown Comics No.1, 1945) who visits death on the descendants of the Puritans who sentenced her to execution for witchcraft. I don't want to kibbitz here or anything, but ... clearly she was guilty? Take the "L" with some dignity, ma'am.
That kind of patronizing condescension isn't just a gimmick hauled from my "ironic sexism" comedy toolkit, it's also evident in the story itself. When Graves is made aware of a nearby death via poisoned claw, he muses "Only cats and women scratch." Put a sentiment like that on a coffee mug and it's never gonna sell as well as "Male Tears."
Before the avenging witch can extend her kill count to include the last male heir of the clan, Graves goes after her with his deadly Disintegrator ... or he would, except he misplaced it! He forgot where he put it! You might think that this was a scheme, some sort of long con, or perhaps the witch did something to the weapon ... nope, none of that. He forgot where he put it, that's all. Finds it later. Musta rolled under the desk.
Graves is supposed to have continued his adventures in Crown Comics, but it goes nowhere. My guess is he was slaughtered off-panel by a ghost while he was frantically searching for his Disintegrator. "Maybe it's in the glove compartment or, no, wait, I was at the library earlier..." are terrible last words, but I promise you they were his.